Meal prep is a fantastic way to keep on track with your eating throughout the entire week.
The idea is to plan out all of your meals on the weekend, most often on Sunday, then do the shopping and the prep at one time for the entire week. This day is labor intensive, but then your food is ready-to-eat for the next 6 full days.
Here’s my 5 Step Meal Prep Guide to make your next food prep week really simple:
Step One: Planning
Get out your notebook and pen or pull up a blank note page on your iPad, it’s time to start planning for the week. Here are the questions that you’ll need to answer:
1. How many meals do I need each day?
- Check your calendar for special events
- Consider your appetite throughout the day
- Look at each day separately
2. How many servings do I need for each meal?
- Consider who in the family needs which meals
- Check the calendar for guests or visitors
- Look at each day separately
Step Two: Recipes
Now it’s time to translate those meals + servings into actual recipes. Take a moment to consider the produce that is in season and any special requests or food allergies.
1. Find your recipes
- Browse around on your favorite recipe site
- Pull out your favorite cookbooks
- Find your family favorite recipes
2. Focus on a core group of ingredients
- Plan recipes that use similar ingredients
3. Calculate leftover meals
- Making enough of some recipes for leftover meals saves time
4. Make your list
- Narrow down to the exact list of recipes
Step Three: Grocery List
Take your list of recipes and create a grocery list. A few things to keep in mind…
1. Pay attention to recipes that you’ll double or triple
- Make sure to include all ingredients in your list
2. Organize your list into these convenient sections:
- Organic Produce
- Pantry Items
3. Check your pantry for items that you already have
- Save money by avoiding double purchases
Step Four: Shopping
It’s time to head to the grocery store! Take your list and, if you’re lucky, a helper down to your local market and go through each section item by item.
Step Five: Food Prep
You have options when it comes to the actual prep of each of your meals. Many you’ll be able to fully make right away and pack in the fridge. Other recipes you’ll want to simply do the chopping, measuring and organizing in order to make the meal hot and quick before you plan to eat it.
Which recipes should you fully cook in advance? The truth is that this is really up to you and your schedule. Here’s a good game plan if you don’t want to fully cook everything on Sunday:
- Fully make the baked goods for the week.
- Chop all vegetables.
- Gather all seasonings.
- Fully cook Monday’s dinner.
Getting into the habit of prepping your meals for the week is a surefire way to accelerate your fat loss results. It’s my goal to help people, just like you, conquer their fear of exercise and clear up their confusion with healthy eating. I know that a healthy life is within your reach – I’ve seen hundreds of my clients before you do it, and I’ll see hundreds after you do it. Today it’s your turn.
Call or email now to get started on an exercise program that will make fat burning second nature, and will transform your body for the best.
Your reason could have to do with weight, size, shape, strength, appearance, health, function or longevity. Or it could be about something completely off the wall. Hey, it’s your reason and there are no wrong answers.
This reason is your motivation. It’s the thought that you need to return to whenever you’re feeling discouraged or want to give up. Remind yourself of it often. Write it down and put it where you will see it everyday. If you just don’t quit then you’re bound to succeed.
Here’s what you need…
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup grated parmesan, plus 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan as optional garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Spray the center of both halves of the squash with cooking spray, and place the cut side up on a cookie sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 50 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven, and let cool. Once it’s safe to handle, scrape the flesh into a large bowl. Add the steamed broccoli florets to the bowl, and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil on medium heat, and whisk in the coconut flour. Add the coconut milk, and whisk quickly. Turn heat down to low, add the cheddar and ½ cup grated Parmesan to the saucepan, and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the spaghetti squash and broccoli mixture, and toss until all the squash is covered.
- Dish into 4 portion, and top off with the salt and pepper to taste plus red pepper flakes and extra Parmesan if you wish!
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 290 calories, 23g fat, 360mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 14g protein
It’s hard to find a dinner more satisfying than a steaming plate of flavorful pasta, but by now you’re well aware of just how fattening that is. Let’s not give up on our favorite pasta dishes…let’s make these dishes lighter, healthier and just as delicious by using noodles made from vegetables, rather than traditional, carb-laden pasta.
