Here’s a blog post I just wrote for my members only site and decided to share here with you.
It talks about preparing your meals in advance, so you always have nutritious and balanced meals ready to eat and you save time during the week.
Prepping your meals or fueling opportunities in advance is one of the best ways to make sure you eat balanced meals, you never miss a meal and that healthful food is always at your fingertips.
Here’s my strategy for success. Read it, adopt it and modify it to fit your schedule.
Sunday Morning, after sleeping in, I jump out of bed, make a meal replacement shake and head to the grocery store. The shelves are full and the isles empty. The big rush of people hasn’t arrived yet. I hit the produce section first, then the fish, meats, dairy and any miscellaneous items I need (cooking spray, oils, legumes, peanut butter, paper, etc…) and check out.
I head home and set up for my big food prep for the week. I take out the cutting boards and place them on the counter. I set up all of my tupperware, containers on top of covers, get my pots out, measuring cups, frying pans, cooking sheets, aluminum foil, etc…
First I start with my breakfast meals. I cook my oatmeal and eggs at the same time (separate pans of course) and make enough for 5 days (1 meal for each item). Measure the milk, pour it into the pot. Measure the water, pour it into the pot. Turn the heat on high. Get it to boil, add the oats, return to boil and then simmer on low heat until liquid is pretty much absorbed. While this is going on I’ve pre-heated the oven to cook my chicken, started my eggs and started my veggie prep for lunch & dinner (i.e. washing the veggies and chopping them).
Eggs. Spray the pan with olive oil cooking spray, turn the heat on medium-high, put in my veggies, this week it was garlic (minced garlic in bottle, found in produce section), frozen spinach, frozen chopped onions and frozen chopped peppers. Pushed it around with my wooden spoon until everything was thawed and then I added the eggs. 1 whole omega 3-egg for each day and a measured amount of egg whites from a carton for each day. Push this around like you would any scrambled egg concoction.
While this is going on, I prepped the chicken. Placed the chicken breast on the aluminum foil & cooking spray covered, cooking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other. Squeezed lemon juice on top and sprinkled salt and pepper on each breast. Placed in oven on 425 for 20-25minutes.
While this is going on and in between managing the oatmeal and stirring the eggs, I started my veggie prep. First was putting 1 cup of fruit in each of the 5 tupperware containers for my oatmeal. This week was frozen mangoes, last week was fresh apples. 1 cup = 2 servings of veggies or fruits, so you’ll hit your veggie/fruit quota for this meal if you can do a cup, though be the judge for yourself. Next I would add my mixed nuts to the oatmeal (the fat for the meal), but I chose to have ground flax seeds or flax meal instead. I tried it sprinkled on top the previous week, but it didn’t taste too good (too dry), so I stirred it into the oatmeal, once done cooking.
I also cut up tomatoes to add to each of the scramble eggs. A trick I like is 1 plum tomato for each day. Chop it into cubes and keep it on the cutting board for now.
Back to the oatmeal & eggs.
They’re both done now, so I turn off the heat and get my flax meal and stir it into the oatmeal pot. Then because every meal should have a lean, complete protein, a veggie/fruit and a fat, I add egg whites (from a carton). The egg whites provide a complete protein source without the extra calories or fat from a whole egg. Currently I use the egg whites because I needed an alternative protein source besides protein powder for clients that didn’t have protein powders yet. It tastes good and gives a “vanilla” flavor (weird, I know). One key is to only add the egg whites after cooking the oatmeal. If you add it while cooking, you’ll have to clean up a volcano explosion. It makes a huge mess, so just add it after you turn off the heat.
Stir it up and divvy it out into the 5 tupperware containers.
Chop these up, so they’re scrambled and not clumped. Divvy them up into the 5 containers, put the chopped plum tomatoes on top and you’ve just made 10 meals.
Next its time for the remainder of the veggies. First, wash the oatmeal pot, put broccoli and cauliflower into it and then put green beans into a second pot. I fill them both with 1/4″ to 1/2″ of water squeeze some lemon on top for flavor and vitamin c, cover and turn the heat on high until the water boils. Then reduce heat to low and
simmer/steam until veggies can be easily poked with a fork.
The chicken is close to being done, so I start to clean up my mess. Wash, rinse, dry, wipe, etc…
Now the chicken is done, so I take it out and let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool.
Now’s a good time to make a bunch of shakes for later. You can make post workout shakes (protein & carbs only) or meal replacement shakes (protein, fat & carb).
If you have protein powder already its pretty easy. Take a cup of frozen, mixed berries, dump into blender, add frozen banana, 2 cups of water or 2 cups of milk or 1 of each (its a calorie decision for you to choose), your protein powder and then blend. Makes about 24-26 ounces. Divvy this up into 3, 8ounce portions or 2, 12 ounce portions. I weigh about 180 and am looking to add muscle and weight so I’d drink it all. If I was looking to maintain or lose as a 180lb male, I drink the 12oz. If you weigh less, start with the 8oz. Test the amounts you consume. The main outcome you want is to replenish your energy quickly. This is not a meal replacement, your starchy meal is coming soon.
Now the chicken is cooled, so I place 1 breast at a time on a cutting board, cut it into 1″ slices and place in tupperware. When all the chicken has been cut and placed, I add the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans to the tupperware. I now have lunch and dinner for the next couple of days as well as breakfast for the week and protein shakes for however many days I made.
With the grocery shopping, the lugging the food, the chopping, cooking, washing veggies and dishes and making everything nice it takes about 4 hours. Maybe its a lot to you, maybe it isn’t, but, you save sooooooo much time during the week (grab, heat & go or like I do, grab & go) and this Sunday prep is actually quite fun. Plus, your body is going to look better sooner.
Hope you enjoy the article and I welcome your comments and please share your food prep tips and success strategies.
Your personal coach,
personal training, semi-private training, boot camp classes and online coaching available in Boston (Newton), MA