My meal prep blog post was my most popular one ever and I got so many questions both online and face-to-face about meal prep and meal planning. I was so surprised how interested everyone was so this post is a bit of a prequel I suppose in which I talk about how I plan my meals for the week. Unlike my other post this won’t necessarily have tips, it’ll be more along the lines of some steps that I consistently follow, but I hope you can take some inspiration or advice from it.
Meal prep and meal planning usually revolve around a goal – it offers a way to hit those goals, whether they be calorie-based, macros-based or something else. So before I started planning my meals I made sure to figure out my calorie goal and get my macros in order. Whenever I change or update my goal I know that my calories and macros usually change. As I work mainly off my macros I always plan my meals around hitting them for the day. I also tend to eat certain macros as certain times of the day but for a start just aiming for your overall numbers is great. The best tool that I have found for this is myfitnesspal. After you have it set up with your calories and macros you can plan eat meal of the day. I still have the current default of Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. For me I like to concentrate on my proteins and fats first and then fill in the blanks with carbs. I also have a notebook that I end up scribbling loads of stuff into, mainly to help with translating my plan into a shopping list.
Before that though, I like to check what offers some of the shops around me have. I usually do the majority of my shopping in Aldi and pick up some small, obscure things, like coconut milk and egg whites, in Tesco. But if other stores have some offers I have no issues with shopping elsewhere. Aldi do an amazing super 6 deal on both veggies and meats and Lidl do something very similar. I always check out their sites when planning to see if I can pick up anything that will make my shop a bit cheaper – because, depending on your goals and how much you have to eat, isn’t always cheap. But there are always ways to cut costs and still eat great food!
Once I have an idea of what is on offer I usually work on inputting it into myfitnesspal. I only meal prep 14 meals for the week, lunches and dinners but I still like to keep in mind if anything that’s on offer could be incorporated into breakfasts. Usually my training days and non-training days differ in the foods that I eat but my macros never change. I tend to eat more complex carbs on training days such as oats, rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes and on non-training days I tend to get a lot of my carbs from fruits; love dem sweet stuffs! It’ll all start to make more sense when you start putting foods into myfitnesspal. I know when I started I didn’t know what a macro was. As I concentrate on hitting my macros, I don’t really pay much attention to calories, I just make sure that I’m not going miles over or way under on them for the day, and I’m usually happy with that. If you’re starting out, or if calories are your main goal, then aim to get as close to them as possible!
I get a lot of questions on wether I get bored of my meals or not and meal planning gives me the chance to mix it up. A few things go into my meal planning; offers I can get on food, any new recipes that I want to try and essentially how fed up I got of the food the last week. For example I think I’ve eaten chicken for dinner everyday for probably 2 months. This is the first week that I’m changing it up! Usually I get sick of vegetables before I get sick of meats and proteins. I definitely have a love hate relationship with broccoli at this point in my life. One of my biggest tips for planning your meals is to try to have as many similar meals as possible. Essentially the more different meals you have planned, the longer your shopping list and the longer you’ll end up spending in the kitchen doing your prep. Meal prepping results in me eating the same thing everyday for a week but I then mix it up for the next week; if I’ve gotten fed up of my meals!
Once you have your meals planned and know exactly what you will be eating everyday for the week you need to translate that into a shopping list. As i mentioned above I have a notebook that everything goes into; it’s really handy to count portions and know how much you need to buy. Once you have your shopping list all ready you’re ready to hit the shops. Once you’re all stocked up it’s time to meal prep! Check out my blog post on how I meal prep if you’re looking for some tips to get started.
Hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any tips for me leave them in a comment below.