Today’s Meal Prep 1010 blog post is written by Mary Kate who helps me stay on top of shit! She is currently training for her first Bikini contest and is a vegan. I don’t know how she does it. Enjoy.
You’ve decided to get on track and start next week off on the right foot. You’ve got your goals all planned out and you’re ready to rock. There’s just one important thing missing – meal prep! One of the most important ways you can stay on track is to make sure that your meals are prepped and ready to go for the week. By prepping everything ahead of time you throw out all excuses for unhealthy food choices because all the good, healthy stuff is right there waiting after a long day of work, a kick ass gym session, errands, etc.
For some people, meal prepping is just a habitual part of their week and it is practically second nature. However, it can be a bit overwhelming as to where to start or what to make for meal prep at first. The video above has some great easy to follow meal prep tips to start and get motivated.
If you’re a beginner to meal prepping, start simple. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself right off the bat and become discouraged. You don’t have to make elaborate meals (unless you want to!) or include a million ingredients. Start small with dinner or lunch for just 3 days. Here are my favorite simple foods to meal prep:
1. Sweet Potatoes
I like having sweet potatoes cooked and on-hand at all times. They’re extremely versatile and a great source of complex carbs that you can add to salads, a stir fry, or just eat them with some all spice, salt and pepper! Poke the potatoes with a fork and bake on 420F for about 45-60 minutes (depending on how soft you like them). You can also chop them up into fries, long or home fry style and roast. Here is my go to recipe.
2. Roasted Grilled Veggies
We all know veggies are good for us but it can be a serious pain in the butt to chop, cook, season, and then wash the pans each time you want some yummy veggies to add to a meal. This is why I love making multiple servings of veggies and storing them for whenever I need them. Chop up some asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers – whatever you want! I like to keep it simple with just some olive oil non-stick spray, Himalayan pink salt, and pepper but feel free to get creative! Break out spices such as turmeric, rosemary, cumin, or cayenne to jazz it up a bit! Veggies will start to get a bit soggy if you keep them in the refrigerator for too long after cooking but at least you’ll have some on-hand veggies for a few days before you have to cook more!
3. Brown rice/quinoa
Another simple and versatile staple that is always a good idea to have on hand. There are so many amazing meals you can make with a quinoa or brown rice base. Both keep very well in the refrigerator so you can make enough for the work week without worrying about it going bad. For some extra flavor cook with vegetable broth or some seasonings of your choice.
4. Muffins/Breakfast Cookies/Homemade Protein Bars
If you know you’re going to be running out the door most mornings, this is a great option to make ahead of time. Depending on the ingredients, some recipes may need to be kept in the refrigerator but most of the time they’re shelf stable for at least a few days. SarahFit has loads of recipe ideas for healthy grab-n-go breakfasts.
5. Overnight oats
If you’re a fan of oats in the morning but have trouble tolerating warm oats in the summer heat or you don’t have time to make it every morning, definitely give overnight oats a whirl. Not only are overnight oats incredibly easy to make but they’re portable as well. Mix together ½ cup oats, ¾ cup almond milk, ½ tbsp chia seeds, protein powder (if you’d like), any spices you want and leave in the refrigerator overnight and they’re ready to eat in the morning!
Now that you have some ideas for what the heck you should meal prep, you may be wondering, “OK, how do I store all of this now?” I recommend investing in some mason jars and some good Tupperware. Some people prefer glass containers in which case mason jars are a great option. Since I commute and need to carry food for the whole day, I usually take BPA-free plastic Tupperware to make it more lightweight. I personally like getting a set of Tupperware of the same brand to make stacking easier in the fridge. If you want to get really ambitious, make a huge batch of everything you’re meal prepping and store in the freezer-safe containers for those weeks when you don’t even have time to meal prep.
While meal prepping can be a lengthy process (it usually takes me about 1-2 hours depending on the cooking time), it is so worth it. Make it a fun process! Enlist a friend, play some awesome music, try out a new recipe, make different flavor combos – whatever gets you motivated! Your week will become so much less stressful and it will give you more time to focus on your awesome workouts!