Have you ever noticed how the people who have the best physiques tend to share certain traits? For example, they are dedicated to their training. They make sure to capture every training session with a dozen or so selfies and an overuse of hashtags. And they are also meticulous with their meal planning.
You know what I mean?
You see the pictures on their social media of their Tupperware for the week all neatly arranged and labelled. They make sure to snap a pic of every low-carb, low-sugar treat they have for a cheat meal. And they show us what their groceries look like after coming home from the grocery store.
Now as easy as it is to poke fun at these dedicated health nuts, they do get great results. And maybe we can steal a page from their meal prep to reap some of the benefits for ourselves.
Below is a step-by-step process for your weekly meal prep.
Step 1 – Pick Your Protein
Almost all of the clients we work with would benefit from an additional dose of protein. For almost every goal, whether it be the endurance athlete, the individual with a physique goal or the bodybuilder, additional protein may not only help it may be essential to achieving the best results.
When we think of protein we can look at seafood (shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, crab, lobster), fish (salmon, halibut, bass, snapper, tuna), meat (look for grass-fed rather than grain-fed options including beef, pork, wild game) chicken ,turkey, eggs and dairy. Opt for grass-fed rather than grain-fed dairy options. Products here include milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and cheeses. A couple of comments related to yogurt are that Greek yogurt is one of the healthier options and secondly you should avoid the ‘fruit on the bottom’ styles of yogurt.
***Quick aside***There are a number of healthy vegetarian and vegan options as well. If there’s enough interest I can put together another post including these. It is more work but it can be done.***
Now that seem quite a bit of choice and maybe a little bit confusing. Don’t worry if that’s case. We’ll simplify it for you.
Look through the list above and pick out three protein sources. It doesn’t matter what you choose but let’s say you chose:
Step 2 – Pick Two Meals for Every Protein
Now we want to pick two meals for every protein. The first time in the week you prepare a protein you will make double the amount. For example for the pork if we were making 5 BBQ tenderloins for dinner, we’ll make 10.
Let’s say we had a pork tenderloin. We could grill these on the BBQ and then serve with apple sauce, broccoli and wild rice.
Meal two would be to use the left over pork with some mashed potatoes, asparagus & gravy.
With the steak again we’re going to BBQ. Medium rare of course. Not only does this taste better at the time but it ensures the meat doesn’t dry out for the second meal. With the steak we’ll add a spinach salad with pecans, olives, strawberries, tomatoes and feta. We’ll pair this with a baked potato topped with some butter and low-fat sour cream.
Meal two for the steak will be stir fry. Add in as many of your favourite vegetables including broccoli, onion, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers, bok choy, baby corn or whatever you like. As we typically don’t add a starch with this meal it’s a good one to have on days when you don’t train as intensely. If you do train on this day look to add a noodle or rice to refuel glycogen after training.
Lastly, we have some chicken breasts we can grill. One of our favourite is a Mediterranean chicken pasta. This is a whole wheat pasta with artichoke hearts, extra virgin olive olive, Romano tomatoes, feta and olives.
With the left over chicken we’ll cut this into strips and make chicken fajitas with Greek salad. In a whole grain tortilla we’ll add cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheddar, bell peppers and some hot sauce.
Step 3 – Set the Left Overs Aside for Lunch
With each meal you made 5 servings. With our family of an infant, a four year and two adults this leaves at least one left over serving. Lunch for the next day is now ready to go. Make sure to put this in Tupperware as soon as you are plating out your dinner servings. Not only does it save not having to do the following AM it also prevents over-eating at dinnertime as there will be no leftovers.
Step 4 – Choose Your Breakfast
In our household we make a large pot of steel cold oatmeal that lasts the entire week. Each morning I’ll grab some of this and add trail mix, milk and cinnamon. I’ll also make a couple of poached eggs with a couple of buttered pieces of toast.
If you’re not big on oatmeal you could try making a batch of protein pancakes, make some boiled eggs or whip up a protein smoothie.
Step 5 – Plan a Fun Food Day
One day a week do something fun. Make home-made pizzas or burgers. Or go out for a meal. When you’ve planned your week this well you deserve to indulge a little bit and have some fun.
Below is a table of how this all looks.
|Breakfast||Poached eggs, whole grain toast, butter, hot sauce, glass water||Steel cut oatmeal, 1% milk, cinnamon, trail mix, glass water||Protein pancakes, butter, w/ low-sugar syrup or jam, glass 1% milk, glass water||Poached eggs, whole grain toast, butter, hot sauce, glass water||Steel cut oatmeal, 1% milk, cinnamon, trail mix, glass water||Protein pancakes, butter, w/ low-sugar syrup or jam, glass 1% milk, glass water||Family brunch of eggs, hash browns, sausage, fruit, green tea, glass water|
Left- overs from dinner
|Meal||BBQ tenderloin||Steak||Mediterranean chicken pasta||Crock pot pork w/ gravy||Stir fry||chicken fajitas||Homemade pizza|
|Sides||apple sauce broccoli wild rice||spinach salad w/ pecans, olives, strawberries, tomatoes, feta
baked potato w/ low-fat sour cream & butter
|whole wheat pasta with artichoke hearts, extra virgin olive oil, Romano tomatoes, feta and olives||w/ mashed potatoes, asparagus& gravy||broccoli, onion, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers, bok choy, baby corn
may add rice or noodle if on a training day
|w/ Greek salad. In a whole grain tortilla we’ll add cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheddar, bell peppers and some hot sauce||tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, olives, mushroom, pineapple and any veggies you like|
A few extra notes:
- Look to include fish and seafood if you enjoy these
- To control portion size use smaller serving plates
- Try to minimize sampling the preparation of meals
Feel free to modify this plan to suit your tastes and preferences.