Meal Prep 101 by Trainer Sarah
1. Establish a Budget – When prepping for the week, decide on a monetary number that fits your financial resources and stay within those parameters consistently. This will provide the framework for your meal planning and help guide you towards healthy choices when you know you can’t splurge every week.
2. Recipes – Pinterest and Instagram are a few of the best resources when looking for meal inspiration. Create a board on Pinterest or a category on Instagram, and as you see foods in your feed that excite your palate, pin or save, and begin planning!
3. Make a List – Meal prep can become monotonous in the long run, unless you vary it with spices (i.e. turmeric, coriander, oregano, salt, cayenne), and aromatics (i.e. scallions, onions, garlic). To help keep the boring at bay, make a list of all the foods you love – include those that you don’t know how to cook – then, go through your list and pick a few for the upcoming week.
4. Shop for Groceries – This one is simple, write down the food items and quantities required for your recipes, and purchase said ingredients. Be sure to pick up plenty of frozen fruit (i.e. berries, pineapple, mango, bananas), and any fresh fruit (i.e. apples, kiwi, bananas), frozen veggies (i.e. corn, peas, sweet potatoes, riced cauliflower), fresh veggies (i.e. snow peas, snap peas, brussels sprouts, baby carrots, lettuce, arugula, cucumbers, red or Yukon potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower) enough meat to eat at least once a day (i.e. chicken breasts, lean beef cutlets, pork tenderloin, ground bison, salmon or tilapia, shrimp, natural/nitrate free deli meat, natural/nitrate free bacon), if you can tolerate it, dairy, (i.e. whole milk plain yogurt with no added sugar, hard cheeses, whole organic milk, grass-fed butter, half-n-half, free-range organic eggs), grains (i.e. white and brown rice, quinoa, farro, rolled or steel-cut oats, whole wheat unbleached organic flour, kamut flour, buckwheat flour), other miscellaneous items (i.e. balsamic vinaigrette for salads, olive or avocado oil for roasting veggies, grade B maple syrup and raw, local honey, spices, aromatics, organic nut butters, dry-roasted nuts, unsweetened, dried fruit, organic tomato sauce, parchment paper, glass prep Tupperware), and a treat (i.e. a pint of Halo Top, a 85% bittersweet chocolate bar, whole-grain pancake mix, or some other item that can be enjoyed on the weekend after a week of prepped food).
5. Prep Steps – Either order your groceries online via Amazon Prime Pantry, Grove Collaborative, Wal-Mart Grocery, or if you have time, go in person to your local stores and farmer’s markets [Here are local markets: https://www.farmersmarketofwyomissing.com/ , https://fairgroundsfarmersmarket.com/ , http://farmersmarket.antietamvalley.org/). Once you drive home with your groceries, pop out your prep dishes and begin chopping those veggies (i.e. slice cucumbers, dice carrots, mince garlic and onion, chop broccoli and cauliflower) set your fruit in a cool place (hint – don’t place bananas near avocados – the gasses emitted from the bananas ripen the avocados before you can say “guacamole”!), and get cooking!
6. Learn to Track Correctly – Lastly, while cups and teaspoons are effective in most baking recipes, when tracking macros (fat, carbs, protein) the best results and most accurate form of measurement is with a digital food scale. They are cost effective ($11-$25), easy to purchase (Amazon, Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath, and Beyond), and necessary. MyFitnessPal is my favorite tracking app – purchase the premium version and you can actually set your daily macronutrient goals!