7 Steps to Meal Prep Like A Boss

Meal Prep-2

 

For many people, one of the biggest For many people, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to Eating Clean is that it requires more or most of their meals to cooked, instead of using pre-packaged and processed foods. In order to help you to make the most of your time during the week, but also to ensure that you stay on track, I wanted to share with you the 7 Steps that I use each week to plan and prep my food. This has been a game changer for me and for many of the people that I work with, so I hope that you find this helpful!

Step #1: Plan out your meals for the week

 

Meal Plan Step 1The first step is to take a look at your upcoming week and see what you have coming up. In a perfect week, you would be able to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks, but the reality is that your week may not always be so set in stone. You may have a team lunch at work on Tuesday or take your kids to soccer practice on Wednesday nights or even have a birthday party dinner on Saturday night. So the first thing that you want to do is pull out your calendar for the week and figure out the days that you will eat food that you have cooked or when you have to eat out. This was a big mistake I made when I first started prepping my meals, I didn’t take in consideration the days that I would be going out to eat, so I had way too much food for the week.   (Side Note: On the days that you eat out, don’t use that as an excuse to eat like crap, still make the cleanest choices you can make.)

To get some inspiration, Google “Clean Eating Recipes” or check out Pinterest for Clean Recipes. Click here to check out my Pinterest board that I created especially for Meal Prepping and Clean Eating. It might be helpful to print out any recipes that you find that you want to make for the week. Another thing to think about is that you can eat leftovers for lunch or dinner the following day, so you don’t have to cook a meal every single day of the week.

Step 2: Create a Grocery List for the week

Next, take a look at your meal plan for the week and the recipes that you printed out. Go through each meal and write down the ingredients that will be needed to make your meals and snacks. I like to organize my list by the following categories so it makes my grocery shopping trip easier and quicker.

  • Fruits
  • Veggies
  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Grains/Dry Goods
  • Sauces & Condiments
  • Spices & Herbs

Step 3: Kitchen & Pantry Check

FridgeBefore you head to the grocery store, do an audit of what is in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see if you already have any of the ingredients on your grocery list.   This will prevent you from spending unnecessary money on items that you already have and also save time and space.   I used to forget to do this step and always ended up with more food than I needed, which normally went to waste. So don’t skip this step!

Step 4: Go Grocery Shopping

Now, you have your grocery list and it is broken down into various categories, this was done purposely to make your shopping trip as efficient as possible.   Remember, Fruits, Veggies, Dairy, and Protein will be on the perimeter of the grocery store, so you may want to get those items first and then move to the inside of the grocery store to save even more time, instead of aimlessly weaving up and down the aisles.

Remember, since you are eating cleaner, about 80% of your cart will include those items found on the perimeter, which will also help to make the trip easier and quicker.

Step 5: Cook Proteins & Grains

The first thing that I do when I get home is unload my groceries and take another look at the Meal Plan for the week. Based on the first 2 – 3 days, I will cook the proteins and grains that will be used. I will usually do another protein and grain cooking day on Wednesday or Thursday for the next 2-3 days worth of proteins.   I will season and bake a pan of 2 – 3 chicken breasts or pieces of salmon or throw a tenderloin into a crockpot or throw some chicken or steaks onto the grill. I tend to eat quinoa and brown rice with most of my meals so I will cook a big pot of both and store them so they are ready to use as sides or main dishes.   Since, these items require cooking in an oven or on the stove or a grill, I do these first, as they will need time to cool before storing them.

Step 6: Wash, Cut & Prep Fruits and Veggies

Meal Prep 1While the proteins and grains are cooking, I start to wash all of my fruits and veggies and do any chopping that needs to be done for recipes, like dicing onions and peppers for sauces or stir fry. I find that these take up the most time when creating meals, so doing this in advance always helps. I also steam or roast some of my veggies like Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli or even a mix of Pepper, Onions, Mushrooms and Squash, so they are easily available to use in dishes, sauces, omelets, and side dishes.

Step 7: Store items into containers and bags

Meal Prep 2Once you have your items washed, chopped, cooked, and prepped, now you want to go back to your Meal Plan Guide for the week and begin to separate items and ingredients for each meal. I love using BPA free plastic containers or glass containers to store my foods. I also use Ziploc bags to store fruits and snack items, like 10 almonds, ½ cup of Baby Carrots, Red Pepper Slices, etc. I also like to create some containers as to go meals, so I may add a chicken breast, ½ cup of quinoa, 1 cup of the roasted veggie mix into one container and that will be lunch or dinner for one day. This makes it easy to grab and go, if I am short on time.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, the key is to use Meal Planning and Meal Prep as a chance to make sure that you are staying on track with your Clean Eating. It may take an hour or two at first on your designated Meal Prep Day, I typically do Sundays, but the more you do it and the more you find meals, recipes, and ideas that you like and work for you, the easier it gets. So don’t get discouraged and if this is a completely new concept for you, it may take some time, but in the end you will save yourself time, money, and calories!