If you’re new to cooking with veggie noodles, have no fear! It’s simple and satisfying to create comforting guilt-free pasta dinners, and I’m going to show you how…
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is the easiest of all the veggie noodles to prepare since the noodles are already formed in nature. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and you’ll find a mess of seeds and stings in the center of thick, firm, yellow flesh. The seeds and strings are discarded, and that thick, firm, yellow flesh is cooked until tender and scraped off the skin, into a neat pile of soft spaghetti-like noodles. Pretty cool, right?!
Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Rub the inside of each spaghetti squash half with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.
- Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #2: Zucchini
Zucchini is such a tender squash that it really doesn’t require cooking, and in fact cooking zucchini noodles quickly turns them to mush. I’ve found that pouring hot spaghetti sauce over a pile of zucchini noodles is all that it needs to heat it up without causing it to get mushy. You’ll need a spiral slicer –a little kitchen contraption that spirals zucchini through grating holes to create long, spaghetti-like noodles.
Make Zucchini Noodles:
- Wash the zucchini and remove the green skin with a veggie peeler. Run the peeled zucchini through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.
- Top with warm spaghetti sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #3: Butternut Squash
While zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles are light and soft, noodles made from butternut squash are a bit heartier. Not only does this translate into a more filling meal, it also means that need to be cooked on their own, before applying the spaghetti sauce, in order to achieve a tender consistency.
Now there’s a little bit of technique involved with cutting your butternut squash in the best way to run it through a spiral slicer. I’ve found that the narrow part of the squash, that’s completely solid, is the piece that works really well with a spiral slicer. Slice off the skin and then simply run it through the slicer. The part of the squash that’s hollow in the middle is trickier to use with the spiral slicer, since those pieces are pretty thin. A quick option is to simply chop those pieces thinly and use that along with the long noodle strands.
Make Butternut Squash Noodles:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the narrow part of both squash off and peel off the skin. You should have 2 nice solid pieces of squash (no hollow section). Run this through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.
- Toss the noodles with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.
- Serve immediately with the spaghetti sauce of your choosing. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #4: Asparagus
Talk about truly guilt-free pasta – one made from asparagus spears! Rather than serve this one with traditional spaghetti sauce (although you could) I’ve included a dressing to toss the noodles with and I’d recommend serving it with meatballs for some added protein.
Make Asparagus Noodles:
- Wash one bunch of asparagus spears. Resist the urge to chop off the tough stalks, these are your handles! Cut off the asparagus tips and save. Hold onto the tough stalks and use a vegetable peeler to peel long asparagus noodle strands into a large bowl. Mix in a Tablespoon of fresh dill.
- In a small bowl combine 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey and a dash of sea salt and black pepper.
- Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the asparagus noodles. Sauté for 2 minutes then remove from heat. If you’d like, sauté the asparagus heads by throwing them in the pan after 1 minute. Toss with the dressing.
- Serve the noodles warm and garnish with fresh dill. Enjoy! Eating healthy, low carb meals like these are what it takes to have that lean, sexy body that you want. But don’t forget that a fit body also requires a consistent, challenging exercise program! Call or email me today and get you started on the fitness plan that’s custom designed for you. Let’s do this!
Here’s another guilt-free pasta recipe for you! You won’t need a spiral slicer for this one, simply use a regular veggie peeler – like the kind you would use to peel the skin from a potato – to create long, flat zucchini noodles. This recipe has a scrumptious, nutty flavor that will make you forget all about traditional noodles. Feel free to serve with some sliced chicken breast, sliced hard-boiled eggs or steak for added protein. Enjoy!
Here’s what you need…
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon almond flour
- 4 large zucchinis, peeled with a veggie peeler
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon minced parsley
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about two minutes. Add the coconut oil, and once it’s melted, add the almond flour and a pinch of salt.
- Stir often with a wooden spoon, until it’s toasty brown, about two minutes. Remove crumbs from the pan and save for garnish.
- In the same skillet, add the peeled zucchini noodles. Sauté them until just tender, about one to two minutes. Turn heat to low.
- In a new pan on low heat, combine olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring with a spoon until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
- Transfer the zucchini noodles to garlic and oil mixture. Toss and stir until they’re coated.
- Turn off the heat and add parsley, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle with almond flour crumbs before serving. Enjoy!
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 165 calories, 12g fat, 72mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 6g protein