Does anyone else feel like meal prepping is a bit outdated? Meal prepping is a term you commonly hear in the health and fitness world, but I would like to share my twist to it. It’s a twist that I find to be quicker to complete and more enjoyable to eat throughout the week. Hello, LG Protein Meal Prep!
THE STANDARD MEAL PREP
The traditional meal prep style starts with an insanely large grocery shopping trip to stock up on everything you’ll need for the week. Then, you spend hours in the kitchen cooking all sorts of meals. Your counters are filled with 30 different containers. After half your day is spent whipping up meals, you put them into these containers to store in the refrigerator and eat throughout the week.
Okay, so that’s a bit dramatic but that’s how I feel when it comes to a standard meal prep. For me, it’s very overwhelming. I feel like I have to come up with every last detail for my weekly meals. I spend far too long in the kitchen when I’d rather be doing something else. Then, by the third day in, I’m sick of the meals I’ve made and far too much ends up going to waste.
I don’t want to knock this style meal prep too much because truthfully, some people don’t mind it and they’re very efficient. When I had less going on (I’m thinking back to summer vacation during my college years), I actually liked doing this type of meal prep. If it’s working for you, stick to it. If you need a quicker option at times, you’ll love my protein prep!
MY SIMPLE, MODERN DAY MEAL PREP… LG PROTEIN PREP
The Protein Prep is my updated twist on meal prepping. Below, I’ll share the 3 benefits as to why I choose it over a traditional meal prep as well as the step-by-step instruction on how I complete the protein prep.
In short, I realized that when I didn’t meal prep, the most time consuming part of cooking my meals was cooking the protein – meat, eggs, fish, etc. The other sides quickly come together, so I thought to myself, “why not just focus on cooking the protein ahead of time.” Do you find that too?!
For the protein prep, we will cook all our protein options ahead of time. Then, throughout the week, we will add in sides to form a complete, balanced meal (remember, a “balanced” meal is one of my 3 tweaks for how I saw results through food alone… you can refer to that post here)
PROTEIN PREP BENEFITS:
Quicker: cooking just the protein ahead of time cuts the length of the meal prep in half if not more! I can easily prep my protein for the week in under an hour
More Flexibility: perhaps, my favorite benefit is that with the protein prep, each meal becomes more flexible. My beef with a traditional meal prep is that I get sick of the same meals quickly and because of that, they’re not satisfying. You know that feeling of being full but still being hungry because it just didn’t hit the spot. With the protein prep, I feel so much more satisfied because I can make the meals different!
Family Included: when I was just cooking for myself, a traditional meal prep worked well. I quickly learned that being a good wife was not just cooking for myself, heating my meal and asking my husband, “what are you eating for dinner?” Haha! This protein prep allows for the family to be included in the pre-prepared meals too.
PROTEIN PREP STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
1. PLAN THE MEAL IDEAS
Before you begin, it’s helpful to have an idea of the types of meal you’d like to make throughout the week. They don’t have to be details but just get a general sense. I’ll open the LG Meal Plan cookbook and peruse it like it’s a menu. I do this because I seem to draw a blank every time I need to think of meals… does that happen to anyone else?! Then, I’ll pick 3-5 meals depending on how much of a prep I need that week.
For example, I’ll say I’m prepping ground turkey or ground beef for tacos. I’ll prep chicken to be used as is or shredded in some of the panini recipes and I’ll cook some chicken to repurpose
2. GROCERY SHOP FOR NECESSARY ITEMS
It’s important to shop for both the protein options you’ll need and any additional meal add ons. So, if I’m cooking tacos, I’ll be sure I have tortillas, necessary seasoning, maybe some bell peppers to add in and shredded cheese (because… I’m from Wisconsin and cheese goes on everything lol). Do you see what I mean about the add ons? I’ll also pick up some lettuce, pico de Gallo and avocado for this meal because I could repurposed the cooked ground meat as a taco salad. Don’t worry about “prepping” any of the side add ons but just be sure you’re stocked on things you may want to use to make a complete meal.
3. COOK THAT PROTEIN
Here’s the easy part… cook the protein you’ve purchased. In the winter, I find the oven to be so helpful. I’ll dice up chicken and cook it 3 ways by using 3 different seasoning styles and dividing them with tin foil on a baking sheet. In the summer, I take advantage of the grill. I can easily throw on burger patties, chicken breast and I’ll even do tin foil fish packets on there too!
I also almost always include hard boiled eggs and yogurt into my protein prep. For the eggs, I obviously just hard boil them and yogurt is as easy as purchase and put in the refrigerator.
4. PREPARE ANY ADD ON SIDES
Most of the add ons that I’ll use in that week’s meals, I’ll prepare right before. For example, I may throw chicken breasts on the grill and use a pesto sauce on top. I’ll store that in the refrigerator and when I’m feeling that type of meal, I’ll pull out the chicken and cook a fresh batch of rice and quickly saute some vegetable to add on the side. Those two items take me about 10 minutes to prepare, which is such a quick meal!
It is helpful to prepare add ons that can make the hands on prep time even quicker. For example, you can wash and cut up fruits and vegetables. You can put nuts into individual containers or baggies to quickly grab and add to a lunchbox or throw in your purse. A little time during the prep saves you a lot of time later in the week.
5. MAKE MEALS AS YOU GO
Once you’ve cooked your protein, store it in the refrigerator. Let your taste buds guide your meals. When dinner time comes around, you may be craving a Chipotle style burrito bowl. Chop up some of the chicken you’ve prepared and add in rice, beans, lettuce, avocado, pico de gallo and anything else you’d like.
If you need to pack a lunch for work the following day, you have all sorts of protein and sides to creatively construct a complete meal for yourself. If you husband or kids want to eat too, you have all sorts of options you can make for them.
PROTEIN PREP FOR THE WIN
By now, you can see how easy the protein prep is and how much more enjoyable it can be to eat healthy meals throughout the week. One of the greatest challenges with a standard meal prep is that it seems overwhelming, so give my protein prep a try and see how it works out for you during a week! I hope you love it just as much as I do!
FOODIE WEEK GIVEAWAY
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To enter today’s giveaway….
Comment your favorite nail polish color and tag a friend on THIS Instagram post. Winner will be announced on Friday!
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