Ok, so I have received a ton of questions about my Sunday meal prepping. What I make, how much, how I store it, portion control, choose my recipes, etc. And the honest to god truth is…I wing it. It should also be thrown out there that some people love to food prep and others dread it. I fall more on the love side…my week does not get off to the right start if I do not prep on Sunday. Once I realized that I didn’t have to cook on weeknights, I generally stopped doing it.
- 6:30-7:00am – wake up and get ready to go. Pack the reusable grocery bags, coupons, and the list (<– the list is KEY).
- 7:30-8:30am – grocery shop. I typically split this between two different stores depending on the sales, fuel perks, and what exactly I am getting (if dry goods, Safeway, Giant, Giant Eagle, etc. If produce and meats, then I go to Wegmans and/or local farmers markets).
- 8:45-9:45am – unload the groceries, freeze any meats I am not using that day/week, wash the fruits and vegetables, and cut/prep stuff up. Lately I have been breaking for church at 9:45, but I used to just power straight through the process.
- 11-whenever wrapped up – I then do the actual cooking. Anything that is going in the oven goes first, then anything that is being cooked on the stovetop. If the grill needs preheated, that happens next. And as everything is cooking, I rotate whatever needs steamed and cooked in the microwave.
- [then the clean up. boo.]
Items I swear by:
- Fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peaches, kiwi, mango, etc.)
- Vegetables (cucumbers, celery, baby carrots, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, lettuce, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, etc.)
- Sweet potatoes (orange or purple)
- Earth Balance Vegan Butter
- Lemon/lime juice
- Individual Greek yogurts
- Cottage cheese (1 or 2%)
- Jarred tomato sauce
- Fiber, vegetable, or gluten free dry pasta
- Black beans (canned or frozen)
- Brown/whole grain rice
- Frozen steamable veggies
- Frozen veggie burgers
- Meat (chicken breasts, pork, sausages, lean ground beef/turkey breast/chicken)
- Fish (I always keep individually wrapped tilapia filets in the freezer)
[Note: It should be mentioned that I use very little dairy in my cooking. Sometimes cheese, but we do not keep real milk or butter in the house. It is always almond or coconut milk and extra virgin olive oil. We don’t keep many breads either, unless we are eating burgers or something specific. In that case, we keep deli thins and gluten free sliced bread in the freezer.]
Basic to-dos that will make the week easier:
- Fresh fruit – de-stem and cut strawberries, wash any apples/peaches/blueberries, store in large containers for easy access during week.
- Fresh veggies – peel and slice cucumbers, de-stem celery, dice or slice any onions/peppers for recipes, wash any other vegetables you are going to use or eat.
- Anything that you can steam in microwave is a winner for me. I do this with frozen vegetables, bagged potatoes from the produce section, and even rice.
- Salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic literally go in everything that I make.
- Your tupperware cabinet or drawer is going to be your best friend, so keep in organized and in an easily accessible place.
- Invest in a food scale. Mine was $15 at Costco.
- I clean and do dishes as I go. Once everything is done cooking and cooled, the fridge gets rearranged, and the kitchen gets its deep clean.
- When snacking or heating meals up during the week, try and stick to actual serving sizes
- ^ that being said, I started all of this by tracking calories. My Fitness Pal is my best friend. SparkPeople is good too.
- Pack any meals you are going to take with you the night before. I always pack enough breakfast items for 2-days in a lunch bag to keep at work. [I get hangry if I don’t have food.]
Now onto the recipe and nutritional sides of things. Seriously, keep things simple. No frills. If a recipe seems too complicated or the meal isn’t going to keep for reheating purposes, it doesn’t make the cut for me. If anything takes longer than a half hour to make, you are going to be in the kitchen all damn day. Summer is the best, because you can literally throw everything on the grill. And if you follow the grocery guidelines and tips from above, you should be good. Keep in mind, the more often you prep, the more efficient you are going to get at it. Practice always make progress.
So, here is what I rotate through my weeks. I typically make 3 full meals (about 4 servings) that last the husband and I for 4 days. Then I keep 2-3 snacks readily available. And enough fruit and breakfast items for each of us to have for 5 work days. My philosophy is that if I workout and eat well Sunday through Thursday, that leaves some leniency for Friday and Saturday. I typically aim for 1900 calories a day to maintain my weight. And if I workout, I burn on average between 400-650 calories in ~75 minutes. 1900 + 500 = 2400…which puts me at a comfortable 2250 calories to eat that day. Technically, I could eat up to the 2400…or not work out and eat the 1900. Make sense?
Breakfast (~325 calories):
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese with black pepper (or sliced fruit)
- Oatmeal/Rolled Oats/Steel Cut
- Less than 80 calories of fruit
- Black coffee
- Organic burrito (Amy‘s or Wegmans)
- Steamed veggies
- Raw veggies and hummus
- 1 oz almonds or cashews
Lunch (~800 calories, this is my big meal and where I most often cheat:
- Nick eats leftovers from our dinner prep, salad, or Subway most of the time
- I have food at my job everyday, so I just try and keep it in my calorie limits and/or eat the healthier items
Snacks (~200-400 calories & post gym/high protein…alot like breakfast):
- Raw veggies and hummus
- Hard boiled eggs or egg salad
- Protein shake
- Marathon bread with nut butter
- 1oz almonds or cashews
- Deli rollups
- Buffalo chicken salad lettuce cups
Dinner (depends on how many calories I have left for my day and if I want dessert. Haha!):
- Grilled or roasted chicken breast, marinated or dry rubbed (5 breasts, to eat in 4oz servings…on salads or on its own)
- Lean ground meat pasta sauce
- Spaghetti squash bowls
- Tacos with lean ground meat and/or chicken fajitas (use small tortillas and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream!)
- Lemon pepper tilapia
- Chicken Sausages (Johnsonville or Organic Wegmans are our favorites)
- Veggie burgers or regular burgers with 90/10% or leaner meat
Dinner sides (to go with ^):
- Black beans with green Tabasco
- Whole grain rice/brown rice/quinoa
- TONS of vegetables (asparagus, green beans, peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cauliflower rice, etc.)
- Sweet potatoes (orange or purple)
- Sometimes we eat just avocado as a side
This is alot of information as it is, so if you have any questions or want me to elaborate…just ask! Comment, email, whatever. And definitely stalk my Instagram, because it is where I post alot of my day-to-day food and workout stuff.