By Kate Horney
There are countless benefits to doing meal prep…especially for those of us who are super busy moms!
Doing a weekly meal prep not only saves me time, money, and stress, but it allows me to stay on track with eating healthy (both for myself and for my family) without spending hours in the kitchen.
Let me show you how it’s done in just a few simple steps…
Here are my 4 P’s of Meal Prep
1. PLAN and Shop: First, I check out our pantry, fridge and freezer to see if there is anything I need to “use up” for that week. Then, I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes that I want to use. I create a shopping list each week based on what I want to have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners by writing down the ingredient list for each recipe. After that, it’s off to the grocery store! (PSA to the women of Wal-Mart: a nightgown does NOT count as a dress!)
To save money we usually get groceries from a couple of locations: fresh produce from our weekly CSA box or farmer’s market, fresh meats from the butcher shop at the Commissary (aka military grocery store) and all the rest of our pantry-type items from the dreaded Wal-Mart. I also use vitacost.com as a quick, easy and super cheap (YAY!) way to get my supplements, protein powder, etc.
2. PREPARE the Food: I typically pick a block of time on the weekend to prepare my food, usually Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons. To save time, I generally don’t put any of the groceries away after grocery shopping, but rather take everything out of the grocery bag and set it out on the counter. It helps me to put things in organized piles according to each recipe and what I have planned to make for the week. I pull up the recipes I’m using (if you’re a BeyondFit Life member, you can log into the portal and have them right on your screen or smart phone) and then get to cooking!
I find it helpful to prepare big batches of protein, starch and veggies ahead of time, so depending on what I’m planning for the week, I’ll cook in bulk on the grill, using the crock pot, or even just loading up the oven with all my favorites.
3. PUT it all Together: Once everything is cooked, it’s time to divide out portions and put it all together! Depending on your goals and your individual body type, your combinations of protein and fat/starch will vary, but a general guideline to get you started would be something along these lines:
Breakfast: 1 serving protein + 1 serving starch + ½ serving fruit
Lunch: 1 serving protein + 1 serving starch
Snack: 1 serving protein + 1 serving fat
Dinner: 1 serving protein + 1 serving fat
Plus unlimited veggies based on hunger!
The key is to experiment, mix and match foods from macro-nutrition groupings to find a balance of protein, fiber, and complex carbs that will help you burn fat and balance hunger, energy and cravings.
4. PUT it all Away: After all the food is prepped, the recipes are made and everything is divided into necessary servings, I put everything in Pyrex containers and place them in the fridge/freezer! I love that I have something to throw in a cooler if I am heading out for the day or to pop in the microwave and/or oven to heat up and have a delicious dinner on the table in minutes!
Note: One key when it comes to putting it all away is to make sure that you invest in good containers/tupperware. I like pyrex because the glass holds up well, but if you’re going to go the plastic route, make sure you buy a heavy duty tupperware that doesn’t crack after a couple uses.
This whole process from start to finish takes about 2-3 hours and saves me so much time (not to mention stress and even money) during the week!
If you’re not sure where to start? We have tons of delicious, healthy and easy recipes at BeyondFit Life!
If you need ideas for healthy week night dinners, fat loss friendly snacks, quick and easy breakfasts, and more…you will love the recipe section of the portal! And to make things even better, you can download all our member recipes IMMEDIATELY so you can pick out your menu for next week RIGHT AWAY!