A huge part of keeping on the straight and narrow with clean eating is to meal prep! I find that it makes clean eating second nature as there is always something in the fridge to eat. As I mentioned in my last post between about 3pm and dinner time was my weak point during the day. I posted a quote on my Instagram a while ago basically saying that I ate a yogurt for breakfast, had a salad for lunch, got home from work and basically ate the entire kitchen. Which describes my bad habits perfectly; while I’d be making dinner I’d snack on everything that was in the cupboards. Anything from sweets to chocolate to crackers to crisps. Then by the time my dinner was ready I wouldn’t even be hungry anymore but I’d eat it anyway because I had spent time and money making it.
When I was meal prepping previously it definitley helped keep me focused and more importantly kick the habit of snacking on bad foods. Different people all meal prep different ways so this post is just about how I meal prep and what I made this week as an example. I like to dedicate a few hours on a Saturday/Sunday evening to meal prep.
Plan your menu
The first step to meal prepping is to decide what you want to eat and for how many days are you going to prep for. A lot of food will keep perfectly well for between 4-6 days so it is feasible to meal prep for the entire week. I usually prep for anywhere from 5-6 days in advance, usually for Monday – Friday. Make sure you write your menu down; it doesn’t have to be neat. I usually just scribble a grid into a notebook with the meals across the top and days down the side. The write down what you’re going to have for each meal, for everyday. This makes it a lot easier to transition to a shopping list.
Make a shopping list
Don’t just head off to the shop with an idea of what you need in your head; write it all down. Including how much you need of each ingredient. So for example this week I’m having chicken for 10 of my meals. The recommended amount per meal is about 100g but this depends on what you’re working towards. So 100g for 10 meals means I needed to pick up 1KG of chicken. Similarly for vegetables I was having broccoli for 10 meals as well so I picked up two large heads of broccoli. I work out how much per portion later when doing prep.
For my carbs this week it’s going to be couscous. Now this took a bit of math to figure out how much I would need to make. I bought a 1KG box despite this as it’s a good item to keep in your cupboard.
Pick up some spices
With meal prep it’s pretty common to eat the same meals for a number of days and no one wants to have to deal with plain chicken and steamed broccoli. When you’re picking up your food for meal prep throw some spices and herbs into the trolley. Adding these flavours to your food will help make your meals exciting. I try to avoid seasonings that have added salt, try to find low sodium or sodium free seasonings when shopping. This will help avoid bloating when eating. I also don’t cook with salt, I prefer to use herbs to flavour foods!
Start with a clean kitchen
Make sure that your kitchen is clean before you start. You don’t want to be moving things out of the way to find things. It will also give you more space to prepare and cook! As well of this, something that can sometimes be over looked is to make sure that your bin has been emptied and has a new bag in it. You’re going to be preparing a weeks worth of food, you’ll more than likely have a lot of waste to throw out.
Have everything ready before you start
Don’t start into meal prep and then realise that all of your sharp knives are in the dishwasher or all of your containers are in use. Make sure everything that you will need to prepare, cook and store are all clean and ready. Up until this week I used to meal prep and store the meals together. So If I cooked chicken I would store the chicken in a big tub and I would take a portion when I needed it. This time around I portioned then all out into separate containers. Making life even easier. This meant that I needed to pick up some individual containers. Dealz was my best friend here. The containers I got came in packs of 8 and they were also microwaveable! Score!
A huge part of meal prepping is multi-tasking, you’re going to be spending a couple of hours doing this so you want to make it as efficient as possible. In total it probably took me about 2 and a half hours to meal prep this week. That was for 16 meals! I started with making my chickpea burgers as they needed to chill in the fridge for 2 hours before cooking. Once these were into the fridge chilling I moved onto prepping my chicken. I sliced my chicken breasts into similar size pieces, I then laid them on a chopping board and seasoned with paprika, garlic powder and mixed herbs. As I was cooking my chicken in my George Foreman I was going to be cooking it in batches so while one lot was cooking I was able to prep the rest of my food.
While the first lot of chicken was cooking I started on prepping the broccoli and green beans. I was going to be steaming these and then seasoning when they were cooked. I have a two layer steamer so I cooked two lots of broccoli first and then a lot of broccoli and the string beans next. While the vegetables were steaming I was able to boil eggs in the water. As all this was going on I was able to make the couscous. As I mentioned above there was some math involved in this. For every 1 cup of uncooked couscous would give you 2.5 cups cooked and I wanted 1 cup of cooked couscous for each of my 4 meals. I messed up on my math here and ended up making 2 cups of dried couscous.
Once all this was done it was about time to cook my chickpea burgers on my George Foreman. After these cooked for about 10 mins it was about time to portion it all up.
Buy a food scales
Portioning up is so much easier if you can weigh out all of you food. So for the chicken I weighed the full amount and divided it by 10 for the 10 meals. I then weighed out each of these amounts for each of the meals. Couscous was 1 cup per meal. Veg was done similarly to chicken and chickpea burgers were one per meal.
Aaaaaand we’re all done! 2 and a half hours later but it’s all worth it! I ended up with 16 meals altogether plus snacks:
Breakfast: Chickpea Burger, Mangetout, Mini Naan Bread
Lunch: Couscous, Broccoli ,Chicken
Dinner: Chicken, Broccoli, Green Beans
Snacks: Hard Boiled Egg
All the cooking is done but there is just on more snack that needs to be made and that is a smoothie each day, which I’ll probably bring to work to have around 11am. I’ll snack on the egg around 4pm and if I get hungry in the evening I’ll just snack on yogurt and fruit.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and if you have any suggestions for how to make my meal prep better let me know! Hope you enjoyed this post and keep an eye out for my weight loss and fitness updates that will be coming over the next few weeks!
Until next time,