Meal prep is everywhere lately. Fitness freaks and those on a weight loss journeys are two examples of groups that like to post pictures of their meals on a regular basis.
Whilst meal prep can often look very confusing, it can be as simple, or as complex as you want it to be.
But before you make any decisions you need to consider what your goal is? Are you trying to lose weight, or gain muscle? Or both?
Only once you have a clear goal can you begin calculating how many calories you will need, and what ratio of protein/carbs/fat will work best i.e. macronutrients
That doesn’t mean you need to run for the hills either, there are plenty of services online to help you, or you can hire the help of a nutritionist or a personal trainer to work it out for you.
Freedieting.com has some really easy to use calculators for weight loss and bodybuilding.com has some good ones for building muscle. Both are free and accessed by visiting the respective websites.
Throughout this article I’m not going to tell you the best or worse way to meal prep, instead I’m just going to share with you how I meal prep.
Remember meal prep should be catered to your individual needs. Copying mine to the letter isn’t the best option either. Instead I hope this article gives you an idea of where to begin, or gives you an idea on how to improve an existing plan.
How I Meal Prep
It all starts with a plan.
Below is my meal plan, I usually stick it to one of the kitchen cupboards so it’s always in view.
As you can see I try to consume something six times a day, but only three of these meals are ‘proper meals’, the others are my pre, post and late evening shakes.
I try and get 13g of carbs, 20g of protein and 8g of fat with each of my meals (on average), that’s about 1230 calories per day.
Note: The carbs aren’t dished out over all six meals – instead they’re combined together and included as part of my three main meals.
You may also have noticed how basic my meals are, and for good reason. You see the more complex you make the recipe the more complex it gets to determine the macronutrient content (proteins, carbs and fats), and that makes tracking your nutrient intake more difficult.
That’s one reason why I keep my meals simple; the other is because it’s less hassle to prepare.
Complex recipes can definitely pay dividends in variety and flavours, especially if you’re a foodie, but I’m a very ‘functional’ eater and I like simplicity.
What do I eat for protein?
As a pesky, I don’t eat meat but I do eat fish so my proteins tend to come from:
- Crayfish, salmon, mackerel, prawns
- Quorn burgers and low fat sausages
- Whey protein powders.
What do I eat for carbs?
When it comes to carbs I also like to keep it simple and convenient and the only carbohydrate sources I tend to eat consist of: basmati rice, sweet potatoes, oats and bananas
I purchase rice in the microwavable packets because it only takes only 2 minutes and I’m always short on time.
What do I eat for greens?
For the greens I like to buy in bulk spinach, green beans, broccoli and zucchini due to their rich fiber and iron content
Putting my meals together
Because I work from home I tend rustle up my meals as I go along, but I always prepare a few days of greens and roasted sweet potato in advance to make things easier.
If I know I will be out for the day or am going away for a few days I will portion my meals into Tupperware and carry them in a suitable cooler bag to keep them fresh.
I always use digital kitchen scales to weigh my portions and rarely judge it by eye alone. First I weigh my carbs, then my protein and I keep an eye on the fat content. My main meals are served with a portion of greens.
I am not one to make a million boxes of food because a lot of my protein comes from powder and everything else is either precooked or only takes a few minutes to prepare.
I also never buy in biscuits, chocolates and snacks because if they aren’t around I can’t eat them!
And that’s about it. That’s how I meal prep. Hope it helps you in someway.