Easy Healthy Meal Prep Plan For Weight Loss
A significant contributing factor to burnout is failing to plan and prep healthy meals. But who has time to make healthy meals when you are already running on empty with work, family, and other daily responsibilities? I hear ya! That’s why I am sharing my easy healthy meal prep plan for weight loss that enabled me to lose 6% body fat in about 12 weeks while only cooking twice a week.
It’s very difficult to find the time and energy to cook every night, so I stopped trying! That’s when I got into the best shape of my life and only cooked for my lunches and dinners 2 nights a week! That’s NOT where I am now, of course, but that’s how I am going to get back there!
What about Whole30, Keto, Paleo…..
While searching for a quicker way to lose weight, I have tried Whole30, Paleo, and other temporary diets. I call them “temporary diets” because no normal working person with a family can completely stick to these diets 100% of the time, unless you are ok with not ever enjoying a glass of wine or dessert again. I am definitely NOT ok with that! 🙂
These diets require a lot of effort to read every little ingredient down to the salt you use (regular table salt has dextrose in it, can you believe that?!!). Plus the foods are difficult to find and very expensive.
You end up making most everything including your own mayo and ketchup yourself. Although the diets did have some great short term benefits, they just aren’t sustainable long term for most people. Needless to say, these diets didn’t work for me as a lifestyle change.
The other sticking point is that our teenagers are NOT going to sit down and eat “sweet potato bun burgers” or “cashew cheese queso”. And I sure as heck am not going to spend money on two sets of groceries and make separate meals.
Healthy Meal Prep Plan That Worked….
I have decided on the happy medium of making simple meals that consist of lean meats and fish, a serving of complex carbs, and 2 servings of veggies. I stay away from white breads, white rice, and pasta 90% of the time.
This easy healthy meal prep plan works best for my family because the kids will eat with us, and we can still stick to our fitness goals without feeling overwhelmed with hyper-analyzing the ingredients.
In addition, we can still allow ourselves a cheat meal or two each week. What’s the point of trying to stick to a plan that you can’t maintain? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is just that—A LIFESTYLE. It’s not a temporary fix, unless you want to be right back where you started from in 3 months.
Plan Meals and Shopping List
First you need to plan out your meals from Sunday through Friday. However, we will only be cooking and prepping for 3 days on Sunday, then again on Wednesday. You will be eating 3 meals and 2-3 small snacks every day . You should be eating every 3 -4 hours,, so space out these meals accordingly. Don’t skip any of them!
Below are some examples of clean foods to include in your shopping list
|Chicken Breast||sweet potato||romaine lettuce||olive oil|
|Flank steak||quinoa||asparagus||dry roasted nuts|
|lean ground beef||steel cut oats||zucchini||nut butters|
|greek yogurt*||bananas||green beans||dressings|
*these diary options are high in protein, but also carb, so be sure to include that as part of your carb intake limits. Also, nuts have a little protein, but NOT enough to say that are a protein source, the have more fat than protein.
If you want specific macro-nutrient requirements for yourself, there’s plenty of free or almost free phone apps and calculators you can use to get your requirements. I like Under Amour’s My Fitness Pal. It has a lot of cool features, and integrates with most activity tracking apps to adjust your calorie intake.
After entering my numbers into the app, it tells me that in order for me to lose about 2lbs a week, I need around 1200 calories per day. There’s an old trick that works surprisingly well that one of my former trainers taught me.
A serving of protein is about the size and thickness of your palm, a serving of carbs should fit in your cupped hand, your vegetable serving should fit into your TWO hands cupped together. A serving of good fats is about a tbsp or 1 oz.
Coincidentally, if we officially measure it out, it gives you almost exactly the amounts you should be having for each meal. Cool and easy, huh? Eventually you’ll be able to eyeball the portion sizes without measuring.
After about 3 weeks, if you find you aren’t losing weight with this method, adjust your carbs down a bit from what you were eating before. In addition, eat a little more vegetables. Try it out for a week or two and see what happens.
Ok, now for the Easy Healthy Meal Prep Plan For Weight Loss details….
I am going to keep my work week menu really simple, and very clean, yet still have a little variety. However, trying to make a different elaborate meal for each day is exhausting and not sustainable long term.
Shop For the Week
First, do all of your food shopping for the week. I used to DESPISE shopping, but these days, it’s sooo much easier! You just hop online, buy exactly what you need, pay, and submit! You can either pick up at the store or have it delivered! Consequently, you also the temptation of picking up things you you don’t need! Love it!!!
Here’s another tip to maximize your time: throw something in the crockpot Sunday morning so that you don’t have to worry about making dinner. You’ll be doing enough cooking today without adding that to the mix!
Additionally, make sure you also have plenty of different sized food containers and a large cooler to pack your meals in. Also measure out your portions!
Prep Meals and Snacks
I usually begin prepping my meals around 3pm, so that I can have time to relax in the evening before bed.
First, if I’m prepping lunches and dinners for just for my fiancé and myself, I’ll grill and/or bake 6 chicken breasts (different seasonings) and 6 pieces of steak or fish (or any combination you choose). Use different seasonings on each piece to give yourself a little variety.
While the meats are cooking, boil some water for about 5-6 cups of brown rice or other whole grain (quinoa, couscous, etc.). In a separate pan or a microwave-safe bowl, steam about 6 cups of veggies.
If you’ve already fired up the grill, place some asparagus or vegetable kabobs on the grill with the meat. You can even use the time to chop veggies for a nice large salad. Make sure you set timers so you don’t forget and overcook something!
Portion and Pack
If you have some time in between cooking, prep your snacks. I usually fill 6 containers each with a serving of cottage cheese or greek yogurt and a few grapes or cantaloupe chunks for one snack. My afternoon snacks could be just a protein bar or protein shake and a piece of fruit with nut butter.
Since there’s no cooking involved with these, you may choose to just prep them each night if you want. I prefer to just get it ALL portioned out on the prep nights.
Once everything is done cooking, pack each 4-6 oz piece of protein in it’s own container, each serving of carb in a separate container, and each serving of veggies in it’s own container.
This allows me to just pull one of each container out of the fridge, stuff them in my cooler and go. Same for dinner, we just grab one of each container, heat them up, and dinner’s DONE! It’s not fancy, but it’s quick and healthy.
Now it’s Wednesday. Know what that means? Time to do our healthy meal prepping again. But today will be easy, because we are just doing the exact same thing we did on Sunday. Again, we will be making enough food to get us by on lunches, dinners and snacks until Friday afternoon.
During the weekend, you’ll hopefully have more time to cook more elaborate healthy meals, and you won’t have to prep as much. Feel free to go out for one or two cheat meals, just try not to undo your progress.
Most importantly, don’t give up or beat yourself up if you don’t follow your plan perfectly. Just commit to getting better each week. Any new routine takes practice to become habit. Do your best, but don’t make excuses!
I hope this Easy Healthy Meal Prep Plan For Weight Loss helps take some of the guess work out of the planning and prepping required to eat healthier.
Stay focused and take care!!