Meal Prep Ideas

What's Up All,

So I'm kind of a big dude--definitely built but also have a somewhat noticeable gut that I can't really get rid of. I attribute part of this to the fact that I eat out for lunch and dinner every day, and am not making the healthiest choices.

So, I have decided to be less thick in the new year. While I already exercise a fair amount (already trying to increase that), I wanted to start doing meal preps to cover 3 or 4 of the weeks' lunches. This brings me to my question: do you guys have any recommendations for larger, HEALTHY, prepped meals that I can just chip away at over a few days? I don't have time to make food every day, so this is my best bet.

Really hoping some of you can provide some insight on this since I know a bunch of you guys really value fitness and well being. Also worth adding, I just realized that I'm asking this to WSO before asking any real people in my life, so there's that haha.

Thanks

Comments (63)

Dec 19, 2018
Nightman Cometh:

What Up All,

So I'm kind of a big dude--

like John Coffee?

https://cdn1.thr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/landscape_928x523/2012/09/michael_clarke_duncan_green_mile_a_l.jpg

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Dec 19, 2018

It's like lookin in the mirror

    • 4
Dec 19, 2018
Nightman Cometh:

It's like lookin in the mirror

lol

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

hahahah

Dec 19, 2018
Nightman Cometh:

What Up All,

So I'm kind of a big dude--definitely built but also have a somewhat noticeable gut that I can't really get rid of. I attribute part of this to the fact that I eat out for lunch and dinner every day, and am not making the healthiest choices.

So, I have decided to be less thicc in the new year. While I already exercise a fair amount (already trying to increase that), I wanted to start doing meal preps to cover 3 or 4 of the weeks lunches. This brings me to my question: do you guys have any recommendations for larger, HEALTHY, prepped meals that I can just chip away at over a few days? I don't have time to make food every day, so this is my best bet.

Really hoping some of you can provide some insight on this since I know a bunch of you guys really value fitness and well being. Also worth adding, I just realized that I'm asking this to wso before asking any real people in my life, so theres that haha.

Thanks

Just start throwing food into a 32oz thermos. Make it soup, chowder, oatmeal and fruit, smoothies, anything. Easy to carry, keeps the temperature.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 3
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Funniest
Dec 19, 2018

Concur this is a similar diet I put my girlfriend on.

  • Only consume soup, salads and smoothies
  • Hot yoga once-twice every day
  • Weigh-ins every Saturday and cannot exceed 102 lbs
  • Request permission before you do any weight workouts
  • Eventually exit S&T and work as hot yoga instructor

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

    • 13
Dec 19, 2018

No exercises from the waist up for my gf whatsoever
informational video:

thots and prayers

    • 3
Dec 20, 2018

||||||||||||

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

Lmao gonna be hard for me to get below 102

Dec 20, 2018

Depends how healthy you want to be. You can easily make a tray of baked chicken(breaded or not) with lemon and roasted vegetables. Simply get 1 breast of chicken per day and put on a baking tray. Use aluminum foil. Then take cut up carrots, potatoes, squash, etc and fill in the spaces around the chicken which should be distributed evenly in the tray. salt and pepper the chicken, and place 1 slice of lemon on top of each piece. Salt the vegetables to you liking. You can even use some olive oil to drizzle on the veggies, and a spring or two or thyme and rosemary would add a nice touch. Cook for around 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees, maybe longer depending on your oven.

Dec 20, 2018

Haha so something like this is the one thing I've already done a bit. Just a quick but healthy chicken dish following a recipe my mom taught me. Definitely plan to get this kind of thing in the rotation

Dec 20, 2018

I used to cook this one time for the entire week - eat one bowl for one meal about 3-4 times per day - just microwave the already cooked version.

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

That looks really good. Def will give it a try--thanks

Dec 20, 2018

Tofu? What are you a chick?

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

Turkey + Tofu. There is enough meat and vegetables already. I like to add tofu cuz it makes the food more mushy, and Mapo Tofu is a traditional chinese dish, and there is already-made tofu sauce that you can add directly.

