One of the keys to successful and long term meal prep is planning. Like most aspects of my life, if I don’t plan things out, things do not happen like they are supposed to then we all end up stressed out. So I have come up with a simple solution on how I plan for meal prep and have FREE printables just for you! I will warn you, doing this does mean you need to set aside about 30 minutes at the beginning of the week (prior to when you will be prepping) for planning. I usually do this on Monday evenings after I’ve put the kids to bed so that I can really sit down and concentrate.
The first step in how I plan for meal prep is printing out the AND Meal Prep Menu. Once you have it printed and ready, go grab a pencil. I say a pencil because if you are prepping to help with reaching your health goals, you will more than likely be changing things around a few times to meet those goals. I will talk a little more about our specific goals next week.
The next step is very important if you are a busy family or individual like we are. Before I start adding any meals to the menu, I pencil in any events that would be happening around any of our meals including dinner which is 50/50 honestly if I prep any of those…it’s a learning process for all of us 🙂
At this point, I sit down in front of my computer with a hot cup of tea, pull up Pinterest or grab one of my new favorite cookbooks. From there I think about my Macro and calorie goals and fill in the blanks on the menu. When I’m writing in the menu, I just write straight across the rows for Breakfast, Snack 1, Lunch, and Snack 2. Then dinners I always fill in last and they are specific to each day so that goes in the box just for that day. I will check with the hubs and Bailey to see if there’s anything they are craving and add those first. Then this is usually when I try to make new recipe and if it all possible add one new food a week to try to increase our palette and add some variety.
Once I’ve got all the meals planned, then I start to write the grocery list and plan the amount. I will pull up the AND Grocery List on my computer and start with just the headers (so basically a blank page). I go through all of the meals/recipes and add EVERY ingredient, and I mean EVERY ingredient. I don’t skip one just because I “think” I have it, because it really sucks when you are quadrupling a recipe only to find that yes, you had tomato sauce but not near enough so you can’t finish cooking that recipe. That’s where adding the exact amount you need on the grocery list plays it’s major role. This is where you need to have figured out your goals for how much you need for each day to break it down into your meals. From here, it’s just math. You take the amount you need for each individual meal to meet your goals (protein, fats, and carbs) and then multiple that times how many days you are prepping for (usually 5 for us). It sounds a little complicated, but I promise it’s not. Then I add all of that plus any cleaning/toiletry items and anything the kids need to the AND Grocery List and print that. Once that’s printed then I scour my kitchen to see if I have some of the ingredients already and if I have enough. If I have just a partial amount then I will note that on the grocery list, so that when I’m shopping I know I can cut some out. This helps to not buy more than you need.
Here’s a picture of ours this week. Remember it doesn’t have to look pretty to be functional 🙂
And you’re done with your plan for meal prep! I’ve take you step by step through my process in this week’s latest video! Make sure to head over and check it out 🙂 Leave any questions or comments you have below and I’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible!
Last but not least, here’s the video to go along with this that gives you some more insight on how I plan for meal prep!