How To Prepare A Week’s Worth Of Nutritious Meals In Under 60 Minutes And On A Tight Budget. The 4 Step System To Master Your Meal Prep…
What’s the one thing you dread most about dieting? Some of you might have said hunger, cravings, or something related to restriction. But I bet a lot of you also said meal prep. Because let’s face facts… Meal prep is boring as fuck!
There’s not getting away from it. Mustering the energy to slave away in the kitchen for hours on the weekend doesn’t fill you with excitement. No matter how many likes you get on your Meal Prep Sunday Insta post, it never makes up for the ball ache you just endured, right?
But does it have to be this horrendous chore?
A marathon cooking extravaganza taking over your precious weekend?
In my opinion… No. No it does not.
You see, I’ve developed a method of meal prep that means I can make an entire week’s worth of food in under 60 minutes.
And that includes the washing up.
What’s more, if you need to, you can adapt my system to suit even the tightest of budgets.
Read on if you want the secrets...
Can you really meal prep for a week in less than an an hour and spend less than £15?
You sure can... Don’t believe me? How about this? The meal prep I did last weekend cost less than £13.
That’s right… £13 for a week’s worth of food.
And it wasn’t a pile of crap either. It was nutritious, packed with protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals and everything you need for a healthy diet… And to make those all important gains, obviously…
So how would you like to learn this system for yourself?
It would be pretty cool, right?
Because that’s what I’m going to do right now.
I’m going to share this meal prep masterclass with you, so you never have to dread Sunday afternoons again.
But don’t worry, you can still post your #mealprepsunday pic to Instagram. Your food will still look amazing…
That is if you can be bothered to line up your broccoli and make everything look neat.
I can tell you right now, I don’t have the patience for that, which is why my meal prep pictures look like vomit with a sweet potato side order.
But hey, it tastes damn good and I didn’t have to spend an age preparing it.
I’ll take that option all day long.
So let’s leap head first into my foolproof meal prep mastery lessons and turn you into a fully fledged Tupperware Jedi.
And the great thing is, it’s only 4 steps, so even the most culinary challenged of you can follow this one.
Step 1 is PLANNING…
“Oh, for fuck’s sake Simon… You always bang on about planning.”
Yes. My little Meal Prep Padawan… The whole process starts with planning. Because let’s face it, if you haven’t planned what you’re going to make, if it fits your calories, what ingredients you need, and all that jazz, your meal prep is going to turn into a right cluster fuck!
Pretty much where you’re at right now, I’m guessing.
And your way of doing things is what’s giving you the frustration and headache, so maybe taking some advice from someone who knows what they’re doing is EXACTLY what you need.
So grab a pen and paper and start taking notes…
Firstly, you need to plan how much variety you want and need within your meal prep.
Ask yourself the question…
Are you someone who can eat the same thing day in day out for a week and be happy? Or do you need to have something different each day of the week?
And there’s no right or wrong answer here It simply comes down to what you’re like as a person.
But you do need to understand that more variety means more time in the kitchen… It probably also means more expense (although not necessarily).
For me, I don’t mind eating the same thing for days on end. I’d prefer to spend less time in the kitchen and sacrifice a bit of variety?
Now, does that mean you have to be the boring fucker who eats chicken, broccoli, and boiled rice for the rest of eternity?
Not in the slightest. You can still create great tasting dishes and switch them up on a regular basis. It simply means you’re preparing meals in bulk quantities to ease the burden.
So don’t think bulk cooking means boring and bland. You can still enjoy the foods you love, if you plan it right.
However, if you do like constant changes in your food then that’s cool too. Just make sure you’re happy with a little extra time in the kitchen.
Although, the last step in this process my help there too. So be patient…
Step 2 is SET CALORIE PER MEAL TARGETS
“What the fuck does that mean?” I hear you cry…
Fear not… All will be explained.
So you’ve got a calorie target and most likely a protein target too.
You don’t need full on macro targets unless you’re a little more advanced. Because it’s more shit you need to think about that I the grand scheme of things doesn’t really matter.
But that’s for another time…
With your number if hand, you’re sitting there scratching your head as to how you actually fit this into a day of eating.
How the fuck do you turn 2,000 calories into real food?
More often than not, this is where people freeze like a rabbit in the headlights… And not knowing quite where to start, they give up and just think, “Fuck it. I’ll have a couple of donuts.”
But here’s my little secret tip to make things super simple…
For now, let’s take 2,000 calories per day as an example.
Most people’s natural way of eating is breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a few snacks along the way.
So for argument’s sake, I’ll base my example on this.
With this set up you’ve got 4 meals… Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and we’ll call Snacks a meal for now.
Therefore, simple maths would say that’s 500 calories per meal.
With me so far?
So when you’re looking to plan your meals and choose what to eat, just pick things that fit these targets.
Great for making things fit on the fly too
It’s a great tactic to use when you’re out and about too.
If you find yourself in Pret or Marks and Spencer choosing food on the fly, just pick options that fit these broad numbers.
Obviously you can flex these as much or as little as you want to suit you.
For example, you could have a smaller breakfast, say 300 calories.
And fewer snacks, say 300 calories again.
That leaves you with a 700 calorie lunch and a 700 calorie dinner.
It just makes the whole process of figuring out what to eat, sooooooooo much easier!
And you can plan your pre and post workout shakes within there too.
