As promised, here is an update on WEEK TWO of my Six-Weeks Challenge.
I’m finding out that there are many new and little challenges I am faced with every day – from learning what fats I can and cannot have, to discovering that fruits are carbs, and not all fruits are created equal because some are just better (for you) than others – and I guess I’m just discovering both the woes and joys of meal prepping and what it all entails.
So, I’ve decided to break down my grocery list and let you know what I’ve discovered, what I shopped for this past week and what meals I made for myself in advance (aka what the world calls “meal prepping” lol). I’m a newbie/noob to this world so I had some questions and I’ll share my struggles as well as my sweet surprises on this journey. 🙄
This is strictly meal preparations for only lunch and dinner, every day, for one full week. I’ve also included a list of healthy snacks (list is very small) that I was allowed to have in between meals. I am talking about ZERO sugar, ZERO sweets, ZERO preservatives, all-natural-based stuff. Literally, cutting all of the fats – which was/is so tough for me because of my natural sweet tooth – but I was/am determined to tackle on this challenge & see it through for myself, for my health and for the purpose of a drastic disciplined lifestyle change! Let’s get this (Ezekiel whole wheat slice only) bread!
Shall we begin? Alright, alright, alright.
Here is my own beginner’s guide to preparing your meals for the week.
6 Steps to Meal Prep
1. Gather your groceries – start with a list
I will say that this was probably the second easiest part of the entire process (the easiest parts were eating my pre-prepared meals 😜) only because: A. I have a Costco Membership, and B. I did all my grocery a-la a one-stop shopping trip to Costco.
For those of you who do not have a Costco membership, I’d say it is worth getting one (it’s only $60/year which is only $5/month). Some of my fitness friends (who are also on this 6-week-challenging journey with me) said they found themselves frequenting the grocery stores a lot. They do not have a Costco membership, so they’d stop by Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Vons, etc. for all of the food they needed to survive for the coming week(s) which is totally fine to do, but just letting you know that Costco made my meal-prepping shopping life easier to manage.
So I skipped merrily along to Costco and stocked up on all of ground bison, lean chicken breast, tuna cans and large bags of leafy greens, lots of vegetables and a batch of raw blueberries. I did make a mistake in getting a big box of tomatoes on the vine, which I later discovered (to my dismay) that I could NOT eat it. Yes, it was tragic and I cried inside. I also found that actually buying all my meats in advance made it a whole lot easier. I cooked what I needed to eat for the week and stuck all the leftover raw meats in the freezer for next week because it’s easy to bring the frozen meats out and stick them in the fridge to thaw for the following week(s).
My Groceries List: broken down into Protein, Fats, Carbs (fruits are carbs), Veggies… plus measurements (next to bullet points) to show how much you should have in terms of portions/per meal
Proteins – The top three were my main sources of protein for every meal and you can stick the extra bison and chicken breasts in the freezer for the next week.
- 6oz. Ground Bison – comes in multiple packs (got like 6)
- 6oz. Skinless Chicken Breast – comes in multiple packs (6)
- 1.25cup Egg Whites (6 egg whites for breakfast) – also comes in multiple (6)
- 99% Lean Turkey Breast
- 6oz. Any White Fish (tilapia, cod, haddock, etc.)
Fats – I did not eat any fats other than to use coconut oil and avocado oil for cooking
- 2tbs. Peanut or Almond Butter
- 1.5tbs. Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
- 0.5 Medium Avocado
- 0.25cup Any Nuts
- 1.5tbs. Cooking Oil – SAY NO TO VEGETABLE & CANOLA OIL!
Carbohydrates – I stuck to mostly blueberries, strawberries and blackberries in the morning for my carbs plus my favorite protein powder (coconut flavor) for breakfast. Then, I ate a different carb per consecutive meal for lunch and dinner (i.e. quinoa, sweet potato or legumes)
- 0.5cup Beans/Legumes
- 0.5cup Cooked Quinoa
- 1.5Slice Ezekiel Bread
- 0.5cup Dry Rolled Oats
- 0.5cup Cooked Brown Rice
- 0.75cup Mash Sweet or Red Potato
- 0.5cup Pasta
- 0.75cup Berries (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry)
Vegetables – 1Cup of ANY of the vegetables below:
- Green Beans
- I stayed far away from: peas, carrots, corn, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, beets (these have the highest carbs). Here’s a site I love because the picture charts help show you visually which are the best veggies for your diet.