Dec 20, 2018

The crockpot is your friend. You can make almost whatever you want in there and it will be delicious. By nature the juicy slow cooked meals stay good for a while and reheat really well. I'd choose whatever you like to eat (any beef, chicken, pork, chili, soup, etc...) and look for a crockpot recipes. There are a TON online and a ton of healthy ones. You will be overwhelmed by the amount of recipes. I really like chicken in the crockpot because it's healthy and the crockpot keeps it nice and juicy.

The other option is grilling. I used to grill chicken breasts and dice them up and reheat. It's ok, but they can dry out and they get bad after 3-4 days.

One MAJOR tip on crockpots is to buy crockpot liners. I know I sound like Martha Stewart, but cleaning the crockpot is a bitch and the $.75 liner is a life saver.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

    • 3
Dec 20, 2018

Crockpot is also amazing because you basically wake up, throw a bunch of shit in there, go to work, come home, and it's done. It's a really convenient way of making enough food for a week or two that doesn't require spending hours prepping 10 individual chicken breasts, grilling said chicken breasts on your sorry ass George Foreman electric grill, and coming out of the whole experience with gross ass chicken breasts.

Other advice: Get giant tubs of protein powder and substitute a protein shake for half of what you'd normally eat for lunch. This helps with the gut. Also, look into getting an instant pot if you'd rather not leave the crockpot going all day. You can do the same stuff in an instant pot but it takes 1 hour instead of 10.

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

Check out Instant Pot - use pressure so faster cooking time than a traditional crockpot

Dec 20, 2018

Pulled pork/turkey in a crockpot. Make it on Sunday and good to go for the week.

The real thing you need to do is start counting calories though.

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018
LeveragedTiger:

The real thing you need to do is start counting calories though.

Definitely.

I counted calories at the gas station yesterday. My goal sometimes is to seek out the highest calorie things I can find. Had over 2000 cal there, maybe around 2200. I seek out some specific things that have treated me well in my caloric needs.

So usually first I pick:

a) Ice Cream
- Yesterday picked the M&M Chocolate Ice cream sandwich - delicious. Although not too many calories (240 cal)

b) Egg Nog
- 800 cal for 16 ounces ... yeahhhhhh buddy

c) Crunchy things
- 1 pack of toastchee crackers (220cal), Large bag of pretzels, (~600 cal total for crunchy things - could be more, I didn't check the pretzel calories actually - but they took a while to eat).

d) Milk (380 cal)
- Whole, to cut the Egg Nog a little

e) Chocolate bar
- Hersheys with Almonds (the 380 cal bar, not the small one) ... gotta get those calories, son!

mmmmm

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/718kziqILvL._SL1500_.jpg

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

If you look up @themealprepmanual on instagram, the guy who runs the account sells 3 giant cookbooks (~150pgs each) that sell for $10 a piece. They're really helpful if you're serious about prepping because they have a ton of good recipes and tell you the exact macro content of each recipe.

Dec 20, 2018

Will check this out. Thanks

Dec 20, 2018

Not related to meal prep, but I keep Topo Chico and almonds around to snack on whenever I get hungry. This makes me feel full fast.

Dec 20, 2018

Simple meal prep advice for beginners. Think about the 3 macros:

Carbs (4 calories per gram)
Fats (9 calories per gram)
Protein (4 calories per gram)

Basically, include these in every meal. To make it real simple, buy the steamable microwave bags for rice/vegetables that you can heat up. Then decide on a protein source. Do about a cup of rice, cup of vegetables, and about 4oz-8oz of protein. From there you can change it depending on taste, or diet needs.

To get a little more advanced you can start to calculate the calories of what you're eating and adjust as needed. To do that, start by figuring out how much you eat now, and if you want to lose weight, eat less than that.

Pro tip: try to drink a lot of water. Helps curb the hunger, and also helps your body.

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

I usually take boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut it into halves, marinate with your choice of marinade, put them onto a baking sheet and place in the oven at 390 degrees (with the fan on) for 15-18 minutes. I can usually get away with eating this chicken for 3-4 days, cleanup is minimal, and the process itself isn't very involved. In addition, I would suggest investing in a rice cooker if you don't have one. You can cook up a large quantity of rice, steamed veggies, and other good stuff while you sleep or run errands.

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

If you're looking for convenience, do this every Sunday:

-Boil enough brown rice for the week...1/2 cup (dry) for each day
-Put 5 chicken breasts on the grill or in the oven, depending on what you have
-Boil enough broccoli for the week
-Split everything up into 5 tupperwear containers
-Avoid Sauces

Done deal...

