One of the biggest challenges people have when it comes to fitness is sticking to their diet. There just isn’t enough time in the day to sit down and have three balanced meals. More of than not, we find ourselves breaking our diet and opting for a quicker but probably unhealthier option.

The not-so-secret secret is planning ahead. Preparing and planning meals at the beginning of the week instead of on a day-to-day basis helps free up time and ensures that you’ll stay on track with your nutrition. When it comes to meal prep, keep it simple. There are tons of websites with healthy meal options but its best to pick a few proteins, your favorite vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (good carbs).

So what are the steps to prepping a perfect meal plan? The first thing you want to do is find out what your calorie and macronutrient intake should be. There are several calculators and tools you can access online to determine this. Once you know your optimum caloric intake you can then break that down into how many ounces or cups per meal. You’ll also want to get a small electronic scale, measuring cups, and stackable Tupperware to portion out your food. When it comes down to it, meal plans are all about proper portions.

Once you have your tools, it’s time to plan! Like I said earlier you want to select a few proteins, veggies, and good carbs for the week. Check out the list below. I cook my breakfast every morning so I usually only plan to cook three meals for the week, one of those meals have a carb and a snack which is usually a protein shake.

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Photo taken by Nick Harris/Flickr

PROTEINS

Chicken, Ground Turkey – 93% lean, Ground Beef – 85% lean or higher, Fish – Salmon, Cod, Halibut, Tuna, Steak, Eggs

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 Photo taken by Jennifer/Flickr

GOOD CARBS

Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Rolled Oats, Rice Cakes, Whole Wheat Pasta

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Photos taken by Sonny Abesamis/Flickr

VEGETABLES

Greens – Kale and Collards, Broccoli, Spinach, Carrots, Squash, Zucchini, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Romaine Lettuce

MEAL PREP

Of course, there are a lot of more options than the above. These are just a few to get you started.  As I said before you want to keep it simple. Choose a few proteins, vegetables, and a carb and you’re ready to start your meal prep.

Now that you’ve made your selections and done your food shopping it’s time to start cooking. First things you want to do is wash, peel, and chop your vegetables, and season your meats. Add things like lemon, rosemary, garlic, onion, thyme, parsley, balsamic vinegar to your meats and vegetables for full and satisfying flavor. Just because you’re on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meals.

To make your food prep faster I would suggest cooking multiple items at a time. Usually I will have fish and sweet potatoes in the oven with steamed veggies, pan grilled chicken and ground beef on the range. Once everything is cooked you can start portioning out your food in containers. This is when you will need the scale and measuring cups to portion out your meals into your tupperware containers. Now you can grab your food and go or enjoy at home!

Featured photo taken by Tracy Benjamin/Flickr

About The Author

Personal Chef

Timora Page has had a passion for cooking from an early age. Born and raised in Dallas, she lovingly instills southern charm and regal flair to every dish. Ms. Page’s desire to offer her client’s healthy and organic fare only strengthened after experiencing a short period of homelessness where subsisting off of less than desirable food was the norm. After culinary training, she was hired by renowned chef Sharon Van Meter, and worked closely under executive chef Mynetta Cockerel for 2 years. She then took her southern fare to Colorado where she became employed in a homeless shelter. Because of her work at the shelter, she developed a passion for ensuring every client gets the best service and tastiest meals she has to offer. Timora is currently a personal chef and caterer, and specializes in healthy, organic foods and recipes. Ever seeking to improve her skills and expand her repertoire, Ms. Page is an excellent baker, who can skillfully prepare a variety of decadent desserts and cakes. She aspires to become Denver’s premier chef as she continues her studies in the culinary arts and nutrition.