Snacks – I mostly ate only a can of tuna with yellow mustard & pepper in between meals, mostly out of pure laziness and convenience.
- 1.5can Tuna
- 0.5cup 0% Cottage Cheese
- 1.5cup 0% Greek Yogurt
- 3oz. Original Jack Links Jerky
- 4 Fat Free String Cheeses
Food scale: Good to invest in one, but I found it easier just eyeballing my portions. So I would use this method to measure my portions. For proteins I ate the size of my palm (outstretched hand). For Carbs and Veggies, I’d measure the portion to about the size of a fist. And for fats, it would be only the size/amount of my thumbnail or thumb. This is a good general rule when it comes to measuring out/portioning your rations.
0 Calorie Spices:
- Dry Spices – Cayenne Pepper, Pepper, Pink Himalayan Salt
- Dry Seasonings – Onion Salt, Garlic Salt
- Dry Rubs
- Mrs. Dash Spices
- NO, SUGAR DOES NOT COUNT AS A SPICE. 😩
0 Calorie Condiments:
- Lemon juice
- Soy Sauce?
- Hot Sauces – apparently NOT Sriracha because of the sugar in it
0 Calorie Beverages:
- Water – I put lemons in my water
- Green Tea
- Black Coffee
- Sugar-free Ice Tea
2. Wash, cut and sort through your meats and produce
I have this category as its own step because it is a lot of work in the kitchen preparing all your meals throughout the week (just lunch and dinner). Chopping all the green veggies, slicing all the mushrooms and cutting your meat (which can technically be done either raw, before cooking or cooked, after cooking) but still a lot of chop-chop-chopping is involved. I mean, just look at all this work I did.
Here it is in a medley of photos stacked below.
AND YES. It involved lots and LOTS OF CHOPPING. 🔪
3. Cook your food
After you’ve chopped, sliced, prepped and seasoned (with dry spices on grocery list) all your meats and veggies, prepare to cook everything you have.
I cooked all the meats first. It took forever. I used a regular pan and some avocado oil and seasoning, then covered it in foil.
Then I cooked all the green stuff like asparagus (chopped), green beans (chopped), and broccoli. I steamed some spinach with mushrooms if I felt I needed a bit more veggies to add to my meals. Below are mostly green beans and asparagus, but I did broccoli and bellpeppers and mushrooms too.
I then cut up the cooked chicken and threw that into the mix.
I left them out in different pots, pans, plates and bowls to cool down.
I slaved away in the kitchen, chopping, cooking and packing for a good 3-5hours.
BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT after it was all done!!!!! The convenience of ready-made meals for the week was perfectly worth it. Plus, I saved a lot of $$$ on food for the week too.
One of my fitness friends recommended these affordable and convenient bento boxes from Amazon which have one compartment or two-compartment bento boxes. They are BPA-free, come in a pack of 20, freezer and microwave safe, and most importantly, dishwasher safe. The compartments are great for separating and portioning your meals.
5. Portion your food
I found this visual graphic to be very helpful when measuring and portioning out your food. Print it out & hang it on your refrigerator as a good reference guide.
6. Season and stack your meals
Last, but certainly not the least, stack your tupperware and food. Then, when you’re ready to eat your pre-prepared meal, season it to taste. When you have all but finished portioning and putting your food into containers, you can now enjoy your ready-made meals! I sometimes add a little mustard or more pepper and/or cayenne to my dishes to give it that extra kick I need. You can squeeze lemon juice or balsamic to your meals too. Cooked quinoa with amaranth from Costco is a great thing to have on hand to mix into your meals. It’s a company called Seeds of Change and they make all different types of nutritious and good grains.
See? It’s super simple!
Meal prepping in 6 EASY peas-y STEPS.
It is a lot of work at first, but it makes the rest of the week, “Easy, breezy, beautiful (maybe I’ll turn into a cover girl if I stick to this challenge lol) and super convenient!
Whew. That is all.
Until next week…
BRING IT ON WEEK THREE!
wish me luck.
Anne signing out.