    • 2
Dec 20, 2018

Pick a protein a vegetable and a grain. dump whatever seasoning you see fit on them and put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 400. Make a fruit smoothie 4-5 times a week. Keep it simple

Dec 20, 2018

I do this every Sunday, and takes <30min of prep. Crock pots and baking chicken breasts are cool and all, but I'm lazy and not a good cook so I use rotisserie chickens and microwavable rice bags

Option 1: Chicken, rice and veggie bowls - buy 1-2 rotisserie chickens, $1 bags of minute-microwavable rice, frozen vegetables and some sort of light sauce / dressing (italian, bbq, honey mustard, etc.)

Option 2: Sub the chicken in Option 1 for lean ground turkey or ground beef

Option 3: Turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, sprouts, etc.

Mornings - microwavable oatmeal packs and a protein shake

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

My go-to meal prep - 2 cans of black beans, 1 lb of 93/7 ground turkey, 1 lb of 99/1 ground turkey, veggies

Season the meat. Cook the beans in a pot on a stovetop, slightly above medium heat until they're about half done. Add the ground meat. Add spinach, carrots, bell peppers, any other veggies you like. Onions, garlic and jalapenos are good for adding flavor. You'll know it's done when the beans start splitting.

Split into 5 portions, eat over a cup of cooked rice each time. Reward yourself for the 6th meal and eat out, just don't go overboard and keep it somewhat healthy. Nutritional breakdown per meal if cooked without oil:

600~ calories
56g protein
75g carbs
10g fat
18g fiber --> this is important because it'll keep you full
Tons of amino acids and vitamins if you use the right veggies and black beans

Whenever I catch myself getting out of shape I'll eat this for lunch & dinner for a couple of weeks, I personally find it easier and faster to eat than grilled chicken & rice. Cycle different sauces to keep it from getting repetitive. Hope it helps, good luck

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

Fuck, that sounds really good and appreciate the macro breakout. Gonna give this a shot when bulking season comes to an end.

Dec 20, 2018

If you want to buy prepared meals, I think the best bang for your buck is https://excelev8.com/meals/. Its run by Stan Efferding, who is responsible for feeding strongmen Brian Shaw and Thor from GoT. The meals are pretty straight forward (Beef, Chicken, Salmon + Rice/Potatoes & Veggies). Not many other meal prep companies offer close to 1000 calories for $10-12.

If you like the meals and want to start prepping yourself, they are also easy to duplicate.

Dec 20, 2018

For meal prep I use these folks and the food is really good.

https://www.cleaneatz.com/

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Dec 20, 2018

the weight isnt coming off because of your lack of disciple and mentality. Google David goggins and listen to some of this dudes podcasts and workout/diet routines. Highly motivating

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Dec 20, 2018

I do recommend listening to some of his podcasts.... but come on man, the dude obviously knows he needs to increase his discipline*** hence why he is looking to improve his eating and meal prep in the first place

You sound like my old wrestling coach who used to say, "Shit. you just gotta be fucking tough." While its true, it doesn't give anything actionable for people to work on.

Dec 20, 2018
DeceptionPt:

I do recommend listening to some of his podcasts.... but come on man, the dude obviously knows he needs to increase his discipline*** hence why he is looking to improve his eating and meal prep in the first place

You sound like my old wrestling coach who used to say, "Shit. you just gotta be fucking tough." While its true, it doesn't give anything actionable for people to work on.

You're right, but @Marti Kahn is also right. Most people with their diet "know" the correct way to do it, or have enough knowledge, they just choose not to. Mainly because whats presented in the moment offers short term satisfaction as opposed to the longer term.

Think about, does anyone you know really not know how lose weight or save money? Yet look around, most people are overweight and broke. More of a lead a horse to water type deal.

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Dec 20, 2018

Something like a steak salad would work well for this too. Get a cut like flank or skirt, add whatever leafy green you want (arugula, spinach, etc.), other random vegetables you have (onions, tomatoes, whatever), and you're done.

Dec 20, 2018

Download the app "Lose It!", which is free and makes counting calories INSANELY easier than most other methods, since most food products, brands, and specific packages are listed on there (for example, they have each Chipotle ingredient so you can accurately add a bowl you get)

Dec 20, 2018

Try intermittent fasting. It will change your life.

