In this day and age we are all extremely busy and meal prepping can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. When meal prepping is done properly, it will actually save you hours upon hours each day deciding and preparing individual meals. You’ll have more time for your family, work projects, and running to and from to all of the appointments likely stacked up during the week.
No matter what your lifestyle or situation, regardless of if you are recovering from an injury, illness, you are working two jobs, you don’t have time to get to the gym, you will always need to eat. You have the ability to take control of your nutrition no matter what the obstacle and trust me, if you are overwhelmed, ill, or injured, that is when you’ll want to take care of your nutrition the most.
I know I prefer 6 meals each day. I typically have 4 oz of protein for meals 2-6 while my first meal is eggs or egg whites. Sometimes a protein bar, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or a whey protein shake replace 2 of those meals so I will need 8 ounces of protein on days that I’m using more grab and go mini meals. 2 lbs will last me 4 days and I can cook 2 times per week and have 15 meals. Done.
I like to grocery shop 2 times per week for the fresh factor. Many fruits, vegetables, and meats won’t last longer than 3- 4 days and I hate throwing food away. I plan the two trips accordingly on Sunday and Wednesday. I have gotten away with shopping one time per week and relying more on frozen vegetables, frozen chicken cutlets and frozen fruit for the second half of the week.
I choose two, one lean meat and one with a tad more fat, plus my quick protein sources
Lean (primarily protein):
99 Percent Lean Ground Turkey
Nitrate Free Low Sodium Deli Meats
Whey Protein Powder (Maxmuscle.com)
Fattier cuts (protein and fats):
Ahi Tuna Steak
93 Percent Lean Ground Turkey
Cheeses like feta, blue cheese, and cheddar or regular string cheese
These are the protein sources I gravitate toward- I get 2 lbs of each item.
Protein plus carbs:
Depending on if I have low carb days or high I will choose carb sources and fat sources accordingly for the week.
Apples (keep you full with the fiber and pectin)
Berries (low calorie)
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in brown rice or jasmine rice
Flavored rice cakes (carmel and chocolate)
Flat Out Wraps
Lavash Flat Bread
Low Carb Mission Tortillas
Quick oats oatmeal
Instant Oatmeal Packets
French green beans
Cauliflower (protein too)
Quinoa (protein too)
Oats (fat and protein too)
Olive oil (flavored garlic and white truffle)
Flavored almonds (I love Blue Diamond flavors)
Yeri Yeri Teriyaki sauce
Reduced sugar ketchup
Sweet Baby Ray’s Wing Sauce
Arctic Zero Frozen Desserts
Sugar free jello cups
Fat Free Reddi Whip
Diet Hansens Soda in Cherry Vanilla
Quest bars or Kirkland protein bars (holy savings!)
FlavorGod seasonings (online only)
I wanted to give you a complete list, obviously I am not purchasing all of these items each week. After two protein sources, I’ll pick two carbs, two vegetables and two fruits.
Sunday comes along and instead of making one meal and watching it (talk about watching paint dry), I will multitask and make all of my meals in the same time as it would take me to make one meal.
(ok, ok, so Eric does the grilling ;))
On the stove: green beans
In the oven: spaghetti squash and roasted sweet potatoes
On the grill: chicken and sirloin
In the Instant pot: soft boiled eggs
The rice is instant as is the quinoa so I can make that as I go.
This is in exchange for cooking each night and spending 35 minutes 7 days per week. Now, if you’ve done the math you will see meal prepping is FOR busy people- not something busy people don’t have time to do.
If you want to get fancy, you can even make overnight oats for breakfast so it’s ready to go when you wake up. Or you can make egg mini quiches and heat those up on the run as well. (Get some great low carb recipes in my free ebook HERE) I have even made my protein shake in advance, stuck it in the freezer, and then took it to work with me.
Start simple with meal prep and multi tasking. You’ll get better and better at this and you can level up to fancy pants recipes.
Don’t want to cook a thing? There are many meal prep delivery services out there. You can place an order of meals for the week and they will be delivered to your doorstep. #teamnoexcuses
Then don’t be shy to tote a meal management bag to the office with you. My favorite is The Shield by Fitmark Bags pictured below.
Especially when you are hungry after a crazy long day at work and the kids are stressing you out. If you have prepared for the week, you are far less likely to dive head first into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
We all think to ourselves, “I’ll start doing these things when life slows down”, or “when I’m not so busy”. The problem is, that day likely will never come. (Read more about that in When is the Best Time to Start a New Training and Nutrition Regimen) Life doesn’t slow down. We need to find a way to be healthy and treat our bodies right while we are in the fast lane.
Here is the way I look at it: it was hard when I was eating crap, felt like a slug and couldn’t fit in my clothes and it also can be hard to get prepared for the week and eat healthy- pick the hard.
I would rather pick the path that also makes me feel good, sleep better, set a good example for my kids, give me confidence, and allow me to live a longer life.
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