You’re sick of slaving away every night preparing ‘healthy’ meals, spending way too much money on ingredients you only end up using half off, and in the end you’re not losing/gaining the weight you want to. I feel for you ! After going vegan I wanted to eat a clean and healthy diet, so naturally I began making new meals everyday. Each shop would cost me around £40 and that was every few days.
Meal prepping is essentially just preparing meals in multiple portions ahead of time. Sounds simple ? It is. The first thing you want to think about is how many days a week you want to prep for. I like to prep for 3 days a week at a time, and do that twice a week. So for Monday – Saturday I meal prep and Sunday I go freestyle eating a few more hundred calories than the other days. If you’re prepping for more than one person then maybe prep for 2 days and then make more portions or if you work a lot then prep 5 days a week so only one night is taken up cooking.
Next you will want to consider how many calories you want your daily intake to total (if you are interested in calorie counting). This is a good technique for people wanting to lose weight at a steady pace, allowing them to eat nutrient dense meals rather than gross ‘low fat’ ‘dieting’ meals from the supermarket. At the moment I eat around 1700 calories a day ( Monday – Saturday ) so my meals are around 500 calories with room for a snack or two. On the other end of the scale, meal prepping is useful for people wanting to gain weight. You can bulk up your meals with calories dense ingredients like nuts and dates, instead of eating junk food.
After you’ve considered these things, it’s time for the fun part – planning the recipes ! This part is totally up to you. I would recommend a plant based whole food diet which is based around grains like brown rice and quinoa, fruit and veg, nuts, tofu, legumes etc. But if that diet doesn’t work for you, then you can prep whatever you like. I usually look up recipes, work out the calories using myfitnesspal.com and adjust the ingredients to fit my diet so usually that entails substituting oils and swapping dairy for plant based alternatives.
If you’re not a recipe person then try building your meals with each macronutrient. So choose your carb – maybe rice, pasta, quinoa, potato to make the base of the meal. Then add your protein – tofu, chickpeas, legumes, broccoli or if you eat meat then some kind of lean meat. Don’t forget the fat, a macronutrient too often forgotten – nuts, avocado, hummus, tahini. After you’ve got the base you can add vegetables for important nutrients and season with salt, pepper, herbs, soy sauce or a sauce of some sort. This way of planning your meals is good if you are trying to cut/bulk in the gym as you can really alter your macros easily.
To store your meals I recommend getting some nicely sized containers. I picked up two packs of 1 liter containers from Sainsburys that give me enough room to pack in my vegetables but if you eat a lower carb diet you probably need smaller containers. To make it easier maybe put a note on the container with the calories/macros so you can add it to your food diary if you have one.
If you’re stuck for recipes, I plan on posting a few meal prep friendly recipes soon and if you have any requests then just ask me on my tumblr (mindbodydeborah.tumblr.com) or comment down below.