If you want to stick to your macros, you need to make sure you are setting yourself up for success. The way my family and I are able to stick to our macros is through our weekly meal prep. Especially with back-to-school, it’s a great idea to establish a routine so that you have healthy meals ready to go for the week and aren’t tempted to grab something through the drive-thru instead. Even if you don’t prep every meal, having a few meals ready to go for the week will set you up for success.
Here are my ways to be successful and consistent with meal prep each week:
Pick Your Day Ahead Of Time
Meal-Prep Sunday is a holiday widely observed in the fitness community. Why? Prepping on Sundays doesn't interfere with your Friday and Saturday plans, and it's close enough to the start of the week to (hopefully) prevent having funky-smelling food by Thursday.
Meal prep is only going to last if it feels manageable to you. If Sunday doesn't work, split meal prep into two days. This will cut down on the session length and definitely preserve the quality of your food. Sunday and Wednesday are usually a good pair, but find any two days that work best for you. For our family, I find that Monday or Tuesday is the best day for me to meal prep. We are able to get through the work week and then I only have to worry about cooking one or two meals over the weekend.
Know Your Numbers
Don't even think about meal prepping until you know exactly how many meals you need to prep for the week and what is included in those meals.
Determine the number of meals and number of days you will be preparing at one time. Some people find that preparing only their lunch for each day of the week is sufficient, because they're able to eat breakfast and dinner at home. Others have more success packing multiple daily meals for the entire week—or even all of their meals. I like to prep lunch and dinner ahead of time. Sometimes we also prep breakfast ahead of time, but those mid-day meals are really the ones that can throw us off if we are not prepared. Regardless of where you fall on the meal-prepping spectrum, choose a spot that sets you up for success and plan accordingly.
Mix and Match the Basics
When you're prepping, focus on choosing easy-to-cook, bulk-packaged foods that store well. Try not to choose meals that are complicated to prepare or that don’t store well over several days. My recommendation is to mix and match from these categories and go to town:
-Protein: Chicken breast, lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, flank steak, lean lunch meat (turkey breast, ham, or roast beef), and low-fat beef jerky
-Carbohydrates: Oats, quinoa, couscous, brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain tortillas, and bread
-Healthy fats: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, and coconut oil
Invest In A Cooler Or Insulated Meal Bag
If you're prepping just one meal a day, you may be able to just throw it in your work bag then in the office fridge. If you're the two- or three-a-day type, a cooler, insulated meal bag, or backpack of some kind is essential. Their controlled temperature can also help protect you from foodborne illness.
This extra purchase may sound like a luxury, but it has the potential to save you tons of daily frustration. They range in price from $60 to $70, but when you think about how much you will be using those bags, it will be well worth the investment. If you're going to be doing this consistently—which is the only way to do it—then cutting out unnecessary hassles is essential! Make it easy, make it yours, and make it last.
I promise by implementing these strategies you will have an effective and efficient meal prep! If you’d like some more help with meal prep, grab a copy of my beginner’s guide to meal prep and learn from start to finish. I’ve also included a few of my favorite easy to prep recipes.