How’re those New Years resolutions going? Still eating good? Still hitting the gym? It’s ok if you’re not…change is hard. I know, I’ve tried and failed before. They say abs are built 80% in the kitchen and 20% in the gym. You also can’t out-exercise a bad diet. So how do you maximize your chances of success in the kitchen?
Try prepping meals for the week. It’s an old bodybuilder trick that’s getting more and more popular among Crossfit, weekend athletes and soccer moms. You plan 3 meals a day for each person and do one or two cookups; one on Sunday and one on Wednesday or Thursday. You end up with every meal being ready for you and minimizing the chances of takeout because you don’t feel like cooking. Oh, and you control what you’re eating…portions, macronutrients, calories, whatever!
So how do you start?
You need 3 things.
- One, 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper
- Pen, pencil, marker, chicken blood or other writing instrument.
Grab that sheet of paper and fold it into quadrants (in half lengthwise and across)
Top Left: Find 6 recipes. Write the names and cookbooks/pages or YouTube links. (I’m going to suggest Fit Couple Cooks to start.)
Top Right: That’s your shopping list. Put all the stuff you need to buy there.
Bottom Left: Make a grid: Monday-Sunday, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check off each one you have planned.
Bottom Right: Make notes there. I usually put stuff like “Beef Satay and Chicken Nuggets are in containers. Chipotle chicken and beef salad is ready to go (not in single serving containers) and Buffalo chicken and beef w/sweet potatoes is cut up and ready to cook on Wednesday.)
Congratulations! You have a plan!!!! You’re 50% there!
Now go shopping and get everything you need. Come home, arrange it nicely and throw it up on Instagram!
Then get to work. Cut up all your meat. I grab my scale and measure out 4 portion batches. Then I start any brown rice or quinoa while I start chopping my veggies. It’s wasteful, but I find paper plate and bowls help out here. I try to keep 2 things cooking at once.
2 hours later, I’m putting 8-16 fully cooked meals in single serving bowls or lumped into food containers. A piece of blue painters tape on each tells me what it is, how many calories (since that’s what I’m counting. You can do macros or whatever.) and all that’s left is the cleanup. My meals are ready, portioned and my head is clear for other things.
As of this writing, I have every meal for my wife, kids and I planned for the week. For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we have 4 different lunches and dinners ready. We tend to eat the same things for breakfast, so any pre-prep for that is done for the whole week. I’ll cook the rest on Wednesday or Thursday…give us meals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I leave 3 meals out so we can have flexibility: yes we order pizza or make pancakes for breakfast. Hey, we gotta live and it doesn’t make sense to obsess over this stuff.
If you want to give it a shot, I’ll link to the online recipes I’m using this week, below.
If you have any other recipes or ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments.
Beef Satay (I subbed the beef for chicken and adjusted the calories
Kangaroo (I’m using cow…c’mon now.)