Hey, guys! We are talking all about meal prepping today. Prepping is probably one of the main questions I get asked when it comes to my lifestyle and fitness routine. I have been truly into fitness and this lifestyle for about 5 years and I learn something new nearly everyday. I am forever grateful for the people that have entered into my life that have taught me so much valuable information. It would be silly to hold it close when I can help others.
I go to work everyday with my prepped meals, and lightly prep on the weekends. My co-workers know me as the “girl who always has food” or “oh, you’re eating again??” or the lovely “what do you carry in that thing?!” directed at my 6 Pack Meal bag. HA! I have literally heard it all! But once I explain why I do what I do, the questions just keep on coming. I love helping people and I am always willing to help those that are eager to transform their lifestyle.
I have gathered the most common questions I have received over the past few years and since I have started Vida Noel. Enjoy!
Like I said above, I have been actively meal prepping for about 5 years. There are multiple avenues and ways that I have meal prepped and I will gladly explain each one. If your’e anything like me, you LOVE TO EAT. I mean, a little too much. Growing up, my family always had food stocked and I am very grateful for that. We never went hungry and multiple options were always available. My parents always cooked great meals and our fridge was always stacked with leftovers. My mom has a huge sweet-tooth which she has passed down to me and it is a PROBLEM. I have pretty good will-power, usually, but I am all about “treat yo’ self”. Can I get an AMENNN! I would choose sweet over savory any day. Just ask the hubby, I cannot be trusted grocery shopping alone! The funny thing is, Noelia totally got the sweet-tooth gene, too. She’s my eating buddy!
One thing I am naturally good at is intuitively eating. Intuitively eating is when you eye-ball most of your meals (no food scale, no tracking). Just by knowing foods, I am good at knowing how much proteins, fats and carbs I’m getting. I have a pretty good “off switch” and know when I feel satisfied (unless its sweets!). Not everyone is like this, though, which is why meal prepping is essential to anyone’s fitness/wellness success.
Meal prepping helps a lot of people with their “off-switch”. Prepping helps during the work-week to fight that urge to eat out everyday! Plus you’re not wasting money on food that ends up sitting in the bottom of your stomach until late at night. Prepping is definitely a lifestyle and can be done in so many ways. My biggest piece of advice is to STICK WITH IT. Allot X amount of time in a day to meal prepping and it will become like second nature!
My hoodie and leggings are actually from last year, so the exact styles are not linked.
How many times a day should I be eating? How many meals should I be taking to work if I work a 9-5?
I eat 6 meals a day, which is what I always recommend. I am not talking huge huge meals, but small meals that keep your metabolism going. Remember what I said in my Carb Me Up post that our bodies are like a furnace? If we are not constantly fueling it, how do we expect it to work? Fueling your body with small meals all day keeps your metabolism going and helps deter your mind from wanting to eat bad.
Here’s when I eat:
9 or 10pm
I train at night so my evening meals always vary depending on when I train.
If you are working 8 hour days, you should be taking 3 meals to work (I take my 930, 1230, and 3pm meals with me). OR If you train immediately after work, just eating twice is fine. It is better to train on a more empty stomach that a full one. Why? Your body is not using its energy to digest food, rather its using it to burn glycogen. Just be sure the last meal you ate was a good carb meal. Some may down a protein shake a little bit before they train and that is okay, too.
When do you prep your meals? Do you prep for the whole week?
I either prep my meals for the next day as soon as I get home with Noelia (she loves to watch) or when she is in bed after I workout. I have made prepping easy to where it does not take me long (will get to that later in post). I do not prep all my meals for the week. I have found that I am less likely to eat meals that have been sitting in the fridge all week. The food just loses its freshness (especially if it is all clean foods) and I am very picky about smells. If it smells funny, I will not eat it. Especially chicken, I cannot eat older chicken.
When I did my first fitness competition, I would prep most of my meals for the week and I would have to force feed them towards the end. It was horrible! So when I did my third prep last year, I prepped all my meals for each day the night before. It was SO much better.
So, how do you keep your meals fresh for the week?
