Whew, this took a bit longer to get up than I thought. I’ve been finding it very hard to come home to sit and write at a computer screen when all day from 8 to 5 I, well, sit and write at a computer screen.
If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, it would be this: NEVER GET A DESK JOB.
Anyway, I digress. I have been doing a LOT of meal prepping. It’s really the only way I can stay on track when my days consist of rushing to CrossFit before or after work, working 8 to 5, walking the dog, and attempting to have a social life. And I’ve had several friends ask me to teach them my ways after seeing some of my posts:
So, I thought I’d put together an easy meal prep guide. This certainly isn’t definitive, and it’s just how I do things (at least before I started a “diet” called RP Strength), but for those of you lost on how to get started, it might help.
First off, I plan my meals in terms of protein, carbs, and fats, plus veggies, which is especially important for me with doing CrossFit 5+ times a week. (If you’re interested in learning more about macronutrients and how much your body needs, try calculating. If you want a little more customization, are looking to drop or gain weight, don’t want to do as much math, and don’t mind spending some money, try the RP Strength Auto Templates.)
My guide is therefore separated into categories that I pick from: lean proteins, not-so-lean proteins (that I use sparingly or not at all), carbs, veggies, and fats.
My Meal Prep Guide
Lean Protein Option (for meats, 90% lean or higher)
- Eggs or egg whites (keep in mind regular eggs very healthy but are not very lean)
- Chicken breast
- Lean chicken sausage
- Lean turkey
- Lean beef
- Lean pork
- Salmon, tuna, tilapia, shrimp, or any fish or seafood (these are just my preferred ones)
Not-so-lean proteins (use sparingly)
- Most types of sausage
- Most other types of meat not above
- Baby spinach
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Bell peppers for pasta or eggs
- etc., etc., really anything you like 🙂
- Nut butters (almond, peanut, etc.)
- Yolks of eggs
Seasonings/toppings I like to have on hand
- Taco seasoning
- Thai sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Tamari soy sauce
- Mrs. Dash
- Dry ranch packets
- Laughing Cow pepper jack cheese, garlic & herb, or white cheddar
- Shredded mexican cheese (in moderation)
- Greek yogurt with fruit
- Fruit with peanut butter or almond butter
- Protein smoothie/”ice cream” (banana, chocolate protein mix, milk, ice)
- Veggies – try bell peppers with a little Laughing Cow cheese!
*Because I’m on an essentially 6 meal-a-day plan now with RP Strength, I don’t really snack. (But my last “meal” is usually protein + almond milk + pb and/or banana depending on when I should have fats and carbs!) If you’re a snacker, though, these are some healthy things to have on hand. Keep in mind nuts are fats and fruits are carbs, though.
I scramble eggs with spinach and/or peppers and a bit of cheese or make a frittata (http://fashionablefoods.com/
-with a side of ezekiel toast
-in a whole wheat wrap or pita pocket
-with 1/2 sweet potato
Ground turkey and egg scramble with salsa and spinach:
Brown a pound of ground turkey, add in about 3/4 cup salsa. Mix well, then crack in 4-6 eggs. Stir and scramble up to cook eggs. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Easy to pack away and reheat portions for breakfast!
Lunches and Dinners:
Crock pot shredded salsa chicken
-over spinach or green and red peppers and with 1/2 a sweet potato
-in a whole wheat wrap (or 2 small tortillas) with spinach, avocado, and maybe an extra side of veggies
Baked teriyaki chicken
I used chicken breasts instead of thighs: http://www.kitchme.com/
-with brown rice and steamed broccoli, and teriyaki sauce over everything
Chili lime tilapia (cook in pan with chili lime seasoning)
-with brown rice and veggies
-with sweet or regular potatoes and veggies
Ground beef with taco seasoning
-in a whole wheat tortilla or pita pocket with spinach, tomato, avocado – side of veggies
Thai chicken stir fry
Cube chicken. Saute with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add in chopped broccoli and asparagus. Season with thai peanut sauce (pre-bought or you can make your own). Cook until chicken is done and veggies are crisp.
-Serve over brown rice
Sausage and Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach:
How to Prep
I pick 2-3 lunch/dinner items and one breakfast item from my options (or new ones!) to make for the week. I list out everything I need to make them, then create my grocery list from there. An example week might be: scrambled eggs with spinach and bread with peanut butter, crock pot shredded salsa chicken with spinach and avocado (plus sweet potato if you need carbs), and baked teriyaki chicken with broccoli and brown rice. Sunday I would put the chicken in the crockpot, roast 2 sweet potatoes, make a big batch of the teriyaki chicken, cook brown rice, and steam a big pot of broccoli.
I keep the eggs together so I can easily put some in a bowl and heat (on low) every morning. I portion out the teriyaki chicken in meal prep containers with rice and veggies so I can easily take them to work and reheat, same with chicken and some sweet potato + veggies. I set aside some chicken to have for dinner that I can put in a tortilla and add veggies to.
My food and eating have gotten a lot more scientific since starting RP, but the prep is still pretty similar! Let me know if you have questions or would be interested in sample grocery lists.