Ever feel like if you just had more time you’d be absolutely crushing your fitness & nutrition game? I get it...eating healthy can take effort and be very time consuming. In this article I’ll go into detail on how you can set yourself up for success. We’ll talk about planning for the week ahead and how to prep healthy meals for the week to save you time overall.
The first step to prep healthy meals for the week is to plan your meals out. What are you eating every single day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks you’re having. Seriously, plan it all out. Write it down!
Know that you don’t have to stick to this plan 100%, flexibility is key, but having a rough guideline will help you prep for the week ahead. If it’s written down you’re more likely to stay the course.
How to know what to eat this week? Start on Instagram or Pinterest! Save any recipe you come across that you might like to a special folder so every week you have an easy place to go to for inspo. Also, don’t be afraid to keep it simple. Shoot for a protein, vegetable & carb at every meal. This can literally look like:
Chicken breast with a side of potatoes & asparagus
A big salad with salmon & brown rice
Eggs with peppers & toast
Tofu with stir fry veggies & jasmine rice
Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate it to the point you won’t end up cooking it. A few basic seasonings will go a long way! Remember that it is OK to eat the same things on a regular basis. You do not need to reinvent the wheel every week. If you like something remember that and add it to your regular meal rotation. The more go to meals you have the easier this weekly meal planning becomes.
Once you’ve got your meals selected & scheduled it’s time to really get prepping.
Pre-log your meals
If you’re not calorie counting you can skip this part. If you ARE calorie counting I want you to pre-log all your meals into your favorite tracking app. Yes all of them, every day for the whole week, snacks included.
This takes away ALL of the guesswork and uncertainty. Not only do you know what you’re eating this week you also know exactly how much AND that you will hit your calorie target every single day.
If you pre-log your meals and you’re over or under your calories for a day you now know you need to add or subtract or change something about that day. And you know that in ADVANCE instead of panicking in the moment.
Again will the week go perfectly as planned? No. You might be extra hungry one day and need an extra snack after dinner or you might have to swap a few things out. That’s alright! But having this original template to go off of takes a LOT of the work away from you during the week and can alleviate a lot of the stress. It really sets you up for success. No more scrambling because you accidentally ate over half your calories for the day before 10am! You already know with certainty the day is planned to fall within your calorie target.
Alright, you’ve got your meals planned, you’ve got them logged, now it’s time to SHOP.
Start by creating a shopping list(we love a good Type A moment here can you tell??) The list includes all the food & ingredients you need for the week. Having a set list can help you avoid random snack grabs or buying unnecessary things at the store. I use the notes app on my phone so that it's always with me and there's no chance of forgetting it!
Shortcut alert: there is no shame in making your life a little bit easier. If you just don’t have time to go to the store, let someone do it for you! Order grocery pick up or use a delivery service like Instacart. A lot of stores have waived curbside pick up fees right now so for the same price as your normal groceries you save 30 minutes - an hour of your time not having to shop.
If there are extra fees it might still be worth the splurge. If this will be the difference between you buying groceries and being prepared for the week and you eating out the whole week, spend the money to have someone shop for you! You’ll likely save money having the groceries on hand as opposed to eating out.
Ok we’ve got our food, now the fun part starts! First I want you to pick a day of the week you have an hour or 2 to prep. A lot of people like Sunday’s because it’s the start of the week but if a mid week prep works better for you, that’s fine too!
Now what to prep? The level of prep you do is up to you and what you know would make your life for the rest of the week easier. At minimum I recommend preparing a protein to have on hand for the week(chicken you’re adding to salads, salmon you’re eating in the next few days, etc).
I also recommend cutting up vegetables & fruit for the week. If they’re already washed, cut & stored you’re much more likely to eat them during the week.
If you want to take it a step further you can prep entire meals for the week. Whether it is breakfast sandwiches, a crockpot meal for dinners, all your lunches for the week, whatever works for you. The level of prep you choose is dependent on your individual needs for the week.
The end goal
Once you’re all prepped and prepared for the week it’s time to stick to the plan as best as possible. You’ve got a fridge full of groceries and spent the TIME to set yourself up for success. Now it’s time for future you to follow through. Prepping and preparing healthy meals for the week can greatly help with consistency and adherence.
If you’ve got questions, let me know. I’m here to help and I promise you got this.