Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Healthy Meal Prep

It goes without saying that if you want to get in shape, you have to eat healthy.  But, it's hard when there's so much going on in our lives and we feel like we don't have the TIME to prepare healthy meals.  For me, I eat five meals a day about 3 hours apart.  I have gotten used to eating the same thing twice a day (usually a grilled chicken salad).  I enjoy my salad, so it's no big deal.  And thank the Lord, my husband eats the same way, so I don't have to prepare another meal for him.  But, that's the caveat with this healthy meal prep, it's the same food twice a day, and lack of variety is fatal for some people.  With our family's busy schedule and needing to have so many meals to eat each day, it's just simpler for me to eat the same thing over and over.  No thinking about it, just prep once, then grab and go.  

My meal prep is incredibly easy.  Eating this way takes way less time than preparing several different meals for lunch or dinner.  All you really need to do is buy a big package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and grill them at once on the grill.  My husband and I both eat about two chicken breasts a day, so he will cook 12-16 at a time, and I have found they are good refrigerated for four days, sometimes five.  The photo below is my meal prep that I took to my bikini competition because that's all I ate for two days but you could use these for lunch or dinner once or twice a day, along with your other meals.  


The twelve meals above were made from the few ingredients below.


HOW TO GRILL CHICKEN 

On the grill (we use a gas grill, but you can use a grill pan on the stove), turn the fire to medium to medium high heat.  For my "contest" chicken, no oil was used, just a sprinkle of Tony Chachere's Salt-Free seasoning.  Now that the contest prep is over, he puts a little olive oil on the chicken to keep it from sticking to the grill and to keep the chicken moist.

Cook the chicken for about 10-15 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.  When it's done, remove from the heat and cover with foil.  Let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes.


Each meal gets five ounces of chicken.  I can pretty much eyeball how much 5 ounces is now, but otherwise, I have found this scale very beneficial.  I used it everyday while on bikini prep and sometimes still do. 


For the carbs, I usually eat potatoes, but you can substitute rice or quinoa.  Sweet potatoes are great too.  I was only eating 4 ounces of carbs for this prep, so I used small, red potatoes.  

COOKING POTATOES

After washing the potatoes (I used 12), I towel-dried them, poked them a couple times with a knife, then microwaved them all at once for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.  They shrink when cooked, so they only averaged 3.5 ounces.  Now, I'd eat about 6 ounces, so two of these small guys.  What I really like to do (when I'm home) is chop them up after they are cooked and toast them up on the stove on a medium-high heat (just spray the pan with cooking spray). 


I use my Gladware that I found at the grocery store and then begin assembling. 


A big handful of romaine lettuce, a few tomatoes or a cup of frozen green beans . . . 


then the potatoes and chicken.



I eat the salad meals cold (and add dressing now), and microwave the meals with green beans for about 1 minute or so.  You have to be careful not to reheat chicken too much or it will get dried out. 

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Since I'm at home most days now, I haven't been assembling my food like this lately.  After the big batch of chicken is cooked, I put it in a large Rubbermaid tupperware container and keep it in the fridge.  We just pull out it as needed.  The variety for me now is just adding more and different things to my salad, like avocado, mango, sundried tomatoes, etc.  I was only eating Romaine lettuce before, but now I find I like a combo of Romaine and arugula.  When you add 5 ounces of chicken to your salad, it's really filling too. 

As long as you have chicken already cooked in the fridge, you're good to go for quick, easy meals, especially salads.  I need to look into other recipes using chicken (adding to pastas or casseroles) next.  


I made a Thai steak salad for dinner on Sunday and it was delicious!  I'll be sharing that recipe next!







21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips! I just started meal prepping a couple months ago and this helps a lot!

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  2. If I am to prepare the same meals for my husband, how much chicken and potatoes do I need for him? XO

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    1. That's a great question Staci! My husband eats one chicken breast, probably 8 ounces of potato and 1 1/2 cup of veggies.

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  3. I don't think I will ever get bored of saying this, you inspire me! Your commitment to healthy living is contagious! Will you incorporate carbs like pasta, rice, bread in your eating plan now?

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    1. Thank you so much! I still don't really eat bread, but pasta and rice will be showing up. Next week, I'm planning to show you a favorite shrimp and pasta dish. :)

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  4. Great post! My favorite salad with grilled chicken is a southwestern salad...lettuce, black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, and chicken, with balsamic vinegar dressing.

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    1. That sounds really good Olivia! I will be trying that. I do something similar with ground turkey, but need to try with chicken!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! You mentioned that you and your husband eat the same things and I"m curious as to what you prepare for your son? Does he eat a version of the same meal?

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    1. Oh gosh, I wish! I try to get him to taste our meals but he refuses. He usually eats a PB&J sandwich, fruit, and chip/pretzels/goldfish, granola bar with milk. Sometimes, he'll eat some cheese too or yogurt.

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  6. I wrote a long post and it disappeared, so I'm sorry if this shows up twice! :-) I am so glad I found your blog. I found you about halfway through your prep and have loved your honest posts. I have been thinking about doing my first bikini competition next year. I'm in Houston too so I was thinking I'd contact your coach first about using him. I have a question on your food. Do you know how many calories you were eating before your contest prep began and how many you ate during? I talked to one coach before who said I was drastically under eating and needed to get my daily maintenance up to at least 1500 before I tried to train for competition. I have a similar petite build as you. 5 foot nothing :-) and 106 lbs. that's why I thought I'd ask you.

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    1. I only got it once Rachel. :) That's so cool about your contest- go for it!! I'd love for you to work with my coach- he is the best in town. I don't know how many calories I was eating before and after. On my "to do" list is to put my contest prep meals into My Fitness Pal to see what the calories totaled and what the breakdown of carbs, protein, fat is. You have reminded me to do that! Thank you! Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes!

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  7. Thanks for the tips! Meal prep is a big thing that helps me eat healthy. With that being said I need to do it more. haha

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  8. Thanks for the post!! I've loved following your journey and have looked forward to seeing your plans post-competition. I've finally realized that meal repetition is key (at least for me) in eating healthy/clean meals throughout the week. I felt so much pressure to change up lunch and dinner everyday that meal planning and grocery shopping became the most dreaded item on my to-do list. This of course meant that I stopped doing it after a while! haha! Repetition is the way to go! Thanks for all the helpful info on portions and weights.

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  9. My hubby and I do meal prep like this as well. It makes grabbing lunch for work super easy. Chicken and green beans are our go to healthy staple. :)

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  10. Thanks for sharing your journey! I've really enjoyed seeing your transformation, both physical and psychological. As a Christian I have always struggled with the idea of competing, although it is still something I am considering. I also appreciate how raw you have been with the whole journey. It takes a lot to admit that you feel upset about not winning, bravo lady!

    Any tips for breakfast meal prep?

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  11. So inspiring. I just had my 2nd child almost 4 months ago and I am ready to get my body back. With 2 kids under 2, meal prep may be the best thing for me right about now :)

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  12. So you put the green beans in frozen? If so, are they tasty and done after one minute in the microwave ? I have a hard time making frozen green beans taste good ,,,,

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  13. Question: Are you unlimited on the greens amount? I did my meals up JUST like this yesterday for the next few days and was just curious. Can I have as much greens as I want?

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  14. I just posted my meal preparation today! Definitely a must-do!

    -Morgan
    California To Carolina
    The Gym Bunny

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  15. Thanks so much for the tips Megan and great reciipes you recently posted. It is DEFINITELY easier when the hubby is on board with your eating habits :) Our meals have pretty boring during the week, but we get more wiggle room on the weekends.
    Linh
    http://abeautifulrawr.com

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