Tired of that same old peanut butter and jelly sandwich you have for lunch each week? Struggle finding food choices that allow you to continue working towards your goals when times get busy? Interested in learning how to meal prep, but don’t know where to start? You have come to the right place!
Healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss
Planning your meals ahead of time will help you:
- Save time preparing food
- Save money on restaurant meals / fast food
- Stick to your calorie budget
- Make healthier food choices
- Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation
As such, meal prep is one of the key ingredients in any weight loss equation.
What is meal prep?
Meal prep is exactly what is sounds like! Planning and preparing meals ahead of time. Let’s be real, even if you love cooking at home, time is typically the limiting factor. Not only can meal prep help save you time and money, it can also help ensure you have healthy choices that allow you to continue working towards those goals to lose weight!
Another benefit of meal prepping is the fact that it helps you develop awareness around the choices you are making. Spending time planning, shopping, and preparing meals is far more of a commitment than ordering from the cafeteria or going through the drive-thru. This commitment can ensure that your choices are both delicious and align with your health goals!
How do I budget calories for my meal plan?
Meal prep for weight loss
Although meal prep may look different depending on your goals, planning your calories for each meal is vital when using meal prep for weight loss. A simple way to plan your calorie needs per meal is to simply divide your daily calories by the number of meals you want to eat in a day!
Let’s break down how to plan for a days worth of meals! Say your budget for the day is 1700 calories.
To get your calorie range for each meal, simply divide 1700 by the number of meals and snacks you want to eat in a day, let’s say 3 meals and 2 snacks. This would break down to around 500 calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and 100 calories per snack.
Once you have a calorie range for each meal and snack, plan out meals that fall into these calorie ranges. Not sure how to determine calories in a meal? This is where the Noom app comes into play! Logging via the Noom app can be a great way to develop awareness around caloric density and to learn how many calories your planned meals have.
Once you have this information, you can easily find recipes to cook ahead of time for each day. Wanting to know how to use this information to meal prep for the entire week? We got you covered.
How should I store my prepared meals?
When prepping meals for a week, it is important to stay organized!
Weekly meal prep
After determining your calorie goal per meal, and finding recipes that you enjoy (don’t worry, those are yet to come), make sure you are set up with enough microwave-safe containers that can easily store your food for the week! These containers not only help with portion control but also make it super easy to grab them and go.
When choosing recipes and food options for your meal prep, it is a good idea to consider your time frame and how you will store your food. The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA recommends cooked meat should be consumed within 3-5 days of being prepared and be reheated to an internal temp of 165 degrees. On the flip side, salads and veggies that will be eaten cold should be kept at a temperature under 40 degrees. Don’t have a fridge at work? It might be a good idea to invest in a cooler lunchbox to keep you healthy and enjoying those delicious meals you worked so hard preparing!
After getting your specific calories planned out and your containers ready to go, it’s time to make a list and head to the grocery store! How do you know what goes on that list? By finding healthy and delicious recipes! We have compiled a list of some of our favorite meal prep recipes for weight loss, below!
9 easy meal prep recipes for weight loss
Meal prep recipes for weight loss
When planning and prepping meals for weight loss, it is important to try new recipes and find what you enjoy! Interested in seeing some of our favorite breakfast, lunch, and snack meal prep recipes for weight loss? Check them out below
- Overnight oats: A simple and easy prep for delicious oats that are flavorful and give you a boost of energy to start your day!
- Egg Cups: A staple meal prep breakfast, egg cups let you pick your favorite ingredients and create a high protein morning meal.
- Bacon egg and Kale breakfast salad: Salad for breakfast? You bet! This salad gives you a perfect balance of green, yellow, and red and helps you start your day on the right foot!
Salads your meal prep style? Check out these awesome salad recipes!
- Coconut energy balls: A lower sugar alternative to protein bars, these energy balls give you a serving of protein and fat to help keep you energized!
- Hard-boiled egg + fruit: Boil eggs ahead of time for a quick and protein packed snack! What’s the trick to easily peeling your hard-boiled eggs? Start with a pot of boiling water and drop your eggs straight from the fridge! Boil for about 10 minutes and place right into an ice bath. Trust us, the shell practically falls off!
- Hummus + veggies: A match made in heaven, hummus makes the perfect pair to any of your favorite in–season veggies!
- Chicken, rice and broccoli bowl: Less adventurous when it comes to your meal prep? This chicken and rice bowl is simple and delicious.
Diggin’ the chicken? Want more delicious chicken meal prep recipes? Check them out here!
- Grilled romaine with cherry tomato salad:This grilled salad screams summer! It would also go great paired with your favorite protein!
- Slow cooker vegetable and lentil soup: Set it and forget it, the more your style when it comes to cooking? Give this slow cooker veggies soup a peak!
Crucial tip: Keep prepared meals exciting
Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss
When it comes to healthy meal prep ideas it is important to remember the balance between enjoying your food and working towards your health goals! Let’s be real, food is delicious! It is something to be enjoyed. Finding ways to make food taste good and also let you work towards your weight loss goals vital to successful long term meal prep!
How do you do this? By trying new recipes and finding what you enjoy! We always like trying at least one new recipe a week to mix things up, keep it fresh, and find our favorites! You will be amazed at the benefit meal prep provides to your daily food choices and your journey to lose weight!
How can I save money with meal prep?
Loving these recipes and our strategies to meal prep? Us too! Worried about breaking the bank? Don’t be! Although grocery shopping can be more challenging when on a strict budget, quality meal prep doesn’t have to be expensive! In fact, preparing your meals for the week can often be more affordable than daily meals out.
Meal prep on a budget
How do you meal prep on a budget? One word, planning! Costs start to add up when the wrong amount of food is purchased and prepared. Planning each day out in advance ensures you purchase only what you need, leaving no waste for your fridge or wallet! To do this, use your phone or good old paper and pencil to plan out daily meals, snacks, and shopping lists!
Another way to help make meal prep more affordable is to be flexible and take advantage of sales! Be adventurous and try new veggies out! Making salads for the week? Kale on sale? Go for it! You may end saving money and finding ways to improve your favorite meal prep ideas! Remember, if vegetables or meat you love are on sale, stock up and freeze them! This is another great way to get foods you enjoy for meal prep while still keeping your budget in mind!
At the end of the day, meal prepping is all about finding the foods you enjoy and using them to help you reach your weight loss goals! Meal prepping gives you the power of awareness around how food can help empower you to work towards your weight loss goals. Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of prepping three meals per day for an entire week? Start small! Try prepping a snack or lunch for the week and see how you feel! After you have mastered that habit, try adding another meal in until you are a #mealprepmaster.