Creating a meal plan that works for you can be difficult. This week, while I got a bit ambitious with multiple lunches, I decided to show you an example of my personal processes while meal planning and prepping. This plan uses a combination of Plan B for my lifting and hiiting program and nutrition course. It could easily be adapted for any individual meal plan or fix meal plan!
The first step is to look at what my fitness program and nutrition guides recommend. I want to make sure that I always get enough protein, carbs, veggies, and healthy fats (and don’t go overboard in any areas!). I’ve learned through the nutrition program that I offer that my body prefers to have all of my carbs in the morning and early afternoon. Some days this isn’t an option, but I try to plan this. I also prefer to eat most of my fruit early on and have a consistent breakfast. The options this week are yogurt or a superfoods shake as my protein and an apple or half of a grapefruit. My post-workout breakfast changes up, but I have leftover 4-ingredient bagels and waffles from last week in the freezer! Knowing this info, I think about any cravings for meals or ingredients that I’ve had this week, find or create a recipe to go along with the craving, and fill the rest of my chart out with simple, easy, familiar meals. More tips on creating a meal plan can be found here. Click or mouse over the following picture to see my full plan for the week:
Your meal plan doesn’t have to be this detailed. Sometimes I make a list of meals and how much of each I need and keep grab-and-go options like greek yogurt, fruit, baby bell peppers, carrots, and sprouted bread on hand for any meals not covered by the plan.
After making the plan, I grocery shop another day. I pull out any meat to defrost in the fridge over night, and get my meal prep plan ready! After ordering eat meal by how it is cooked and how long it will take, I start tackling my meal prep!
This week, I started with my indoor baking meals as most could be cooked on the grill. I seasoned one chicken breast souvlaki-style and breaded two with panko. I started baking those, sliced and seasoned my eggplants, and added them to the oven 5 minutes in. This gave me 15 minutes to prep all of the veggies and ingredients for my baked penne and simmer my marinara sauce. When sauteeing onions for the casserole, I doubled the onions and removed them (to be used for my Mediterranean mushrooms caps).
When the chicken and eggplant finished, I made my bowls and topped them with the breaded chicken (diced), marinara and parmesan, and mozzarella. Into the oven they went for another 5 minutes, while I sliced up the souvlaki chicken breast, diced grape tomatoes, and crumbled some feta. The casserole went in the oven. The only thing left to do was prep the remaining vegetables and meat for the barbecue. I seasoned my steaks, sliced zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and beans, and grab the sausages and toppings. I washed some dishes while the barbecue heated up!
I started by throwing the sausages on over indirect heat because they can take a while, half of the mushroom caps and their toppings because I had two rounds of them to do (first pizza then Mediterranean), followed by the steaks, beans, and mushrooms (so they would have time to cool before assembling the salads). As each part finished, I threw on the next, until everything was done! The beauty of this plan was my lunch finished baking around 12pm, and I was easily able to reheat the sausages, zucchini, and peppers for dinner later! So convenient!
When everything was done cooking and had mostly cooled, it was time to split them up into containers. I kept the steak separate from the rest of the salad and planned to add peaches and balsamic fresh in the morning. I split some portions into individual containers for my husband and some into larger containers for myself. I made a little extra chicken and pasta for my daughter and daycare kids even, so their lunches are covered for a few days! Overall, this meal prep took me about 3.5 hours, but you could easily reduce this by a solid hour if you made the same lunch for every day and didn’t make a unique supper for the night you cook. Voila! I split my cooking time for the week in half (at minimum!), all of the dishes were done by the end of that 3.5 hours, and I don’t have to worry about being too tired or busy to eat healthy this week! <3