Do you enjoy wasting your time and money?
But that’s exactly what I did when I first attempted to do a weekly meal prep.
This is when I was a sophomore in college and I decided that I was finally going to get serious about the diet aspect of health and fitness.
On a Sunday afternoon I went to Sam’s, which is just a shitty version of Costco, and loaded up on lean chicken breast, frozen veggies, a five pound bag of brown rice, a large skillet, and a bunch of meal prep containers.
When I got home, I quickly got to work preparing my food for a week of clean eating. I cut up all of the chicken and tossed it into the skillet, along with some of the frozen veggies.
I quickly realized that there were going to be several rounds of this, because all of the food couldn’t fit in the skillet at once, despite the fact that it took up over a quarter of the stove.
Fortunately, my roommate Sunny had a rice cooker that allowed me to cook several days worth of rice at once.
Several hours later I’ve got about 15-20 containers filled with chicken, brown rice, and veggies. It looked kinda like this, but not as pretty:
And that was the last time I ever did that.
The meals stored well and they tasted good, but the process of cooking and storing everything is more of a pain in the ass than bodybuilders and Pinterest bloggers would have you believe.
But the good news is I’ve figured out a much easier way to prepare healthy meals for the week that takes very little time and results in meals that taste much better!
And that’s exactly what I’m going to share with you in this article.
How to Meal Prep Meat For the Week
This is the crucial part of meal prep — at least, if you have carnivorous tendencies like I do. A lot of people complain about their meat not tasting very good after sitting in the fridge for a few days, especially chicken.
That’s because they don’t know how to meal prep chicken the right way.
You’ll see a lot of bodybuilders take the approach I did (where do you think I got the idea from?) where they cook their meat in a large skillet or you’ll see them running a chicken breast marathon on their George Foreman grill.
Fortunately there are two ways that are easier and make for tastier food:
- The crock-pot
- The grill
Using a crock-pot is the easiest way, but you can’t beat the flavor you get from grilling.
Step #1 — Select Your Meat
Great meat choices for batch cooking include:
- Chicken breast
- Chicken thighs*
- Steak (your choice of cut)
- Brisket (best in the crock-pot)
*Boobies get all the love, but personally I’m more of an ass-man. So naturally, I prefer thighs over breasts. Not because I have some weird fetish with matching sexual preferences and food, it’s just a coincidence that thighs taste better and they don’t dry out in the fridge like breasts do.
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention fish. There are a couple of reasons. The first is that these methods aren’t ideal for fish. If you’re cooking a lot of fish, it’s best to do it in the oven. The second is that I don’t eat a lot of fish, because I prefer not to eat fish unless I’m near the ocean where I can get it fresh. Fish farms are disgusting.
Step #2 — Select Your Seasoning
People have this misconception that healthy foods taste bad, but that’s because they have no idea what to do whenever their food doesn’t come from a box and isn’t pre-seasoned.
Every kitchen should have the following seasonings, minimum:
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Onion powder
However, I do something different for my meal prep recipes. I like to buy these seasoning packets like the ones you see below:
I’ve tried most of them and they’ve all been good, except for the tomato basil one — that flavor doesn’t store well in the fridge.
Step #3 — Choose How You Want to Cook
If you don’t have a grill that makes the decision easy for you.
Do yourself a favor and drop the twenty bucks on a crock-pot. It’s one of the best investments you’ll make all year, I guarantee it.
You don’t need one of the newer models with all the advanced features. I’ve been using these bad boys all of my life and I can tell you that the only features you need are the low and high settings.
To cook the meat, I just throw all of it in there with the seasonings. I don’t add any water, the meat usually has a lot of water in it and the crock-pot builds up a lot of steam. By the time it’s done cooking, it’s been soaking in seasoned broth and getting nice and tender. That’s why meat cooked in the crock-pot stores the best. It takes a lot longer to dry out.
I thought I had a picture, but I’ll take one next week and add it..
Cooking meat in the crock-pot is so easy, you really can’t screw it up. Either cook it on high for four to six hours or cook it on low for six to eight hours. It’s that simple.
The other best option is grilling. This what I prefer, because I love the flavor you get from grilling. Also, I enjoy grilling and it doesn’t take very long.
How to Meal Prep Veggies For the Week
If you don’t eat veggies, you’re missing out on a lot of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
But you already know that. Everyone knows veggies are good for us. People don’t eat veggies, because they don’t like the flavor as much as other things.
Well, that’s going to change when you see how easy it is to cook tasty veggies.
Step #1 — Pick Your Veggies
Try to have a variety of colors going on with your vegetable selection. The variety creates a better flavor and you also get a wider range of health benefits.
The veggies I usually cook together are:
- Bell peppers (green, yellow, orange, and/or red)
- Red onion
You can buy them frozen if you want. I prefer to get them fresh and take the five minutes to chop them all up. Fresh veggies taste better, but it’s up to you.
Step #2 — Add Seasoning (optional)
Most of the time I like to add some seasoning, but not always. I usually add Siracha and Mrs. Dash original blend.
Do that and you’ll learn to love veggies, because it tastes incredible with those veggies I listed.
Step#3 — Choose How You Want to Cook
There are three easy ways to do this:
- Toss them in the crock-pot with your meat (skip the seasoning if you do this)
- Cook them on a big skillet
- Cook them on the grill (the best taste)
The crock-pot route is the easiest, but I prefer the grill.
I put them in a grill basket:
How to Meal Prep Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the best carbohydrate sources you can eat. I’ve never been a big fan, until I started using this recipe:
Or you can take the lazy way and use the crock-pot. This works for any kind of potato. You just clean them and wrap them in foil, then place them in the crock-pot on low for six to eight hours.
Cooking Rice the Easy Way
If you’re looking to cook a lot of rice at once, you should invest in a rice cooker. They’re so much easier than cooking rice on the stove.
You don’t need anything fancy, a simple one like this will do the job just fine.
Or if you want the quickest and easiest way to cook rice — try these rice cups pictured above. You just stick them in the microwave for one minute and they’re cooked perfectly. They actually taste good too.
How to Store Your Weekly Meal Prep
You can do the small containers if you want, but that gets old. I just toss the meat in one big container and the veggies in another. (Then the potatoes in their own as well, whenever I make them.)
Here are the containers I use:
Those are Pyrex glass containers. I think they cost about $5 at Walmart and they’ve held up for a couple of years now.
Heating Up Each Meal
Since I work from home I don’t have to worry about packing smaller containers, so you might take a different approach.
I just toss the veggies and meat into the skillet and it takes less than five minutes on medium-high for it to be ready. I’ll cook the rice separately and toss it in there as well.
If I’m really in a hurry I’ll use the microwave, but I prefer not to.
Some people do meal prep for weight loss and others do meal prep for bodybuilding purposes — personally I do it for the convenience of having quick, healthy meals on hand throughout the week.
I typically work 10 to 12 hours a day Monday through Saturday, so it’s important for me to have lots of meals on hand or I just end up skipping meals altogether.
These meals might look boring, but they taste good and they make me feel great. However, there are many more options for meal prepping. Don’t feel like you’re only limited to what I’ve mentioned here.
Apparently there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to meal prepping. I would suggest anyone that’s considering adding this to their lifestyle to go there and look for recipes that appeal to you if you want something different.
Until Next Time,
Fitness Dieting Made Easy
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