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Dec 20, 2018

Do you have any recommendations or literature on tips how to do that? I've been thinking about it a lot recently, interested in learning more about it first

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Most Helpful
Dec 21, 2018
BubbaBanker:

Do you have any recommendations or literature on tips how to do that? I've been thinking about it a lot recently, interested in learning more about it first

Main thing is to eat in an 8hr window. 16hr fast. You don't have to start out doing it everyday, maybe you could fit in a fast a few days per week at first.

When you're fasting, you can't have any calories. So water is fine, tea, black coffee. Creamer is ok if it is under 50 calories.

The easiest thing to do is probably skip breakfast and then your next meal begins the 8hr window. You could do 12pm - 8pm and have lunch, or maybe hold out until 4pm and then you can have munchies up until midnight. The fasting state is very healthy for the body.

If you want to step it up, go to 5-7 days per week. When I used to IF, I'd go pretty religiously 5-6 days per week and then maybe would have weekend lunch plans or brunch or something and just skip IF that day, due to social reasons.

The next level after that is to get up in a fasted state in the morning and do some light cardio. Keep the fast as long as you can and then later in the day eat, workout, then eat. By this point, your body fat levels should be very low. Could step it up also by going from a 16hr fast to 18hr to 20hr etc with a 4 hour food window.

IF is really the easiest meal plan. You don't have to prepare much during the day and there are usually only 1-2 heavy meals at night. So you can keep everything in your fridge and not much planning required or just pick up some food on the way home. As far as time saving and efficiency, IF is the real winner. Its just so damn convenient.

It might be hard day 1, 2, 3. Psychologically and socially. Key is to just chug water all the time. Drink massive amounts of tea. That's what I did. I drank lots and lots of Green Tea. Load up on La Croix. The fat will just come right off - you'll get super lean and feel great and have lots of energy once you get into a rhythm. Your body will tell you its hungry psychologically, but its not. Also, when you break the fast, try to be as clean as possible. If you need that steak or chicken burrito or whatever, try to eat these things after your workout that night. Our foods should be correlated with our activities for the day.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 5
Dec 20, 2018

My biggest piece of advice if you're just starting to get into meal prepping is to just keep it simple at first. Make super-easy bare-bones meals that take very little effort. Once you're used to the routine, and are enjoying eating healthy, then add some complexity.

The worst mistake you can make is trying to get all fancy right out of the gate...especially if you have a busy life.

    • 2
Dec 20, 2018
YH5331:

My biggest piece of advice if you're just starting to get into meal prepping is to just keep it simple at first. Make super-easy bare-bones meals that take very little effort. Once you're used to the routine, and are enjoying eating healthy, then add some complexity.

The worst mistake you can make is trying to get all fancy right out of the gate...especially if you have a busy life.

I think this advice is spot on. The marginal benefit of the absolute fanciest healthiest meal vs a basic healthy meal is much less than the benefit of consistency. If you can keep it all consistent then you will see results.

I know OP mentioned you work out, but I would suggest trying swimming. Meal prep + Swimming helped me drop 14 lbs in the last 30 days, including Thanksgiving eating.

"Life is like a song, you are supposed to dance while the music is playing."

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

all I'll say is that you should, under no circumstances meal prep for 3-4 weeks (as in cook it and then keep it). if the food is still good, that means it's overly processed and not as healthy. 1 week prep, fine, anything more than that I'd say you're rolling the dice

Dec 20, 2018

I think he means 3 to 4 days of each week. At least that is how I interpreted it.

On a side note OP, I've done the classic chicken / etc, lately I've gotten into salmon. Season it, bake it (made 2 lbs of it last week) let it cool and throw it in fridge. Fish (fatty like salmon) tends not to get super chewy once nuked a few days out. Salmon with veggies / rice (been doing cauliflower rice lately, not that bad and cuts few hundred calories per meal) / potatoes is a go-to of mine lately.

