Everyone has their own version of meal prep. Whether it’s planning for an entire week of meals or preplanning the day ahead, it’s completely individualized – that’s the beauty of flexible nutrition. One size does not fit all and my only recommendation is to do what works best for you and your schedule!
Here is a variety of personal meal prep tips from the Mac Out Nutrition coaches:
TAYLOR GRGURICH: I rarely meal prep for an entire week. Yep, I said it. I don’t use “I’m too busy” as an excuse, I just rather spend my Sunday afternoons with my son and with flexible eating it’s 100% doable! I fill my fridge each week with fresh fruits and vegetables and purchase staple protein items to have on hand that are fresh or frozen. I usually stick with frozen style or rotisserie chicken, eggs & egg whites, tuna packets, chicken sausage links and of course I can’t leave out the beef and pork in my deep freeze. I typically work from home 3 days out of the week so for me, I don’t necessarily need to meal prep a weeks worth of meals to eat flexibly. Days that I work in the office, I prep my meals the night before always – improves my health, saves money and time in the mornings.
Being 21 weeks pregnant, my food palate isn’t the same everyday so I have to change it each day on what sounds good to me. Typically I can only eat smaller portions nowadays but very frequently throughout the day. This usually consists of 3 medium sized meals and 2-3 snacks per day. With pregnancy I eat a lot more carbohydrates so my snacks usually contain a fruit or yogurt/granola/fruit bowl of some sort. There’s nothing wrong with snacking throughout the day, but having a plan each day in general on what you will be eating and when makes the biggest difference!
MORGAN PIPER: Meal planning/prepping has become a weekly routine over the past couple of years. Breakfast and lunch are often similar meals most days. For breakfast, I always try to balance my plate with protein, Carb & Fat (egg or cottage cheese, cheese & ham or bacon, whole wheat muffin or toast). Most days I have a protein shake after my workouts to start fueling my muscles!
Lunch is also balanced! Incorporating proteins, carbs & fat (ground beef, steak, chicken or deli lunch meat for protein, cheese or a dip spread for fat, and tortillas, whole wheat bread or sweet potatoes for carbs). If I am working outside my home, I always pack my lunch the night before so it is easy to grab the next day before I head out the door.
What I have found that works best for my family for dinner is choosing 2-3 types of proteins and 2-3 types of carbohydrates that I will have during the week. Since I mostly work from home, when making the protein or selected carbohydrate, I make sure that we make extra so I have it available for at least 1-2 more meals. When making extra portions when cooking, it cuts down time spent in the kitchen and sets me up for success! I do have to admit that I don’t really care for some leftover vegetables so that is something that I make fresh, which takes about 5-10 minutes. (I do like asparagus leftover). Planning simple meals and breaking down each meal to protein, carb & fat has helped me stay on track and simplifies flexible eating.
Example of one week Plan & Prep for Dinner:
Sunday: Grill Pork Chops (make extra),Bake 2-3 larger sized sweet potatoes (cut up into 1/3), Fresh Veggies
Monday: Same as Sunday, maybe change up veggie or carb for couscous
Tuesday: Carne Picada (make extra), Corn Tortillas, Fresh Veggies
Wednesday: Using leftover carne picada, adding black beans and sweet potatoes (already prepped) for a stuffed sweet potato
Thursday: Grilled Chicken (make extra), Couscous (make extra), Fresh Veggies
Friday: Use leftover chicken & prepare chicken tacos or buffalo chicken with leftover couscous
LESLIE BENNER: Meal prep, such an important part of macro tracking. Due to busy schedules, I often try to keep my meal prepping very simple. I also try to complete my prep on the weekend, however, sometimes it happens to be Monday when it gets done. What’s most important though – I’ve taken the time for myself to be prepared for the upcoming week so I can stay on track and reach my goals.
- Protein: I prepare plenty of protein (especially ground turkey and chicken) to have readily available for the meals I want to make during the week. This also means that if I don’t have a plan for my meals one day, I have the protein I need for the day ready to go!
- Veggies: I roast A TON of veggies, such as carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, and green beans. I like having roasted veggies on hand so I can throw them in a tortilla with some protein for a quick lunch or have them as a part of my dinner.
