Guest post: Meal prep anyone?

Hi everyone! *waves*

My name is Tyra, and I’m here to talk about meal prepping! It’s something that I’ve done now for a few months regularly and it has changed my life by saving me time, money and keeping me on track with my nutrition goals.

Every Sunday, (or sometimes Monday, depending on how our weekend went) I spend 1-3 hours preparing all of our lunches and often the main parts of our dinner for the week. Each prepared meal lasts the work week in the fridge.

When I’m done with my meal prep for the week, I take a picture of it all laid out and post to my Instagram and Facebook accounts. This has created a buzz amongst my friends, which is fun but really what I love to see are the questions, and then people doing it themselves and posting their own pictures as well. People don’t believe me at first when I tell them how easy it really is, but once they do it themselves, they see the truth!

Here are a few examples of what my weeks look like:

  June 15 2014 June 8 2014

050414 meal prep 030914 mealprep

Here are the main items / ingredients I use for food prepping:

1. Containers

  • I use Glad Ware containers but you can use whatever you have.  I have regular sized containers and half cup containers for smaller items.

2. Food Scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons

3. Protein

  • Ground turkey (I get 99% or 93%)
  • Chicken breast or chicken breast tenderloin (I just get the frozen bags)
  • Cod, tilapia or salmon
  • Adelle’s Chicken Sausages
  • Egg Whites

4. Pasta (for race weeks!)

5. Veggies

  • Canned tomatoes (or fresh)
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli

 6. Complex Carb

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Sweet potatoes (or red potatoes)

7. Seasoning

  • Mrs. Dash Seasoning and Taco Seasoning (low sodium if possible) or make own taco seasoning, sea salt
  • Pico de Gallo (either make or buy it) and/or jar salsa or Franks Hot Sauce, Sriracha, etc.)

 8. Misc

  • EVOO, Coconut Oil and cooking spray

Now that you’ve got all of your ingredients, here’s what I do, in the order I do it:

Grab your containers and place them out on a table so you can easily place ingredients into the containers.

1. Rice/Quinoa: Grab a rice cooker. Measure out the quinoa/rice and water. (1 part dry and 2 parts water) Get that cooking in the rice cooker. (You can mix them or make them separately, or prepare one or the other – it’s up to you!)

2. Sweet Potatoes: Wash and boil till they’re soft. I have also sliced like coins and baked so they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Or, if you want to start these in the morning and walk away, wrap them in foil and cook on high for a few hours (or low if you’ll be leaving for the day).

3. Protein:

  • Ground turkey: prepare like taco meat on the stove. Play around with the seasoning.
  • Steak: I use my George Foreman Grill or our BBQ.  I pretty much sear each side leaving the middle very pink as it will cook more when you reheat.
  • Adelle’s sausages:  Easiest of them all! Place it in the container out of the fridge, or cut up first to make things really easy at lunch time.
  • Fish: I bake in the oven.
  • Chicken: bake on a cookie sheet in the oven according to package directions.
  • Egg Whites (for breakfast) I use a mini loaf pan. It makes 8 mini loaves.  Spray the pan with cooking spray, add 6 T egg whites (I use the carton egg whites) and some chopped spinach, or whatever veggies you like in an omelet, and bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes. They take 30 seconds to reheat in the microwave in the morning!

4. Pasta: (If you are doing pasta for the week) Boil as you normally would.

5. Veggies:

  • Green beans: open can and drain.
  • Asparagus: steam for a minute. You want these to be really crisp because they will cook more when you reheat.
  • Broccoli: same as asparagus. Undercook, as it will cook more when you reheat.

6. Black Beans: Open can, drain and rinse

7. Pasta: Boil as normally would.

Measure and weigh each item out and place into your containers with tight lids.

With regards to how much to put in, I start with 1 serving of each item but you can adjust by adding the amount you need for your nutrition goals. If you need more protein and less carbs, go heavier on the chicken or turkey and less on the quinoa and rice. It’s up to you. 🙂

Here’s an example of the nutrition on one of the meals I make:

  • 3-4 oz of meat.  (100 – 150 calories, 0 carb, 1 fat, 24 protein, 125 sodium)
  • 100 grams sweet potato (100 calories, 21 carb, 0 fat, 2 protein, 36 sodium)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa/rice mixture (150 calories, 22 carb, 0 fat, 3 protein, 5 sodium)
  • 1/2 cup green beans or several spears of asparagus (25 calories, 4 carb, 0 fat, 2 protein, 13 sodium)
  • Seasoning:  (sea salt or Mrs. Dash’s, or Frank’s hot sauce, Sriracha or Pico de Gallo)

Per serving: (approximate)

  • Calories: 375
  • Carbs: 49
  • Fat: 2
  • Protein: 31
  • Sodium: 480

Play around with the measurements for your nutrition goals!

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The meals that keep “fresh” the longest are the ground turkey meals.
  • The chicken meals last well too, even better if you were to prepare the chicken in the crock pot and add a little juice to the meals
  • Beef – while I really enjoy this one, I’ve learned to prepare on the “rare” side, as when you re-heat, it will cook more.
  • Fish – When I prepare this, I try to use this in the first few days.  I am sure it will last longer, no air gets into your containers but I don’t like to take chances!
  • Don’t be afraid of seasoning! You can make ground turkey for the entire week and it will taste different every meal if you add pico, or add Mrs. Dash’s or whatever sauce / seasoning sounds good to you!

So there you have it. It still might look a little daunting but I encourage you to try it for a month to see that it really is easier than it looks.  And when you do, please reach out to me and show me yours! I love new ideas!

Happy Meal Prepping!

You can keep up with Tyra’s weekly meal prep via her Instagram page and see more past posts on her WordPress Blog as well.

11 thoughts on “Guest post: Meal prep anyone?

  1. This is ….. like inspiring to just look at! MUST DO THIS. I try really hard to meal prep on sundays and usually only make lunches for my hubby and I and get all my veggies chopped up for snacks. Asparagus!

    I always struggle with dinners throughout the week so I guess I should try to concentrate on getting those more prepped out too! Love all the variety of meals you have here!

  2. Thank you! 🙂 I feel lost without my weekly meal preps now that I’ve been doing it consistently for a few months. For dinners, we do wing it a little bit but I try to make some type of protein in “bulk” for the week and keep it in a container in the fridge also. For instance, I baked a bunch of chicken this week and we had flat bread pizzas for dinner last night, tonight will probably be lettuce wraps, tomorrow, chicken tacos. That way the “hardest” part of the meal is done, and it’s just pulling it together otherwise. Good luck!

  3. You rock, Tyra! I really need to try this – I’m thinking I might start with lunches because that is a difficult meal for us, we never know exactly what to do. I’m up for cooking dinner but LUNCH? It’s an odd one. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, please do try it! Lunches is a great way to start and I think it’s where we all can tend to spend the most money if we eat out instead of packing our own. So glad this was helpful!

  4. This is really great. I would love to attempt this when I’m back at home. I’m wondering if it takes up a lot of room in the fridge? I guess with all those containers, it stacks really conveniently!

    • It can definitely take up a lot of room in the fridge. 🙂 On the other hand, it does help keep a more organized fridge because you don’t really have much choice. haha!

  5. Thank you so much for guesting for us, T! I am constantly inspired by your weekly meal prep posts!

You’ve heard my thoughts! Would love to hear yours here.