My hubby and I used to cook in bulk every Sunday. We would cook all of our chicken/meat for the week, all of our veggies, all of our rice or pasta, and any extras. Although it is nice to get all your cooking in, in one day, I DO NOT recommend it if you’re someone who likes eating fresh every time. So what is the trick? Brody will now cook our chicken/meat in bulk and only leave about 3 days worth for both of us in the fridge. He will then let the meat cool and put it all in Ziploc bags and will freeze it. Once we run out of chicken, we just take out the meat from the freezer and let it thaw and there is our meat for the rest of the week! It has changed the game in keeping it fresh and it is so simple and kind of a “well-duh, why haven’t we thought of this before!”
I recommend the same with fish, unless you know you will be eating all of it in the next two-three days, freeze the rest.
Veggies: We buy bulk bags of broccoli and we used to thaw it before adding to meals, but after a few days it tends to smell. So what we do now is add the veggies frozen into the meal. The only con is that there is a little water at the bottom the next day but after I warm up the meal I always drain it out. The veggies taste so much better this way in my opinion!
How do I know what amounts to prep?
I recommend prepping a balance of proteins, fats and carbs that are lined up with your fitness/wellness goals. Like I mentioned in my Carb Me Up post, finding your maintenance calories needs to happen first before you add or take away from your current intake.
Right now, my goal is simply to maintain my physique. I am not planning to do another fitness show for quite some time, so adding food in at this point just is not in my mindset. A lot of people use their “off-seasons” to add food in and grow but I’m like ehhh whatever at this point. A show is just not in my close future. An example prepped meal for myself is around 20g protein, 5-8g fat, 40-50g carbs. I workout in the evening so I put the bulk of my carb intake for the day around the mid/end of the day. My first meal of the day is always Keto (protein and fat).
Do you always just prep the typical “Chicken and Rice”?
Yes/No. Since I am not in a prep currently, I do a more “if it fits your macros approach” or IIFYM. This is when you can practically prep any food that fits into your calorie/macro intake for that meal. I definitely do not venture far off of clean eating (there are no donuts, pizza, fries, etc) but foods that are easier for me to prep during the week so that I can devote more time to my daughter. I am all about making life easy. If you stress out about something, find a way to make it easier! Instead of weighing out 145g of rice every meal, eat a bagel instead, or instead of weighing out 3oz of chicken do a greek yogurt instead. Make sense?
What are some examples of meals/food that you prep?
I still do the typical “chicken and rice” meal at least 3 times a week. Below I have broken down examples of what I prep in each macro category:
protein bars (I try not to do these too often as I would rather eat a meal than a meal bar)
Laughing Cow cheese wedge
Rice (white, jasmine, garden vegetable, spanish–whatever I am feeling)
Jimmy Dean Breakfast sandwiches (these are great because you’re getting high protein and moderate carbs with low fat)
From what you see above, meal prepping does not have to be boring. Eating good, wholesome foods is fun and you should WANT to eat it. Learning about foods and what is in them is essential to your wellness success and it definitely helps when it comes to meal prepping and making meals fun.
What tools do you use to prep?
Always, always, ALWAYS use a food scale. Especially if you are just starting out. Most people would be surprised how much they undercut their carbs. Get one that is easy to switch back and forth from ounces to grams. Using the MyFitnessPal Food Track App is also something I use nearly everyday and is a great way to learn about foods and their macronutrient content. You can plug in virtually anything and it will tell you what is in it for every amount.
6 Pack Bags and Isolator Fitness are known as “competitors” so it is funny how we use them both. Brody actually has a Isolator Fitness backpack/cooler bag he takes to work everyday. We love both brands! You can find his backpack here.
My baby! AKA my 6 Pack Bag. It is actually my Hubby’s. Mine actually got too worn a few years ago and I have yet to replace it (they can cost a pretty penny but so worth it!). This goes to work with me everyday.
Meal prepping takes time and patience. It isn’t fun at first and is honestly annoying. You have to make it a part of your day! Once you learn about foods and get a general idea of how you eat and your goals, it gets way easier I PROMISE. Success does not come easy. You cannot outwork a bad diet, and you certainly cannot outwork a bad metabolism. Fuel your body, love your body, and love YOURSELF by prepping for success. Please comment below if there are any additional questions I can answer. I hope this post was informative and helpful to many, and that each person can take something from it!
Are you an avid pinner?! It would mean the world to me if you could pin this image!