Dec 21, 2018
FinancelsWacc:

throw it in fridge. Fish (fatty like salmon) tends not to get super chewy once nuked a few days out.

ew dude you're the guy warming up old fish in the office microwave? noooooo

eat that shit cold, brah - its fine ... well done salmon is amazing cold

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Dec 20, 2018

I lost 100 pounds (80 pounds in 6 months) on a bet with friends by following a super strict low carb diet. I ate less than 20 carbs and 1500-2000 calories a day. I did that religiously for 6 months. I did pretty rigorous Olympic lifting during that time. After I lost 80 pounds I was pretty physically and mentally exhausted so I transitioned to more calories and kept carbs under 40. I also started running to aid in that last 20 pounds.

Breakfast: eggs and turkey bacon

Lunch and dinner: chicken/beef/ salmon with broccoli or asparagus

Snacks: cheese, hard boiled eggs, almonds and cashews

Water, coffee and unsweetened black tea to drink.

I literally did not deviate from this for 6 months. No cheat meals at all. No alcohol whatsoever. I weighed myself every Monday and set a new weekly weight goal every time.

What I did isn't necessarily considered healthy but who gives a shit because I'm 100 years lighter and in amazing shape. My biggest take away from the weight loss experience is that everyone loses weight differently. Some people just need to cut soda and chips, while others need to do what I did. You're gonna read a lot of BS on the internet about weight loss.

Find what works best for you and your lifestyle. Most importantly, hold yourself accountable and get it done. I was committed to winning the bet, which is why I made it through. Good luck and PM me with any questions.

    • 2
Dec 21, 2018
ksk2018:

I ate less than 20 carbs and 1500-2000 calories a day.

You didn't eat fruit for a long period of time?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Dec 21, 2018

Honestly still don't eat fruit. I try to avoid all sugar no matter what. Obviously not all sugars are the same, but avoiding it works for me.

Dec 20, 2018

check out the reddit thread

https://www.reddit.com/r/MealPrepSunday/

Dec 21, 2018

I used to try all these things but honestly I realized that I just don't have the time. Here's what I do instead:
- selected 5 restaurants in my area (3 for lunch for 2 dinner)
- selected 8 meals (5 lunch, 3 dinner) -- count the calories and try to figure out the total nutrition (my lunches average 900, dinner averages 500)
- use Cortana and google to randomly order one of the selections exactly at 12:30 PM and 5:30 PM every work day
- eat whatever I get served

I barely work out or do anything beyond the normal like walking, occasional excursion, etc., and I've stayed around 160 lbs at 5'11 (body type is moderately athletic). Before this, I went all the way up to 185lbs trying to work out and "eat right". What it really boiled down to me was eating at a consistent time that didn't require much direction from me at the time.

    • 1
Mar 24, 2019

how do you not fall asleep at work... 900 cals?

Sweetgreed salads are <700, most sandwiches too

Dec 21, 2018

If you're not interested in doing a big meal prep for the week on Sundays, I'd download MyFitnessPal so you can consciously eat at a caloric deficit. You can use the barcode scanner for most common foods purchasable and it has a huge database of food contents for fast food joints.

However if you're dedicated to go down the path of prepping each week - I'd still recommend that you go through your calorie calculations. You say that you're a built guy, do you still lift / plan on maintaining size? If so, when calculating your macros aim for 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (weight - body fat). I'm currently cutting, so for reference this is my intake most days:

Caloric intake of 2,000 calories (comprised from 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs and 44 grams of fat - this is a 40/40/20 C/P/F split).

I buy chicken in bulk, cut it up and ration it in Tupperware for the following week - along with some steamed veggies and maybe some avocado (good fat source) - one serving for lunch and one for dinner (but maybe turkey instead of chicken, it varies). Then I usually have yogurt and egg whites for breakfast. Some brown rice to replenish glycogen if I've just worked out in the morning. Not only is this rewarding for knowing exactly what physique changes I can expect - it tends to save me a lot of money. Being a student, it's a win-win.

Dec 21, 2018

Here's my list of quick ghetto food I eat when stuck on calls all day. Also get a good headset with loads of Bluetooth range so you can run around cooking while on calls, play with your dog, etc...

Cans of tuna and hot sauce
Nuked broccoli with salt
Random chunks of cooked meat like chicken breast
Roast beef
Protein shakes
Organic beef from Costco with veges, nuked
Eggs randomly cooked.
Cook some rice and add it to whatever you want

Dec 21, 2018
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Jan 8, 2019