- Breakfast: Breakfast is one meal I try to prep for the entire week. I do not have time in the morning to cook or put something together. Currently, I am loving baked oats. I make a pan and then divide it into portions for the week. Adding fruit and yummy nut butter makes it a delicious breakfast (and gives me some carbs and fat)!
- Items I always keep on hand to add to meals and/or eat as snacks: Greek yogurt, egg whites, carb balance tortilla shells, protein powder and bars, Sola or Ezekiel bread, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and fruit (raspberries, strawberries, bananas, and apples)
During the work week, my meals often look the same. I am ok with that! It’s easier and convenient for me! However, on the weekends, when I do have more time, I am able to add more variety into my meals by creating and trying new recipes. Meal prepping doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated, it’s about choosing what is going to help you feel successful during the week!
MORGAN COOPER: When it comes to meal prep, I keep it very simple and basic. I’m one of those people who does not get sick of food very easily. I’ve probably been prepping the same thing every week for over 6 months now. I will usually switch out my breakfast, but lunch and dinner stay pretty much the same every week.
Breakfasts can be yogurt and granola, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal / oatmeal bakes or egg scrambles. If you want any of my breakfast recipes and more details just let me know!
Lunch is super quick and takes me less than an hour to prep start to finish. I cook 2lbs of ground turkey (93/7%) and add in 2 packets of low sodium taco seasoning once it’s fully cooked. After I mix the taco seasoning in, I add in some fresh spinach (usually ½ a bag, sometimes the full bag) and stir around until it’s wilted. I divide that mixture into 5 containers for the week!
Dinner is also pretty simple. I’ve been on a crockpot kick lately. It’s so easy to cook in bulk! All I do is throw some chicken in and dump a full jar of salsa on top. I let it cook on high for about 3.5 hours. When it’s done I shred the chicken and throw it back in so I can mix it with the salsa. I measure it out equally into containers. I do 5oz per container but you can adjust that depending of your macros and needs. I also add 100g of COOKED jasmine rice to eat container for my carb. For veggies I’ve been making Brussel sprouts. I use the air fryer to cook my Brussel sprouts and it is a GAME CHANGER. I slice the sprouts in half or quarters, toss them in olive oil and sea salt and throw them into the air fryer. I’ve been cooking them for 6 minutes at 380 degrees F, take them out to shake around and flip, and then cook it for another 6 minutes at 380. They are delicious! Lastly I add about 75g of brussels to each dinner container, then my meal is complete!
Meal prepping is 100% worth it! It may be time consuming, but once you get in your groove you can usually prep pretty quick. It helps me so much to stay on track during the week, especially when I’m busy.
Lunch: 302 calories
36.2g P / 8.7g C / 12/8g F
Dinner: 375 calories
49.3g P / 34.7g C / 5.2g F
SARA BUTLER: Meal prepping doesn’t always mean cooking for hours every Sunday!
Every week I do my all to make sure I have extra protein prepped for lunches and quick dinners. With working full-time, running multiple side ventures, a husband with crazy work hours and a busy teenage son, time is limited. However, it doesn’t take much to cook extra meat/protein on the days we are home to make sure I stay on track with my macros. If we are grilling, we usually grill 2-3 different protein options so that there are choices for all of us and leftovers to add to future meals. After dinner, I’m usually packing my lunch with leftovers to take to work the next day. It makes it easier when all the options are still out on the counter.
For added fiber and carbs, I make sure each week I have plenty of romaine, spinach, frozen veggies (broccoli, green beans, asparagus), potatoes (sweet, red, Yukon or hash browns) and tomatoes on hand. Grabbing staple items each week helps me stay on track. Other staple items I like I have each week are a few apples, canned light syrup peaches and always frozen blueberries to add to Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Ensuring I have good nutrient dense options keeps me from snagging my teenage son’s snacks that are…not so healthy. Food prepping could just be making sure the fridge and pantry have good choices available once you get accustomed to what carbs, fats and proteins work great for you (and what meals you like to have on repeat)!
As you can see nutrition is completely individualized on how it can fit into your lifestyle! Wanting to learn how you can incorporate small steps of meal prep into your lifestyle? Click HERE to “Get Started!”