3 Easy Steps to Meal Prepping on Your Own
Three Easy Steps to Meal Prepping on Your Own
By: Morgan Vitti, Roundabout Meal Prep Assistant Director
I want to preface this by telling you that meal prep can be challenging, but my intentions are to help take some stress out of the process. Before I jump into the three steps, I want to provide some quick background information. The beginning steps of meal prep include deciding on what calorie count and macros you want to follow. Since not all of us have degrees in nutrition, a macro is short for macronutrient. Macronutrients include fat, protein, and carbohydrates. These three nutrients provide us with energy in the form of calories. Protein and carbohydrates provide us with 4 calories per 1 gram, and fat provides 9 calories per 1 gram. This is important to know because determining macros and calorie counts involves these calculations. Okay now that you are a macro expert, let’s get into the three easy steps to make meal prepping on your own stress free.
Step 1: Determining Macros and Calories
This step can be challenging therefore Roundabout Meal Prep’s Registered Dietitian is going to write a post specifically about finding the macros and calorie count that works best for you and your goals. But for now, I want to introduce you to the concept and some tricks to make it easier. Take my word that Excel will become your new best friend when it comes to meal prepping. On a blank excel spreadsheet enter all of your meals, the ingredients that make up the meals, and the portioning of each ingredient. If you haven’t been given exact portions for your meals then you can always make an educated guess and then input everything into myfitnesspal and adjust the portions accordingly until you get to your desired macros. This is something that you will become a pro at over time, I promise.
Step 2: Getting Ready for Grocery Shopping
After all of the portions for your meals have been entered in Excel I like to pull up a notes page on my phone and type out the ingredients that I will need for each meal. This is your grocery list. Next to each ingredient I will calculate out how much of that ingredient I will need to purchase at the store in order to have enough for the meals I am going to make for the week. For example, if I needed 4 ounces of liquid egg whites in my breakfast and I was going to make food for 7 days then I would need AT LEAST 28 ounces of egg whites at the store. I emphasize the words “at least” because you always lose some food weight when you cook it. So, in this case let’s say you need 35 ounces of egg whites just to be safe. Write 35 oz next to egg whites on your grocery list. You will repeat this with all the other food items on your grocery list. I want to make a note though that buying ounces of raw meat is different from the ounces of cooked meat you will portion for your meals. There are many easy charts to follow on google so don’t feel intimidated! Now that your grocery list includes the ingredients and amounts you need, you are ready to hit the grocery store!
Step 3: Cooking and Portioning Your Food
This part can take hours if you don’t have the right cooking equipment, containers for your food, or space to do everything. Don’t let this part scare your wallet because you don’t need expensive equipment. In fact, some large pots and pans and some plastic Tupperware from Walmart should do the trick. When it’s time to start cooking I always pre-heat my oven first and get rice cooking since those are things that can cook without much of your attention. After this, if you have the right cooking equipment then you’ll be able to cook many items in bulk at one time thus shortening the amount of time you spend cooking. After things are cooked find space to lay out all of your food containers and start portioning out all of your ingredients based off of your excel spread sheet you made in step one. Close your containers, label them if you please, and put them in the refrigerator.
Congrats, you just mastered the art of meal prep and now you can enjoy healthy, cooked meals for the rest of the week, stress free! You can do your happy dance now (: