Meal prep?

I have been struggling with meal prep lately ! I always go to the grocery store and get a bunch of random foods to throw together for the week and it never works out as well as I'd like. If anyone would like to share diffeeent weekly meal prep meals (lunch,dinner) and would even like to give me grocery list ideas it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance !


  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    edited April 2017
    You have to start in the other end.

    Start with what you want to eat. Decide how long you want to plan, shop and maybe cook for. Find out when you'll be eating out, how many you'll be cooking for, and when you have time to cook.

    Then look at what you already have in fridge, freezer and pantry. Write it down. This is your inventory.

    Then look at the meals you want to make. Write down all the ingredients.

    Then cross out from the ingredients list all the items that already are in your inventory. Now you have a shopping list. Take that with you to the store. Follow it.

    When you get home, store, prep and cook according to plan.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,012 Member
    crschaaf13 wrote: »
    I have been struggling with meal prep lately ! I always go to the grocery store and get a bunch of random foods to throw together for the week and it never works out as well as I'd like. If anyone would like to share diffeeent weekly meal prep meals (lunch,dinner) and would even like to give me grocery list ideas it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance !

    I don't prep as in preparing all of my meals in advance...but I do plan for the week..."plan" being the key word...we don't just randomly go buy stuff. My wife and I sit down and decide what we're going to make throughout the week (we both get most of our ideas and recipes from Pinterest)...check the fridge and pantry, and go shopping accordingly.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    Yeah, you've gotten some good advice here.

    Basically, you're doing it in the "wrong" order (I put it in quotation marks because it may work for other people, but it clearly isn't working for you).

    First you decide what you want to eat and see what ingredients you don't have. Then you go to the store to get the food. This also allows you to make a plan to use extra of any ingredients that you're buying (if you're buying cilantro to put on chili, maybe you can plan a curry later in the week to use up the rest of it).

    I plan meals every Sunday afternoon and I go shopping every Monday night. This also allows me to plan easier meals for the nights when I am busier and more complicated things for the nights where I have free time.
  • fitmom4lifemfp
    fitmom4lifemfp Posts: 1,572 Member
    I know it's harder to do this when there is more than one person to consider. My son is grown so it's just me, and it makes it easy. I like to keep things simple. I have a few things that I always have available, for lunch.

    I always have frozen chicken breast, and I cook it on the weekend for the next week. I keep a bag or two of lettuce (always have shaved parmesan and sunflower seeds too), for a grilled chicken salad.

    In the freezer I also have Lean Pockets (love the Jalapeno Chicken one), Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese (or Smart Ones - I like both equally well), and occasionally I have leftover pizza slices too. Also, once in a while I make a pot roast or a chicken pot pie, and I portion those out into containers and freeze. This suits me, and is all the variety I need. And it makes it simple to shop.
  • MsArriabella
    MsArriabella Posts: 466 Member
    Like kommodevaran, I start with what I want to eat for the week. Lunches are pretty repetitive so I've gotten prep time down to 2 hours a week for 12 meals (3 people for 4 days) plus 2 dozen baked omelette 'muffins' for breakfasts.

    Since I make the same things a LOT I buy most of the ingredients at Costco so I just need to replenish the veggies each week.
    Lately it's cauliflower burrito bowls and crustless pot pie for lunches:
    Burrito bowls, ~450 cal: Cauliflower rice (or you can make mexican rice for more flavor), pinto beans, chicken, shredded cheese and salsa
    Crustless pot pie, ~360 cal: Chicken, cream of chicken soup, mixed veggies
    Omelette muffins, ~120 cal each: eggs, chopped peppers & onions, milk, sausage/bacon/ham, cheese

    All of these freeze well also.
  • laconrad2013
    laconrad2013 Posts: 41 Member
    Here's what I do . . . I look at what food I have at home, think about when I'll be eating out that week, and then pre-fill in MyFitness Pal food diary based on those criteria. I make a grocery list to fill in the gaps and go shopping. I have a bunch of glass pyrex storage containers for left overs. I cook twice a week and I know how many cups each pyrex container holds. I portion out what I've cooked and those become lunch and dinner. Since I fill in the rest with fresh fruits and vegetables there isn't much else to prep. And since I pre-fill in MyFitness Pal I already know what I should eat. It keeps me on track. Keeps me on budget. And I research what I order in restaurants ahead of time so I know I'm staying within a healthy calorie range. Good luck in your prep!
  • enterdanger
    enterdanger Posts: 2,446 Member
    I look at the circular for sales on protiens. Like right now where I am, seafood is cheap (lent), ham is cheap, lamb is on sale, chicken is always cheap (in Delmarva, the chicken capital of the US) and I got a standing prime rib roast for $4.77 a lb. I stocked up on this stuff. Now, most of this is Sunday dinner food...meaning it takes too damn long for me to bother with during the week, except seafood.

