Meal Prep 101

Person enjoying a meal that they prepped before hand for healthy eating.

MEAL PREP 101 – SIMPLE STRATEGIES

It’s no secret that meal prep is a huge factor when it comes to success in healthy eating. Getting prepared is the number one way to stay on track during the week. But, what does meal prep actually consist of and how can you do it without spending hours on this type of task?

Most people already know what a healthy, balanced meal looks like. (Ideas below.) It’s having a system in place for easy access to balanced meals that sets you up for success.

“The real question they have is: How do you consistently eat healthy, balanced meals in the context of real life?” We all know life gets in the way… a busy day at work, the kids were crazy today, you were on the road traveling or you didn’t feel so hot. Life is going to happen so you’ve got to be prepared.

With the following meal prep strategies, we teach our clients exactly how to have healthy food ready when they need it.

The result? A fridge full of fast, healthy options to choose from, even as life continues to unfold.”

HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR HEALTHY MEAL

If you’re not sure where to begin with how much food to eat, follow this easy portion control method.

For men:

• 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;

• 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;

• 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;

• 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

For women:

• 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;

• 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;

• 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;

• 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.

 

MEAL PREP DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD

It’s a great idea to use the weekend to meal prep for the week ahead. Or use whichever day works best as a planning/shopping day for your meal prep day.

  1. LOOK FORWARD: Do you need to meal prep for the entire week or just a few days? Look forward to you schedule for the upcoming week. When will you need prepped meals and which days are the busiest? This may be every day for you or it may just be a few days. It depends on how much meal prep you need. Being prepared is half the battle so be honest with yourself in terms of what will set you up for success the most – a full week of prepped meals or just a few days. Here are a few other ideas…

    • Daily meal prep – prep in the morning for that day. This requires you to have time to do this each day before you begin your day.

    • Two – three day meal prep – This strategy means you’ll be making just a few meals ahead of time that will last you two to three days.

    • Full week meal prep – This is the big one! You’ll need to plan a menu for the week and get set. The benefits of the full meal prep are that you only have to shop and meal prep once and once you’ve done all of the work – you’re set for the week.

  2. DEVISE A MENU: Write down ideas for your prepped meals (idea list below). Do you need to meal prep ALL meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner or just lunch and dinners? What are your favorite meals that are along the healthy range that you enjoy? *Actually liking and enjoying your food is important so don’t plan to prep something you don’t like and won’t even eat – it may just end up creating waste.

  3. GROCERY SHOP: Go get the ingredients for the meals you’ve chosen to prep.

  4. COOKING TIME: Now that you’ve devised a plan, created a menu and shopped for food, it’s time to cook! (if you need inspiration – meal ideas below)

  5. STORE: Now that you’ve made your meals, it’s time to portion them out and store in the fridge. This way you can grab and go. You won’t have to waste time spooning out portions for lunch and dinner. You’ll be able to grab a meal prep container with that particular meal and heat it up to eat!

MEAL PREP IDEAS

Breakfast

  • Yogurt parfaits

  • Overnight oats

  • Overnight chia pudding

  • Breakfast burritos

  • Breakfast sandwiches

  • Egg casseroles

  • Egg muffins

  • Oatmeal muffins

  • Hard boiled eggs

  • Make your own granola bars

  • Protein Shakes (make ahead shake bags with fruit, veggies, nuts + seeds get stored in freezer) – blend with favorite liquid and protein powder to grab and go.

Lunch + Dinner

  • One pot meals and one pan dishes are great for make ahead

  • Chili

  • Hearty Soups

  • Spaghetti with whole grain noodles or zoodles

  • Pasta salads with vegetables and protein

  • Salads

  • Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad

  • Wraps

  • Healthy Burritos

  • Sandwiches

  • Burrito bowls

  • Salad in a jar

  • Stir Fry

  • Healthy Casseroles

  • Baked protein (chicken, fish, beef) with rice or potatoes and green beans (or your favorite vegetable)

Snacks

  • Cut vegetables and hummus

  • Cut fruit (with yogurt)

  • Whole pieces of fruit (especially those that travel well like apples, oranges, bananas)

  • Make your own granola or seed bars

  • Hard boiled eggs

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Make your own trail mix

Time to go make your list and get to prepping! I hope this blog post helps you meal prep your healthy meals for the week ahead. If you need personalized guidance for meal planning, check out our Health & Wellness Coachingto get one on one coaching. We’d also love to have you for a fitness retreat to jumpstart your healthy habits!

If you have questions or comments about Meal Prep 101, please post in the comments. We’re happy to answer them!

Best In Health & Wellness,

Margot + The Vita Vie Retreat Team