Extra Über Important Note : I’m so stoked that you’re here to learn about Meal Prepping! For real. It warms by soul. 🙂 BUT – Be sure to read ‘Part I : How to Meal Plan like a PRO‘ FIRST! Or else, this post won’t make a lot of sense to you. Mad love, j
It’s no secret that, in the grand scheme of my life, I haven’t been meal prepping like a PRO for long. But, really, you’re probably already part-way there to your ‘PRO’ status. You probably already do things like take dinner for lunch the next day, make freezer meals ahead, cook all the week’s veggies at one time, or baggie out chips for lunch each day of the week.
So, you’re already doing it, you tupperware afficionado! With some intentional planning, food prepping for the week becomes a breeze!
Now that I work from home, meal prepping for the entire week ahead isn’t always my goal. I’m lucky enough to be in a space where I can make as I go. I still prep some things that I always like to have handy, but doing the full week on the weekend isn’t my priority. [Anymore.]
While teaching though – food planning and prepping was a Non-Negotiable. I didn’t have time during the week to go to the store, to come home and cook dinner, or even to do any more dishes than could fit in one load of the dishwasher! Not only was I teaching in rigorous locations, when kids needed my best and a lot of my time, but I was also building this coaching business on the side. During the week, that’s all I had time for – school, coaching, and some much needed decompress time. So, here I will spill my secrets. =)
Part II : How do I Meal Prep?
Step One. Use your menu to make a to-do list for your prep time.
Here’s my example menu :
- Breakfast : 2 eggs with avocado, black beans, plantains OR chia seed pudding with fruit
- Shake : Vegan Chocolate with frozen banana and spinach
- Lunch : beans + greens with quinoa OR cucumber-tomato salad with tuna, almonds
- Dinner : grilled veggies and tuna OR zeghetti with tomato sauce and hempseeds
From here, I know that I need to:
- Stove : boil eggs, beans + greens, quinoa, tomato sauce, plantains
- Fridge : chia seed pudding, cucumber tomato salad, veggies for grilling, zeghetti
- Freeze : banana, spinach
- Just Portion : black beans, almonds, hempseeds
- Must do right before eating : avocado, plantains
Step Two. Reverse engineer your to-do list. This means to decide what will take the most time/cook the longest, and do that first. Here is my list, put re-arranged in the order of which I’ll do it.
- Bring one pot of water with eggs, one pot of water with quinoa, and one saucepan with coconut oil to a boil.
- While water coming to a boil, chop/wash greens and drain beans.
- Once egg water is boiling, cover and turn off the stove. Once quinoa water is boiling, cover and reduce to simmer.
- Begin to saute greens. When greens are wilted, add in the beans.
- Portion greens + beans and place in fridge.
- Move ON! Don’t wait for the eggs to be done to move on to the next portion of prep! Keep an eye on them, as you move on.
- When the eggs are done, rinse with cold water and place in fridge.
- When the quinoa is done, portion and refrigerate.
- Veggies + Fruits
- Chop the cucumbers/tomatoes for the salad. Portion and refrigerate.
- Chop the veggies for grilling. Refrigerate
- Spiral the zeghetti. Portion and cover with sauce. Refrigerate.
- *note here : This is best way for zeghetti to go to work. Cold zucchini noodles covered in cold sauce. Heat in the microwave at work! This way the zucchini isn’t pre-cooked, and won’t get soggy for leftovers!
- Chop the fruit that will be used in the chia seed pudding
- Peel bananas. Break in halves for easy smoothie making. Freeze in a gallon bag.
- Put spinach in a gallon bag. Place portion-control container in gallon bag. Freeze. Before your smoothie, crunch up the frozen spinach for easy smoothie making.
- Other items
- Chia Seed Pudding – I make mine by mixing 1c almond milk with 1/4c chia seeds. I put them in a small mason jar, shake, and place in the fridge. Then, over the next half hour or so, I’ll reach in and give a good shake. If you’re adding in another fruit to the mixture, then you’ll have to blend with the almond milk before placing in the fridge. I leave the fruit toppings that have already been chopped off until right before I eat it.
- Portions – Portion out the black beans, almonds, and hempseeds.
Step Three. Enjoy the week where you don’t have to cook or MAKE anything – you just eat what’s in the fridge already pre-portioned!
So, what’s up with these portions?
The majority of my challengers in our Wellness Warrior Challenge Group use portions. We don’t count calories. Because calories are a measure, sure, but they don’t consider the nutritional quality of the food. Is a calorie of Coke and a calorie of almonds? I think we can agree that no – it’s not.
So, instead, we try to eat a certain number of portions each day – x number of protein, veggies, fruits, etc. This isn’t to say that this is the way to go for every mind and body out there, but it’s what the majority of us use. We eat WHAT we want, we just are sure to eat the right AMOUNT. So, when we meal plan and prep, we do so by considering our portions! Fitness is 80% nutrition, and this helps us meet our goals! If you want to try it, we can totally do it together. 🙂
I’ll be the first to admit — meal prepping takes more work up front. But, by keeping it simple and working smarter [not harder] it takes me about an hour to fully prep for the week. Not including the ONE load of dishes. 😀 Let me tell you though, it is SO worth the effort when it’s time to get to work, and packing your lunch means popping the containers quickly in your lunchbox or ‘making dinner’ means reheating your prepped work.
If there is a sample menu that you’d like me to help you reverse engineer, drop some of the meals below. I eat this stuff UP! 😉