Weekly Meal Prep 101: Five Tips for a Fit and Healthy Week

Weekly meal prep

“Abs are made in the Kitchen”

Maybe you’ve seen that phrase thrown around social media and wondered “what the heck does THAT mean?’

Maybe you’ve wondered if it’s actually true.

The short answer is…..yes.

Well, mostly.

Proper nutrition accounts for 80% (or more) of your results.

You can train your butt off in the gym, but you won’t see the results you want unless your nutrition is dialed in. You’ll get stronger, sure. You may even lose a little weight or gain a little muscle. But you won’t see the definition or get those “sexy tank top arms” OR six pack abs without cleaning up your diet .

It’s no secret that today we have unlimited options for our meals. Some help us move toward our goals, others do not.

Beyond knowing your daily calories for fat loss and tracking your macros, the number one habit that will ensure your success is taking back control of your meals.

Yes, this means preparing the majority of your family’s meals yourself.

Yes, this means less convenience foods ( or knowing which restaurants serve healthy options).

On the surface, I know it sounds like a gigantic pain in the butt. However, with proper planning, weekly meal prep can be a breeze.

As an added bonus, you WILL save money in the long run, spending less on expensive restaurant foods

Here are five tips to help you get started:

1). Schedule your meal prep times for the week

Develop the habit of planning weekly meals at the same time each week. For many, Sunday afternoons work best, but of course plan for whatever time works best for you. This is when you’ll do your grocery shopping if needed and pre-prepping anything your can in advance for meals for the week.

(if you need help navigating the grocery store, click here to download your free copy of my Fit Kitchen Shopping List

Grill a bunch of turkey burgers. Make a big batch of turkey meatballs. 

Stir fry chicken. Bake a bunch of potatoes or steam a bunch of rice. Pre-chop vegetables for snacks or salads. Throw a big roast in the Crock Pot.Put the family to work, this doesn’t have to be a one man or woman job.

The more you can plan for, the less you’ll be subjected to “drive-thru emergencies”

2). Plan at least a week in advance

When my partner James was growing up, his mom had a calendar on the refrigerator showing the family’s dinners for the month. With six kids, this was key to her sanity. I believe this is a habit we all need to get back into if we’re going to slow the expansion of America’s collective waistline.

Try devising something similar. Make a spreadsheet for the month and  plan your main meals or dinners. Include any special events where

2). Plan your meals around your proteins

I believe this is the easiest way to plan your meals and include a bit of variety. Rotate your proteins and you’ll never have to hear the family say: “Chicken AGAIN??!”

A typical week at my house looks like this:

Monday: Baked salmon or Mahi ( I buy the individually frozen ones from Costco) with broccoli

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken w/ sweet potatoes and veggies

Wednesday: Turkey or bison burgers w/ brown rice and veggies

Thursday:  Spaghetti Squash w/ meat sauce

Friday: Date night/ “treat meal”  ( special dinner ordered in or eaten out)

Saturday: Leftover night (or baked chicken or stir fry)

Sunday: Crock pot recipe ( green chili pork, roast, chicken, etc)

This is just one example, but when you start with the protein and prep method  first it’s easier to plan your sides

3). Keep it simple

We’re not talking gourmet cooking here!

I have a rule: if the recipe contains more than 8 ingredients and I’ve never heard of some of them or I can pronounce them , I move on.

Too much work, and I’ve got stuff to do. 

I barely knew how to boil water when I started competing in figure competitions. Suddenly I had to learn how to *Gasp* grill chicken and bake fish. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Keep it simple. Learn about spices and experiment with different flavor combinations.

4). Make double or triple batches

Be sure to make enough of whatever your cooking for lunches throughout the week or extra that you can freeze for a later date. This comes in super handy when you’re pressed for time.

5). Plan for “treats” or meals out

We’ve lost some of these food prep skills with the rise of convenience foods. This is a recent phenomenon, only appearing in the last 20-30 years. It’s no coincidence that this time frame coincides with the rise of obesity in America.

I believe that eating out should be a treat or a special occasion, the exception not the rule. Eating at home provides parents the opportunity to teach children about healthy food choices. “Pizza night” becomes a fun family event instead of just another Tuesday.

Ok, I know what you might be thinking right now. You’re too busy. You’re running from this sport to this lesson to this meeting. There’s just no way you possibly have time for this.

I hear you. I know it’s hard. But, so is not meeting your weight loss goals. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare in advance, make extra, take the extra one hour on a Sunday to think it through.

It’s time to TAKE CHARGE of your personal success.

Only YOU can do it.

The restaurants won’t do it for you.

The supplement companies won’t do it for you.

It’s your responsibility.

Are you in the habit of prepping your meals in advance for the week? Share what works for you in the comments below! 

 

1 Comment

  • Phil

    Reply Reply May 12, 2015

    This is a great post Jacqui, I like to dice veggies in advance, then I have great ingredients ready for salad, stir fry, omelettes, or any time I need diced onion and garlic I have it ready. Celery, carrots, green onions, cabbage. I find I am more inclined to cook if I don’t have to prep veggies.

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