Planning and preparing your meals in advance makes it so much easier to stay on track during the week, stick to healthy eating and also stick to the correct portion sizes so you don’t over eat. A little bit of time and effort for one day per week is totally worth it. You won’t have to think about what to cook, be tempted to make bad choices, or need to cook after a long hard day at work. Have I convinced you that you should be meal prepping yet? I hope so!
As I said, it is a bit of time and effort, but I promise you it will save you time during the week. Here is a meal prepping guide to help you.
Step 1. Recipe List
You will need around 5-10 healthy meals that you really like. I can eat the same thing 5 days in a row and not get sick of it, but I know others need variety. How many meals you have is up to you. Here is a list of some of my favourite healthy recipes if you are stuck for ideas.
- Chicken or beef stir fry with quinoa or brown rice (and lots of veggies)
- Roast (chicken, lamb, beef, etc) with roast vegetables and steamed greens
- Thai red curry with brown rice and lots of veggies
- Cauliflower crust pizza
- LSA crumbed chicken with roast vegetable salad
- Chicken cacciatore
- Burrito salad bowl
- Honey soy chicken (in the slow cooker) with green veggies and brown rice
- Zucchini quiche (no crust)
- San choy bow
- Pesto chicken salad
- Turkey burgers
- Hot smoked salmon bowl (buy the pre-cooked hot smoked salmon, and add quinoa, edamame, avocado, spinach/kale and almonds – or whatever you like!)
- Cauliflower fried rice
Step 2. Meal Planning
OK so you now have a go to list of healthy recipes. Keep these on the fridge or somewhere easy for you to access. On Sunday (or Saturday), write down your meals for the coming Monday – Friday (see table below). You can also add in breakfast and snacks too!
I recommend having the same meal for lunch 3-5 days in a row. If you can’t eat the same thing for 5 days in a row, you could prepare 2 different lunches on Sunday. Otherwise, on Sunday you could prepare your lunches for Monday – Wednesday, and then prepare more lunches on Wednesday night. It’s up to you.
For dinner, I recommend you can make it really easy on yourself and have some vegetables already prepared (they just need to be re-heated) and some type of meat that can be cooked fresh each night. I like to buy meat that already has some herbs / spices. Jamie Oliver has some really good packaged marinated chicken breasts! Otherwise, you could always do the same thing that you are doing for lunch and prepare them all in advance.
I have 3 favourite types of vegetable meals that I make as side dishes for dinner. I usually make all 3. I know this is a lot of work but they’re all delicious and so worth it! Once you have made them all, put them into Tupperware containers.
Sautéed kale, broccoli, broccolini and asparagus
Tear up kale and massage with olive oil. Chop up all other green vegetables into small pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on stove top to a medium heat. Add broccoli and cook on its own for a few minutes. Add broccolini and asparagus next. Then add kale. Cook until they are all tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: you can use other green vegetables – the choice is yours!
Slow roasted honey baby carrots
Heat oven to 160C / 320F (low heat). If you have baby carrots, you won’t need to do anything to them. If you have regular carrots, cut them up so they are a bit thinner (will cook quicker). Put carrots on a lined baking tray and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 hour (or more), rotating once.
Roast sweet potato
Chop up sweet potato into small chunks. Place them on a lined baking tray and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in oven with the carrots. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will cook.
Weekly Meal Plan
Here is what a typical weekly meal plan might look like:
|Lunch||Hot smoked salmon bowl||Hot smoked salmon bowl||Hot smoked salmon bowl||Beef stir fry||Beef stir fry|
|Dinner||Chicken breast with 3 vegetable sides||Marinated beef strips with 3 vegetable sides||Chicken breast with 3 vegetable sides||White fish with 3 vegetable sides||Chicken breast with 3 vegetable sides|
Step 3. Grocery Shopping
You now know exactly what you will be cooking for the week, so write a grocery list accordingly. Don’t deviate from the grocery list or be tempted to buy anything else that is not on the list.
Step 4. Meal Preparation
Today is the day that you will prepare your lunches for Monday – Wednesday (or Monday – Friday) and your vegetables for dinner. Make the lunches and put them all ready to go in separate Tupperware containers. Make it easy so that in the morning you just have to take your container and go.
Then make the dinner vegetables. While the vegetables are roasting, you could always prepare your healthy snacks for the week, or breakfast if you need to. You could bake some of your own healthy goods to have as snacks, boil some eggs, or just have pre-made things such as protein shakes, carrot sticks / crackers and healthy dip, nuts, etc. Regardless of what you choose, put all your snacks into little containers too.
I have tried to make all the meals in my eBooks healthy and easy, and have also set them out as I have described in this blog post – i.e. you will eat the same thing for lunch for 3-5 days to minimise cooking. If you want to find out more about my eBooks, click here.