    So this Sunday I slow grilled that 6lb rib roast on the grill. We are having a lot of meals with prime rib this week. lol.
    Sunday was Prime Rib
    Monday, BBQ chicken
    Today homemade prime rib cheese steaks
    Wednesday - I'll be getting home late, so either crockpot or a frozen casserole hubs can just throw in the oven
    Thursday - Fish Tacos
    Friday - Homemade pizza (I made a big batch of pizza dough last weekend)

    We have this awesome produce place near me called Produce Junction. It's cash only and so cheap. So I just go every weekend and buy what looks good. Yesterday I made a sautee with swiss chard and bacon and shallots. Tonight we will have a salad and the kids some canary melon. Wednesday, I'll steam some broccoli and put out fruit or something. Thursday...tacos are a self contained dish. no sides needed. I've got a nice head of cabbage and some radishes and I'll make a slaw. Friday, veggies on pizza and either salad, fruit, or both.

    This Sunday I will probably roast a ham for Easter, so next week we will have meals that go great with ham. Like frittata, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, pasta with ham, peas, parm and a poached egg..etc.

  • Queenmunchy
    Queenmunchy Posts: 3,380 Member
    I cook dishes, portion, and freeze. I have a ton of options at any time.
  • Lizzy622
    Lizzy622 Posts: 3,705 Member
    I start with the store circular to see what is on sale and what fresh fruit and vegetables are in season. I then take a paper and section it off into 7 sections (days of the week) Then divide those into 4 (3 meals and a snack). I like to start with snack which is easiest. My formula crunchy veggie (carrot, celery, cucumber, fennel) + protein ( peanut butter, hummus, cheese) and fill that in based on what is on sale. After you finish you can log it into my fitness to make sure you are meeting your calorie and nutrition goals.
  • DaintyWhisper
    DaintyWhisper Posts: 221 Member
    edited April 2017
    Before I go grocery shopping, I always plan the day before. It's definitely easier to plan in advance so you can buy exactly what you need instead of buying a lot of random food and trying to decide what to make with it later. You're probably more likely to waste food that way.

    I start with what I want to eat for the week. It looks something like this:

    Then I will go through each meal and list the ingredients I need in order to make them

    That usually gives me a list of about everything I need to go shopping for. Just plan a little bit and you'll find that it makes grocery shopping and cooking your meals go much smoother!
  • Steff46
    Steff46 Posts: 514 Member
    I keep canned items for lunches at my desk; canned soup, chicken, and Rotel (spicy tomatoes). I cup up raw veggies and fruit to eat along with that everyday. Sometimes, I also bring portioned out leftovers when I have them. I look at the grocery ads on Wednesdays and decide what our dinners will be and shop on Sundays. I like to cook with my crock pots so I'm always cooking pork, beef, or chicken in them overnight. I like to be able to come home from work, do my workout, and then dish up dinner. I even use those single serving bags of frozen veggies that you can microwave as my side dish.
  • YellowApple666
    YellowApple666 Posts: 35 Member
    Keeping it simple is what works best for me. I usually play around with the same two combinations:
    Lunch A:
    Frozen veggies, potatoes, hard boiled eggs or cold cuts
    Lunch B:
    Pulse salad (usually lentils or chickpeas) with fresh veggies (tomatoes, olives, chopped carrots, bell peppers...) and moar protein (usually canned tuna, mackerel or sardine, sometimes feta or mozzarella cheese)

    Both require less than an hour and are quite inexpensive.
    I usually meal prep two days a week, so I make a batch of lunch A on Sunday and Lunch B on Wednesday.
    This way I have a bit of variety and flexibility but I can rely on a standard template so I don't go crazy. I love trying new foods and recipes, but I save creativity for dinners and weekends.
  • pamfgil
    pamfgil Posts: 449 Member
    If this seems like too much work, look at having components that go together, so you plan meals around the protein, and make sure whatever you get will go with that, so if you get chicken you can grill it, and have veggies with it including potato or rice, or you can make it into a stew with tinned tomatoes and throw veggies in, or a curry, rice on the side etc. having some frozen veggies in the freezer can fill in when you are in a rush.