If you want to eat healthy, stick to a budget and are aiming for a certain goal in the gym then meal prepping is definitely the way to go. A lot of people I know or work with always think it’s a great idea but are often put off by a number of factors – they “don’t have the time”, think it’s too expensive to eat healthy or the way I do, or they also have other logistical questions such as how does the food stay fresh all week?

I must admit, having to meal prep weekly can be a bit a chore on a Sunday when sometimes all I want to do is relax or catch up with friends, however it only takes around one hour or sometimes two max, which put into context of your whole week is nothing! Like with anything, once you do for a while it also just becomes part of your routine.

Some people I know like to prep daily the night before, or also do preps twice weekly on a Sunday and Wednesday for example, however I’ve found that once on a Sunday for Monday to Friday always works best for me. In terms of freshness, I always buy groceries the day or the day before I prepare and then choose meals which I know reheat or last the week. I’ve tried freezing meals for end of the week, but I really don’t like reheating from frozen. With a healthy lifestyle, it’s all about finding what works best for you!

meal prep

It may seem expensive to buy so much meat and groceries upfront, but if you think about how much you’d spend buying lunches and snacks everyday then it definitely works out better in the long run! Plus it’s the cheapest and most effective way to look after your health and work towards your goal body. If you’re smart with the food you buy and the meats you eat then it can definitely also save you in the long run – shop in season, buy in bulk and freeze if you can, look for specials. I find in general too when I’m eating healthier it’s actually a lot cheaper, it’s all the packaged and marketed goods that add up!

Ok, so you’re sold on the idea now, but where do you start?

Step 1: Make sure you have all of the basics covered – containers and kitchen basics

Invest in some good quality BPA free containers, if possible. Glass is the best option, however not always practical and can get heavy if you’re carrying a lot of meals around. As Kai Greene says in Generation Iron:

A critcal tool for getting ahead in this game of preparation is TUPPERWARE!

Good quality cookware, knives, various chopping boards and mixing bowls are also helpful! When it comes to prep though, there’s no need to go overboard with fancy tools. If you’re low on storage space like I am (and lets face it, most people are) then you really only need essentials. I find a small K-mart blender, chopping boards (I do like to have different boards for raw meat, cooked meat, fruit and veg though), good knives, wooden spoons, baking trays, tongs and a standard set of pans is basically all I need each week.

tupperware

Step 2: Make a plan

Plan out your meals for the week based on however you wish to plan (eg macros, calories). The app MyFitnessPal is a great guide and definitely the perfect companion to the meal prep process, so definitely worth the download. Use the app to check that your planned meals fit your macro and calorie plan.

It can be overwhelming with so many different diet options to chose from: low carb, IIFYM (if it fits your macros), paleo etc etc…and the thing is there’s no one diet which is perfect for everyone. We all have unique bodies and needs, and our bodies will process different foods and nutrients differently.

If you’re just starting out just focus on eating mainly whole, unprocessed foods and making sure you get enough protein and vegetables. Don’t be scared of good carbs either!

Here are some basic examples of macro nutrients (carbs, protein & fat) to get you started:

Macronutrient Guide Protein Carbs and Fats

Step 3: Invest in some kitchen scales

If you’re new to meal prepping and tracking macros, then it’s a good idea to buy some kitchen scales. They don’t have to be expensive, I picked up mine from Kmart! That way you make sure what you’re entering in and cooking is exact.

Also make sure that if you’re measuring food raw, that you also enter it in as raw measured amount. This process may seem the most tedious to start with, but if you’re serious about your goals then it’s a must, and once you’ve done for a while you’ll get the hang of portions without needing to measure. Once again, MyFitnessPal (or similar app) is key here; but make sure you’re using the correct items too!

scales

Step 4: Make the time, and use it wisely

One of the main excuses people seem to have against meal prep is that they don’t have the time. Sure, it’s a tedious process (and one I dread each week), but it’s definitely worth the small time investment.

If you love cooking and being in the kitchen (which I actually do, for some reason I just hate meal prep every week) then you definitely want to speed up the process, so it’s also a good idea to plan meals which can be cooked in different ways. For example, I’ll often roast chicken breast, while also cooking turkey mince in a pot on the stove and then grilling chicken thigh. That way it’s a lot quicker once you’ve prepared everything to then cook at once!

pug grocery shopping

Step 5: Shop & Cook!

The most obvious part of the prep – shop, prepare, cook, store and you’re set for the week! Of course, don’t forget to snap a pic and upload to social media, because nothing really happens if it isn’t documented online right?! #mealprepsunday

the chef

Meal Prep Ideas

 

 

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Author

Sophie is the owner and creator of The Beautiful Existence. A Melbourne based self proclaimed nerd, gym junkie and lover of all things creative, tasty and well designed!