Meal Prep 101
Meal prep can feel intimidating the first time. This outline will give you guidance on how to prep for your first 72 hours and beyond. Here are three tips to get you started.
- Keep it simple! Keep protein, carbs, and fats all broken out (separate) on your plate. This makes it easy as you start. We’ll worry about 3-bean-chilis and enchiladas later! You can add more complex meals after mastering the basics.
Cook in bulk! Preparing one snack or one meal at a time gets overwhelming. Prepare several meals at once and you’ll save LOTS of time and energy
It’s easy with the right tools! You’ll need 9 pieces of storage containers (more is better), a food scale, measuring cups/spoons, travel cutlery, and a lunchbox or ice chest.
Step 1: Get to know your Plan
Review sample meals and play around with building your own sample meals using the Create Meal function. Familiarize yourself with portions but don’t get hung up trying to memorize the exact macronutrients for each meal--that’s what the app is for. Simply looking through the meals will give you a good feel for what options you might select.
Pro tip: Eating the same thing for breakfast can make it simple/easy for the first few days on plan.
Step 2: Make a List
Once you have had a chance to review some sample meals on your plan, select the ones you like and use the ”add to shopping list” button. The foods from that meal will populate in your shopping list (upper right corner). Don’t worry if you make a mistake, you can remove it. If you get a little more adventurous, select the “Create Meal” button and play around with your own combinations! Sample meals you build using the Create Meal option are automatically saved to your shopping list unless you de-select this function. Remember, all roads lead to a meal that hits your macros. Play around with it -- you can’t break it (we hope)...
Step 3: Shop
With your app in hand you can effectively traverse the grocery store aisles without missing anything. It’s up to you to decide how much of each item you pick up. Here’s a simple rule of thumb, if you get too much, you can always use the leftovers for your next meal or snack… We’re big fans of cooking in bulk. When we grill, we pick a couple kinds of meats or veggies and cook enough to last several days. Same thing for our carbs, when we cook sweet potatoes or brown rice, we make a big ol’ batch! You’ll have to watch it with fresh fruits and veggies --if you get too much they could spoil. Other then that, shop in bulk by macronutrient:
- protein (example: meat, eggs)
- meal carbs (example: brown rice, sweet potato)
- snack carbs (example: fruit, rice cakes)
- veggie carbs (example: green beans, cauliflower)
- fats (example: oils, avocado, peanut butter)
Keep quick and portable snack selections on your shopping list too. If you ever opened the cupboards at the MetPro office you’d find an irrational amount of almond butter, turkey jerky, and rice cakes...oh yeah, and lots of coffee..
Remember, if you haven’t picked-up all the tools for your first meal prep session now is a good time (i.e. food scale, measuring cups and/or spoons, plenty of tupperware, travel cutlery, and a vessel to carry all your material. If you are looking for some excellent leads on what can serve you best take a look at the attached link: https://www.pinterest.com/metprosystem/getting-started-with-metpro
Pro tip: Plan to visit the store(s) for your big shopping trip (hopefully only once per week) during non-peak hours--it will save you loads of time and stress. While there, don’t forget about low calorie seasonings, and low calorie dressings and sauces (40 calories or less).
Step 4: Set the Stage
If this is your first time, allocate a couple of hours for your initial food prep. It won’t always take this long --just the first time.
Allocating enough time isn’t the only important detail--it is also helpful to create the right “environment”. For example, dim the lights, put on your favorite music, clear the counters, pull out all your tools (i.e. scale, measuring cups, mixing bowls, tupperware, etc.), pour your last glass of wine--for a while, and light a candle--this is going to take a minute.
Pro tip: In time, you’ll master eyeballing 4oz of chicken, but until then keep your measuring tools handy.
Pro tip: When making a meal for your family, how about cooking enough for leftovers as your lunch for the next day or two?
Step 5: Start Cooking!
If you have done all the necessary planning this part should be fairly straight forward, but by no means easy. This is a skill that will take time to develop, but as you learn more about the process it will become less of a chore and more of a process that you can look forward to accomplishing each week.
Don’t stress. Even with all the planning and hard work you put into this, you’ll still make mistakes. For example, you may forget to weigh something out properly before mixing it with another ingredient or you might not remember that there are 16 oz in a pound and neglect to purchase enough meat for all three dishes you had planned. Forgive yourself, eat it anyways, take note of the mistake, laugh it off, and move on.
Pro tip: Prepare your midday meals and snacks even if you work from home. Think you’ll just whip them up on the fly? Think again. We have 20 years experience that says most people do much better if they prep in advance even when working from home.
Pro tip: Preparing your staple marco’s (i.e. rice, grilled chicken, sweet potatoes, ground turkey, squash, etc.) in advance and then mixing and matching to complete the macronutrients needed to create each meal can save you lots of time.
Pro tip: Remember that you will most likely start with preparing 72 hours in advance, meaning that if you prepare your meals on Sunday, you will be back at it again on Wednesday night. Not to fear, if you have shopped and planned for the week, Wednesday will be easier. Make sure you have plenty of tupperware and clean containers ahead of time!