Being an ex-fitness competitor I cringe at the term “meal prep”. It takes be back to a time when I would take my own food with me everywhere. I brought my tupperware to restaurants so that I could still be “social”, to work, holiday parties, and yes, I even brought my own food to Thanksgiving when I was in prep. So with that said, when I was first asked to write about how I eat healthy and meal prep now… I hesitated.
From what I’ve learned, there are a couple of different ways that you can meal prep. It’s all about what works for you and your family and also how committed you want to be to it. So today, I’ll walk you through what I’ve done in the past to meal prep for an entire week in under an hour, what I do now for me and my family, as well as online meal prep services that take the hassle of cooking away for you.
Option 1: Meal Prep Sunday
This is more commonly known in the bodybuilding realm and is what I did while I was competing. If you’re okay with eating the same meals each day, this approach is fast and efficient. You can usually bulk prep your food in under an hour; I’ll explain how.
“Bro foods” are common in bodybuilding because they’re whole foods, clean, and can be easily cooked all at once. Think sheet pan meals on steroids (punny). Chicken Breast, Lean Beef, Fish, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, brown rice, broccoli, and green beans are probably the most common foods. And you can cook all of these foods at the same time, have a little variety to your meals, and be done in an hour.
Season and/or marinate however you’d like, but we’re going to cook in tandem with the oven and stovetop. Your whole sweet potatoes will be in the oven for 1 hr, after 20 min has passed, put the chicken breast in the oven. Now you can forget about these until the timer goes off.
After another 20 min passes, start cooking your ground beef and brown rice. If you’d like to cook fish too, put this in the oven at this time. After another 10 min passes, start steaming your vegetable. Once the timer goes off, all of your food will be done at the same time. From here you can portion off your meals in Tupperware or store them in bulk and pack meals as you go. However, I do suggest to put half of the food in the freezer so that the food doesn’t go bad. Then you can it pull out and thaw it as needed later in the week.
So in short:
0:20 Beef, Rice, Fish
I feel like I could do a whole blog post on this type of meal prepping, but for this post I wanted to keep it as short and sweet as possible. This option isn’t as creative since you’re eating the same meals each day of the week; however, since you’re cooking multiple proteins and different carbs, it’s at least a little variety. But truthfully, it’s definitely not as fun as the next way to meal prep.
Option 2: Leftovers
I know the word “leftovers” just puts a bad taste in your mouth (man, I am with it in the pun department today!) But trust me, the concept of leftovers is perfect. This is how I currently meal prep for my family and it has been easy and effective. The idea is simple – You intentionally cook more than you normally would for dinner. For example, even though it’s just my husband and I, I cook for four people every night. Whatever we don’t eat, I pack for the next day.
I’m aware that this concept isn’t an awe-inspiring idea. However having done option 1 and 2, I prefer leftovers. Cooking something different each day allows for variety throughout the week. It doesn’t make me (or my husband) get bored with eating the same thing again and again. I did that for years when I competed, trust me even with all the different amounts of spices in the world, you can get burnt out from doing option 1.
Option 3: online Meal Prep Services
If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen or if you don’t want to cook dinner every night – I get it. Luckily for both you and I, there are online meal prep services to make our lives easier. I’m going to preface with saying that this is not a sponsored post. This blog post is not affiliated with any of the companies or services listed below. I’m just simply sharing some good options!
I used Icon Meals time to time when I was prepping for competitions. It’s great because you can customize your meals based off your dietary needs, order specific portions per meal, and order food a la carte. If you don’t feel like cooking, having these in your freezer where you can just pop it into the oven is so convenient. Their food is typically super clean unless otherwise specified. If you track macros, they include nutrition labels on each meal as well so you can track what you eat!
Another online meal prep service that is more appropriate for the person cooking for others and not just themselves, is Sun Basket. While although I have not tried Sun Basket personally, I did do some research on online meal delivery services and Sun Basket kept popping up for good reason. Sun Basket offers organic and clean ingredients unlike other companies. To top it off, they also offer the most variety in regards to their diet options. Their meal plans cater everyone: to the carb-conscious, paleo, vegetarian, lean & clean, gluten-free, mediterranean, vegan, quick & easy, pescetarian, and they even have diabetes-friendly options.
Meal Prep Made Easy
Today I provided you with three different meal prep options that can work with even the busiest of lifestyles. What about you? Do you meal prep for you or your family? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what works best for your family! Also, if you’ve tried an online meal delivery service, let me know if you like it or not. Mama needs a break from the kitchen time to time if you know what I’m saying 😉