I am no nutritionist or diet expert, however I have spent the past few months focusing on weekly meal prep by cooking 5 days worth of meals ahead of time. By doing so, I have been able to save over $90 per week on food. For those who may be looking to save a few bucks and eat a little more healthy, I am here to offer up some advice on what my typical weekly meal prep looks like.
Here is just a small sample of my most recent shopping trip:
Every Sunday that is what my kitchen counter tops look like. I will prepare 5 days worth of meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Usually it consists of fish, chicken, steak, vegetables and eggs. Not only does this help me maintain my weight when I am training for different kind of runs, it also is a great money saver. I typically spend anywhere from $45 – $60 a week on grocery shopping. If I were to buy individual meals per week, assuming each meal costs me $10, I would be spending $150 per week on meals. I’m saving myself over $90 per week by prepping my meals ahead of time.
I have recently been turned onto making breakfast in muffin tins. I don’t know how I ever lived without this way of cooking. In the past I would crack a few eggs over the stove top the night before. It wasn’t time consuming, but just another thing I had to remember to do before going to bed every night. This method allows me to cook 5 days worth of breakfast in less than 30 minutes.
It’s a relatively simple process. You combine your eggs and your filling in a mixing bowl and whisk together. You then pour that mixture into a greased muffin tin. I will cook this at 350 degrees for 15- 20 minutes. You test for readiness the same way you would a cake, take a toothpick and make sure they are cooked all the way through. The best part about this is you can fill the muffin tins with the same ingredients you would make an omelette with. My two favorites are Broccoli and Sausage and Pepper, Onion and Sausage. I will usually buy the pre-cooked Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Patties so I do not have to cook the sausage and cut them up into pieces. I’ll prepackage 2 of these muffin omelettes every morning to take to work with me.
- 12 Egg Whites, 3 Egg Yolks
- Filling: Sausage, Pepper, Onion, Broccolli (whatever mixture you enjoy)
For lunch I will usually cook a meat and a vegetable. My popular dish has been chicken and broccoli. Some weeks I will cook steak and carrots, or any other vegetable/ meat combination. This is also a very simple process. I put all of the meat in a baking pan, sprinkle with spices and cook it in the oven depending on the temperature and time for that specific meat. For the vegetables I will cut them up accordingly, throw them in a boiling pot of water and wait for them to finish. Usually in about a half hour I will have lunch for the week done.
Dinner is typically prepped the same way as lunch. However the difference is I will usually do more of fish and beef and less chicken. I will also do more potatoes or starches versus vegetables. Since lunch is usually the same every day, I like to change things around for dinner. For dinner I will throw the fish on a baking sheet lined in tin foil, oil the sheet and sprinkle on some spices. Since it is usually fish this will only have to go in the oven for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size. I will also cut up some potatoes, put them in a tin foil pack, sprinkle with spices and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.
So there you have it. 5 days worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner. All said and done it usually takes about an hour or two out of my Sunday to get all of this done. The pay off? Every meal is ready to just be heated and served and I am saving $90+ dollars a week on food. It helps me maintain my weight and track what goes into my body. And during those long runs I can really tell the difference when I have eaten well.
The best part of all this is it helps keep the calories down. On any given day my calorie count for all 3 meals is anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500.
Shopping List for 15 Meals
3 Pounds Chicken
2- 3 Pounds of various fish (salmon, tilapia, flounder, etc.)
0.5- 1 Pound of steak
4 Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Patties
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
Package of baby carrots
3 bunches of broccoli
3 Potatoes (regular or sweet)
Oranges/ Apples/ Nuts or other random snacks