I figured i would share with you how i do my meal prep. Please remember i eat 5 times a day so this is how i plan accordingly. You can easily tweak it based on how many meals a day that you are most comfortable with. (This method is assuming you have a food scale.)
Food (haha.. lame joke)
A lot of same sized containers, i have 20-25 20oz-24oz containers (re-used pre-packaged lunch meat containers are same size)
I have pre-planned that my calorie goal is 1450cal, i divide it by 5 to give myself an idea on a calorie range of about 290cal for my meals.
1: I choose a Day (usually Friday or Saturday) to figure out what I think I might want to eat for the week by playing around with a food tracker. I use Spark People.
2: I Transfer over Repeat meals such as my vitamins (aka snacks), Dinner, and 4th meal over to the upcoming Monday of the week that i am planning my food since i already know that i will want to have those same foods from the previous week. (I am not sure if you use an online tracker, or if you do if it is possible to copy meals to different days, but this is what SparkPeople allows me to do.)
3: Start Planning out your meals, I switch between options A and B dependent on my food cravings.
A: I start building my Lunch plan, For example if i made a large batch of Chili over the weekend i would put 1 serving chili, 3-4oz chicken, and 1 babybel cheese (i usually get my food to range from 250-400cal since i plan on having this meal twice in a day).
After I decide on what i wouldn’t mind eating twice a day, i leave my options for breakfast to fit the remainder calories for the day.
B: I decide on what i definitely know what i want to eat for the week and put that in first. For example if i want to have a Lenny and Larry’s Cookie for breakfast M-F i would select there highest caloric cookie and place it in the Breakfast area and over estimate its weight. I do this as a buffer zone since i know that i can estimate going over my caloric goal but still ending up meeting it by the end of the day.
After i designate the Calories for that specific food, i look at the total remaining for my leftover meals, Usually Lunch and 2nd meal which are exactly the same for me; and divide by 2 and plan out my meal accordingly.
Below is what i came up with for the week. I had started my plan with the Fact that i needed to eat a box of cereal before it expires XD.
4: Putting the plan into action. Now this is the time where you either make a bunch of food or portion out leftovers from whatever meal you had already made.
A: If you are using left overs, pre-made foods, pre-packaged foods (aka pre-cut meats, veggies, fruits, snacks, canned foods ect)
A1: get an large container preferably one that is identical to the one the food is already in. If you have an identical container, put the empty container on your food scale and then zero out so the weight of the container is not counted, and then put the identical container that is full of food on the scale, get the weight of the food.
A2: if you don’t have an identical container, then put empty container on the scale, zero out the scale and then transfer all the food into it in order to figure out how much it weights.
B: Once Food is weighted, take the Weight of the food, divide by the total number of meals for the week, and then subtract 1 from the amount before portioning out the food. For me i have to divide by 10 (lunch and 4th meal for 5 days). ** Reason for subtracting 1 is when you portion out the food you will not be perfect on exact measurements, so this way you have a little wiggle room). But you will use the actual weight divided by the number of meals in your tracker. (example. if i wanted to portion out 300g of Chili into 10 meals it would be 30g per meal. i will measure out 29g of chili usually going over by 0.2-.06g but i will track it as 30g on Sparkpeople)
C: For portioning out the food, Sometimes it is easy to have an extra container that you use as a buffer, This container will be zero’d out on the scale and used as primary moving tool (if the food you are deciding to portion out is not super messy). So to in-vision this you will have the following in front of you: 1 container full of food (needing to be portioned), the buffer container on top of the scale zero-ed out, and a stack of empty containers (that need to be filled).
- Move food into buffer contain until you reached desired weight.
- Put the food from buffer container into one of the containers from the stack.
D: Update your food Tracker for the amount that is in each of your meal containers (example 30g Chili) You can repeat Steps A-D several times with the same containers (so you can portion out pre-cooked meats, fresh/ frozen veggies, cheese and ect all into the same container) with any foods you do not have to cook yourself. (if you don’t have to cook anything then lid the containers and store in the fridge.)
E: Time For Food that requires cooking.
E1: Grab and Cook a very large portion of the desired food for your lunch. Don’t worry if you make too much, I tend to eat whatever is left over after i portion it out (if anything is left.)
I usually buy frozen chicken breasts, so for 1 week of food i usually just bake whatever i can fit on a single baking sheet and then adjust my tracker if i fall short (which i usually do)
E2: Let the freshly cooked food cool down so you don’t burn yourself when you try to weight it.
I usually let the chicken cool for about 20 minutes, then i cut it up into a bunch of pieces, usually throwing out any fat pieces or parts that i deem as inedible before i weight it out.
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E3: Follow steps A2 – D