the average cost for buying lunch in nyc is $15. after a 5-day work week, that’s $75 a week. let’s use the same figure for estimating the cost of dinner, so lunch and dinner combined rounds up to $150 a week/$600 a month! that’s cray- and dumb.
it doesn’t matter where you live, hands down, it’s cheaper to buy your food and cook your own meals. you are not paying the server, dishwasher, cost of product goods, or electricity bill when you buy and make your own meals- you are when you purchase food from restaurants.
let’s pause for a moment- think about anything generic that’s worthwhile in your life that you may want or desire- is it ‘worth’ the time and energy? of course it is! the same applies to being healthy and fit. if these are goals of yours, you need to invest some of your time to achieve them, and i don’t mean only hitting the gym- you need to make your own meals.
why/what is mealprepping?
mealprepping sets you up for success. a boss bish doesn’t have time to cook every night during the week- so what’s the solution? spend one day where you can invest 2-3 hours in the kitchen, making large portions so that it can be divvy upped and consumed throughout the week.
of course, as you get creative and good at this concept, you can certainly crank out some easy meals in no time. here is the simple formula that works for me.
*contain a veggie or mixed veggies
*contain a protein, 3-4 oz.
* depending on fitness goals, contain whole grain or starch
calculating your calories/macros:
now you don’t wan’t to eat 2 steaks for lunch, right? well, i do, but i shouldn’t. i have the fitness goal of staying lean while gaining muscle, so i can’t just eat any portion size i want- and this applies to all. so, how do we know the portions and calories to use for each serving of protein, carbohydrates, and (good) fat we may be eating? counting your macros. macros, short for macronutrients, makes up the caloric content of everything we eat.
i like to use katy hern’s macro calculator, so click on the link below to get yours! here is mine, which serves as a guide when helping me create my portions:
after macros are calculated, now what?
i recommend a free app such as myfitnesspal to estimate your calorie content and servings/grams of each size of your meals. it’ll help you stay on track. for instance, if i want to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice for lunch, i would quickly look up the macros to see if the grams in this serving are within the guidelines of my daily macronutrient calculation.
since i am allotted 119 grams of carbs a day, and this serving yields 34 grams, i’m within my target! now, this process may seem like a lot, but you’re only doing a quick cross-check when it’s time to serve up and portion out your meals in your containers. i package 5 containers of meals at a time, cover with plastic wrap, THEN cover the lid to keep extra fresh.
meal prepping process
- look at your calendar and plan a day to food shop + actually cook your meals
- look up recipes you’d like to use (i’m visual, and love getting inspired by instagram mealprepping/healthy cooking accounts)
- draft your shopping list
- go food shopping
- lay out 5 (or more depending on how much you’re cooking) containers on the counter
- look up servings that fit within your macros and use measuring cups to portion out food
- fill your containers
- plastic wrap containers once cooled
- cover containers with lid and store in fridge- label each one by day of the week if necessary- whatever keeps you organized!
mealprepping pro-tip, veggies:
i usually buy frozen veggies that can be quickly microwaved (steamfresh all the way). slow roasting mixed veggies with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper come out delicious, and they can all be tossed on a sheet pan, thrown in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and made all at ounce (reference pic above). you shouldn’t be punished eating your veggies, so i promise you’ll enjoy them this way.
mealprepping pro-tip, protein:
i find it simple to make a batch of ground turkey or chicken, with sauteed garlic/onion + taco seasoning packets. you can find the seasoning packets in the mexican food aisle in your grocery store, or local target.
sometimes i buy 3-4 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast. slice in cubes, and toss in a ziplock bag to marinate with italian salad dressing. after several hours, simply sautee the chicken in a pan with fresh garlic and tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
so remember, taking 2 or 3 hours in the kitchen to make your meals ahead of time, is literally 1% of your entire week! when you think about it that way, everyone ‘has time’ to cook- you just need to make it a priority if you want to stay healthy.
leave me a comment to tell me how you mealprep, or ask any question if i haven’t covered it here.
you got dis, fit bish!