Which neatly brings me on to my next point…
What are your constants?
You need to figuring out what your constants are…
No. Not consonants... I'm not Carol fucking Vorderman... Here’s what I mean.
Everyone thinks they have a lot of variety in their diet. But when you boil it down, it’s actually rarely the case.
Most people eat similar things for breakfast, similar snacks, and pretty much identical things pre and post workout.
If you’re honest, it’s only really lunch and dinner that vary.
And even then you probably only rotate about 6-7 dishes…
It’s not like you’re frikkin’ Gordon Ramsey and creating a culinary masterpiece every day.
So if you have meals and snacks you eat on a consistent basis, plan them in.
Whack them into MyFitnessPal and see how many calories you have left to play with for the meals that do move around a bit.
More than likely you only really need to work out what to have for lunch and dinner… Am I right?
Of course I am… That was never in doubt.
Step 3 is CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEALS
So this step is about finding the recipes and meals that fit the calories you’ve got left.
If you’ve followed the last two steps correctly, you’re on the hunt for some tasty recipe ideas for lunch and dinner.
At this point you’re at a cross roads.
You have 2 options.
Option 1 is to pick complete recipes.
And by that I mean search the internet for some great sounding recipes you can make.
It’s a good option. And certainly something I’ve done in the past.
BBC Good Food is often a favourite place to go because they detail the calories and macros of each recipe.
So if you’re looking for a 500 calorie lunch and a 500 calorie dinner, just scroll through and find a couple of recipes that fit. And hey presto you’re done.
Simply buy the ingredients and get cooking.
If you go down this route, it might be a little more complex from a prepping perspective. These types of recipe often have more ingredients, take more time, and are a little more complex.
But if that’s your bag, then go for it.
Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t shave a lot of time off your current meal prep.
On the other hand, Option 2 tries to simplify things for you.
It’s called Mix n Match… It does take a little more planning, but not a lot. And once you’ve don it once, you don’t need to do it again.
With Mix n Match you big a few different protein options, a few carb options, and a few veggie options.
For example, you could cook some stir fry chicken, turkey mince chilli, and slow cooked ham for your protein options.
You then work out how much you need to of each protein source to hit your protein target for that meal.
Then you make a few carb options… So maybe some pasta with a little pesto sauce, and some sweet potatoes dusted with cinnamon. Whatever you like.
As with the protein, work out how much of each you need to hit your carb target for that meal.
Lastly, cook up some veggies to go with it. That could be some straight forward boiled veg, or stir fry veg, or oven roasted veg. Whatever you like.
With all the ingredients cooked separately, you just need to Mix n Match the protein, carbs, and veggies to hit whatever calorie target you have.
It’s a great way to incorporate some variety without the headache of complex recipes.
And you can keep it even simpler by such having one protein, one carb, and one veggie dish… But that means eating the same thing multiple times over.
Again, you need to decide if you’re that type of person.
Step 4 is THE COOKING METHOD
This step is how we get your meal prep down to less than 60 minutes.
Because the more varied cooking methods you can have, the more you can multi task and get everything done at the same time.
Now I know us men aren’t renowned for our multi tasking skills. But my years of being able to do several things badly at once have served me well.
Here’s an example of how multiple cooking methods can speed up your prep.
In the oven you can roast your potatoes.
On the hob you can boil all of your veg and cook your turkey mince, pan fried salmon, or stir fry chicken (or whatever it is you’re cooking).
Then in a slow cooker you could have a ham joint or even a casserole.
If you have a rice cooker, you could get that on the go as well.
Basically, you can get all that food cooked at the same time. With only the slow cooker taking longer than an hour… But you can leave that on the go while you head to the gym anyway.
So the lesson here is to pick those different cooking methods that allow you to prepare everything at the same time.
Trust me… This saves an immense amount of time.
A Bonus Step: MY LAST PREP
As a little bit of a bonus… I’m going to talk you through my last meal prep, which was 10 meals for £12, all done in under 60 minutes.
It was the exact same dish for all 10 meal, so I wasn’t going for anything fancy here.
Each meal was roughly 450 calories with 40g protein…
Here’s the ingredients…
- 1.5kg 7% Fat Turkey Mince
- 2 x 500g Jars Of Chilli Cooking Sauce
- 1kg Broccoli And Cauliflower Florets
- 1kg Frozen Mixed Veg
- 2kg Sweet Potato
- 1kg White Cabbage
First things first, the sweet potato will take the longest as we’re putting them in the oven… So get them peeled and cut up into big chunks. Dust with cinnamon and whack them in the oven on a high heat.
Next up get two large saucepans and start boiling the veg. They don’t take long, so be careful they don’t into a mushy mess.
While all that’s cooking, dump all the turkey mince into a large frying pan and start to cook the meat.
Once the mince has turned that slightly grey / brown colour add the cabbage (which you shredded while waiting for the mince to cook). Then add the 2 jars of sauce.
Keep stirring the meat until cooked.
Wait until the potatoes are soft on the inside.
And boom, you’re done… 10 meals done and it took barely any time at all.
Plus, while everything was cooking you can make a start on the washing up and preparing for the obligatory Meal Prep Sunday picture.
And We're Done...
So there you have my 4 Step System To Master Your Weekly Meal Prep In Under 60 Minutes.
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I’m off to put my feet up because my meal prep is all done…