For more information on Clean Eating, download my free Clean Eating Guide.

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21 thoughts on “7 Steps to Meal Prep Like A Boss

  1. This was just what I needed to read today after s birthday weekend full of naughty stuff. I love all the tips but preparing and stiring stuff will really help me. Thanks

    • Happy Belated Birthday! Don’t worry, calories don’t exist on your birthday, now you can get back on track. How is the week coming along with Clean Eating?

  2. Thanks for all your tips. I especially like Tip #7 and plan to start implementing that one right away so I can reduce my waste each week. In our family I know implementing meal planning has definitely helped with the confusion as to “what to eat for dinner” each night. Now instead of the questions we simply look at the calendar on the fridge and whoever is available first starts the meal prep!

    • That’s awesome! I love that you have the whole family on board with it. That makes it helpful for everyone and I’m sure it takes the stress off of you, as well. 🙂

    • The great thing about meal prep is that is perfect if you are on a budget. For example, I have been able to stretch a $5 rotisserie chicken into 7 meals. By simply taking a few moments to pause and plan out your meals for the week, your grocery shopping is streamlined, you are only buying what you need, and most of it can be stretched over the course of the week. When I doubt, I buy a rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies, brown rice/quinoa, black beans, ground turkey, kale, apples, bananas, plain greek yogurt, cheese, bread, peanut butter, and frozen fruit. With this, I can create breakfasts (plain yogurt with frozen fruit or peanut butter toast and a banana/apple), lunch is a sandwich or a salad, and dinner is a protein with green veggies and quinoa or brown rice. If you check out my Clean Eating Guide (www.cleaneatingguide.com) or even poke around my blog, you will see how to make meals that are budget friendly. I hope this helps or if you need more personalized help with putting a budget friendly meal plan together, let me know and we can make that happen!

  3. I teach this basic concept to my clients about getting DRESSED for the week 🙂 Same idea, plan ahead, make sure you have what you need, lay it out so that the mornings are less stressful. I am not a fan of cooking but I can see how pre-planning helps take the frustration out of “what’s for dinner?” 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

    • That’s so true, it really can be applied to so many other areas of our life/work. Do you have a blog post on your concept of getting dressed for the week? I think that would be a cool blog to share to help see how the concept of prep is key in many areas of our lives to save us time, money, and stress. 🙂

  4. I think a lot of people hear all this and think, “I don’t have the time or energy to do all this.” And I used to think the same until I started doing it myself! Grocery shopping and cooking has never been simpler. There’s no more overbuying or forgetting crucial ingredients. And there is definitely no more agony over “What’s for dinner?” — Great post!!

    • Exactly! It’s a complete mindset shift and then you are like “Wow, why didn’t I do this earlier??” Glad that you enjoyed it!

  5. These are great. I have one family member that refuses leftovers, so I can’t cook in bulk all the time. I love the idea of cooking several days worth of proteins in one shot – makes life much easier.

    • It’s funny, I used to be like. I hate leftovers, now I just learn how to get creative with things so it doesn’t get boring and also doesn’t feel like leftovers. But the protein is a big one, just to get it out of the way. In the summer, I just grill up a bunch of stuff to use throughout the week. 🙂

  6. It’s probably time for me to try doing it for the entire week. Do you have any links or downloads to the meal-prep chart that you use? I’ve noticed that since I’ve started eating so clean, which I do, my meals have gotten pretty boring. I suspect that meal planning and recipe-finding could enhance this greatly! xx

    • Yeah,that is the hardest part, trying to find ways to make things a bit more interesting. I have a few things that I mention in my clean eating guide (www.cleaneatingguide.com), but also, I have some recipes that I have pinned on Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/allisontibbs/clean-eating-group-recipes/. Check them out and if you want more help on doing more customized things, just let me know and we can work to put a plan together. What made you make the switch to clean eating?

  7. This is a fantastic post! I follow this plan and love it. I just started cooking my quinoa for the week and am so glad I started doing this!! Thanks for sharing this! It truly is a must do! 🙂

  8. This was a fantastic post! I struggle with this every single day! I hate to grocery shop, hate to cook. I love to eat healthy but I don’t like the process of it at all. I know its just getting into the habit and learning to love the journey 🙂 Thanks for a great post!

  9. Hi Allison! Love your post and how specific you get when it comes to each step. Your blog is awesome and I am excited to see your future posts. I put a holistic spin on meal prep on my blog bethleahnutrition.com if you are interested, although it looks like you have it covered 🙂

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