Say Yes to Meal Prep: First Steps in Meal Planning

Categories Fitness, Food

Meal planning sounds super boring, but if you have fitness/weight goals it’s almost impossible to avoid. I’m sure there are people that can just wing it, but I am not one of them. As it’s said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” With this in mind, I would like to give you some steps to help you get started planning your meals based on your personal goals. Your goals will be individual to you so I will not be discussing that topic, but I have included the following resources for guidance:

If It Fits Your Macros Calculator
My Fitness Pal

1: Invest in a Scale

Why measure your food with a multitude measuring cups when you can simply use weight? We have always had a scale in our house, so it was a no brainer to incorporate it into my meal planning. It doesn’t need to be super fancy either. There are some super high tech scales on the market, but they still do the same job as a regular kitchen scale so don’t let price be an obstacle. For around $20 you can buy an Escali scale, which has served us well on the same pair of batteries for years.

Our Escali scale that has lasted years!

Primo Digital Kitchen Scale 11Lb/5Kg, Chrome color

Once you have a scale, you can measure out portion sizes much quicker since serving sizes on nutrition labels are typically listed with weight included. It’s also super handy when preparing recipes.

2: Track and Hit Your Goals

Using the calculator above, you can get an idea of what your calorie/macro goals should be. Once you have numbers that align with what you want to achieve you can plug those into a tracking app such as My Fitness Pal. None of this is new information, but it is important if you want to get started in putting together a meal plan and succeed. As you go about building your menu for the week, you can keep an eye on the stats of the food you are using and determine if other meals need more nutrients to supplement your day than others. All this leads into my last tip:

My food for the week.

3: Build a Successful Menu

Generally we know what foods provide which nutrients. Meats give us protein, fruits and vegetables give us carbohydrates, and oils provide us with fats. Using this knowledge, try to compose meals that include aspects of all of these groups. I try to make lunch my largest meal so that I can burn off the calories in the rest of the day. Feel free to start with recipes, but as you get familiar you can take control of your menu and mix it up. The trick is to develop  find which meals you keep coming back to, either for ease or deliciousness.

This week my menu looks a little like this:

Breakfast

Lunch

  • 140g sweet potato
  • 48g Birdseye Steamfresh Ranch Flavored Cauliflower
  • 140g Nature’s Promise Garlic Herb Chicken Breast
  • 60g Birdseye Steamfresh Brussel Sprouts

Garlic herb chicken with sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.

Dinner

  • 96g Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 178g Zucchini Noodles
  • 20g Trader Joe’s Pesto

Zucchini noodles with pesto and hot Italian turkey sausage.

Snacks

My menu is not perfect, but it should give you an idea of what I’m working with. I plan to eat this every day this week. If you are worried you will get bored eating like that, make a combination of meals and freeze the ones you will not get to right away. That way they are ready for you in the coming weeks.

Have you been successful at meal planning or are there obstacles you continually find yourself facing?

DISCLOSURE:
THIS POST CONTAINS AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS, IF YOU’D PREFER NOT TO PURCHASE THROUGH ME, PLEASE LOCATE ITEM INDEPENDENTLY ON AMAZON.COM.
I AM NOT A TRAINED NUTRITIONIST OR PERSONAL TRAINER. PLEASE CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL BEFORE STARTING/CHANGING YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE PROGRAM.

21 thoughts on “Say Yes to Meal Prep: First Steps in Meal Planning

  1. I have been thinking about trying out meal prep for some time. Not because I am into fitness but because it will be easier and quicker to find something to eat. Since I am going to uni next scholastic year, I think that prepping meals will be a great idea 🙂

    Sarah | What Sarah Writes

    1. Absolutely! It’s always nice to keep some things in the freezer too! One of my cheats is to keep frozen veg on hand and then microwave them. Then I divide them up among my boxes. One less thing to do!

  2. What a useful post! I think a kitchen scale would be a very useful investment for me, and I don’t quite know why I’m dragging my feet. I’ll have to check out the calculator toolsyou linked, too!

    xoxo
    Emily
    emilyhallock.blogspot.com

  3. Hi, meal prepping in advance is a great way to achieve a weight goal. Or just cut back on the junk food and save timevin the kitchen in the long run. I need to get back to doing this. So thanks for pushing me back in the right direction, Chloe https://pinkiebag.com #TeacupClub

  4. I started going to the gym and lifting a month ago. I’ve been active with my work outs, but my major weakness has been my diet. I’m slowly making changes because I don’t want to do it all at once and snap after a week or two. It’s mildly discouraging to be working so hard and not see weight coming off. I feel my body becoming stronger, but I want to slim down too! I might have to get into meal planning. I have My Fitness Pal on my phone and completely forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder. I’m probably going to have to start using it again to keep me on track.

    Breanna Catharina
    toocuteforlife.com

    1. I’m having a very similar problem. I’ve decided that this week I will continue to measure myself but I’m going to ignore the scale for a bit. Once I get my eating to be consistent I will go back to measuring weight. I think it’s going to be more important to instill healthy habits than it will be to give myself grief once a week.

      I believe you can do it! Just take it one step at a time. Good luck on your journey!

  5. I’ve never managed to start a diet and stick with it exactly because I cannot plan my meals. Perhaps I should try one more time keeping these tips in mind…

    Ioanna | beautyloverstories.com

    1. Start with a small change. Make one large meal and divide it up into servings. Then you can put those other servings in the freezer for when you need something in a pinch. Small changes are always easier to manage without becoming overwhelmed.

    1. I’m have always been very up front about that! I just want to share things that have worked for me incase they help someone else.

  6. Your menu looks great to me! Organized & good variety :)) I don’t meal plan, but maybe will in the future. I like the idea of not having to think about what’s for dinner tonight! Also, lovvve zoodles! lol I love the name too. I don’t have a spiralizer either but I want one. Loved your menu & so glad you tweeted out that you were looking for US bloggers — bc I always am too. Good luck with your meals this week!

    1. Thanks for reading! I don’t know too many US bloggers so I’m always happy to meet more! The zoodles are a game changer. Especially because I have a severe pasta addiction. It’s not really like pasta, but I prefer it over whole wheat or bean versions.

  7. Meal prepping has become a new thing to my lifestyle recently.
    I do my planning on sunday and go on a big shop on monday. So that for the rest of my busy week I do not have to think about what to prepare. It’s on a list i follow, and I try to do as much: ‘cooking ahead’ as I can. Planning and prepping is a key to succes. 🙂

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