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Meal prepping can seem like a daunting task if you’ve never prepared meals ahead of time before. But it doesn’t have to be. I believe that anyone can learn to meal prep. You do not have to a gourmet chef to meal prep.
I will continue to meal prep food even though I have officially begun my off season. What I eat and how much I eat will change, but the principles will remain the same. My meals will be relatively simple yet nutritious and filling.
In this post, I want to share my process for meal prepping as well as some tips for anyone who wants to begin planning their meals, but not quite know where to start.
How it started
I have been meal prepping for the past couple of years. When I became serious about becoming a bodybuilder prepping went to another level. My meal plan calls for eating 5-6 times a day, which meant carrying 3 meals with me every day in my bag. But even before then, I was bringing at least my lunch with me to work.
My current meal prep planning
I plan do not plan all six of my meals for every day of the week on Sunday. I do plan and cook a few days at a time, placing everything in plastic containers as well as leaving extra protein on the side to allow for some flexibility.
I typically prepare my breakfast and dinner each day before I eat it.
On Saturday, I usually begin to think about what I want my main proteins to be the following week and I either pull recipes I saved from social media during the week or just go straight basic. On Sunday, I solidify my recipe plans and go to the grocery store to pick up whatever ingredients I need.
I go to the grocery store 2 times a week. I usually go in the middle of the week to grab what I might need that I didn’t get on Sunday. Let me be clear, this trip is quick and small (think basket, not cart).
Here are some tips that might help you meal prep:
Start small. Ask yourself which meals, if prepped, would take the most stress off of you. Your kids might be involved in sports and you need to have something quick when you get home. Or maybe you work in an office and want to make sure that you aren’t eating out for lunch each day.
Start small at first with a food one or two days at first to see how it goes.
Keep it simple. I would say that 95% of my meals are simple. A protein, carbohydrate and a serving of veggies. Make healthy recipes you are familiar with.
Meal prep doesn’t always involve cooking. It can be as simple as bagging servings of nuts or veggies to have to grab quickly during the week. Every little bit helps and will help relieve some of the stress of eating during your already busy week.
Stock up your kitchen. Plastic baggies and plastic containers will become your new best friends. In my opinion, it’s worth it to invest in good Tupperware or even Pyrex containers, which will last you a lot longer than the more inexpensive options.
Buy what you can in bulk. This, for me, includes items like grains, oils and spices. Having these things on hand is so helpful! I have been building up my spice cabinet since starting to eat clean. Spices make the most “boring” healthy foods absolutely amazing. They are a little costly, but a very worthy long term investment. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself using rosemary, garlic, paprika, thyme, basil, chili powder, oregano, coriander, dill, sage, cinnamon and more.
How often do you meal prep? How many meals do you meal prep at a time?