I’ve tried a lot of different diets and eating habits throughout the years and the only one I’ve been successful with is Renaissance Periodization (RP). I’ve counted calories, I’ve eaten whatever I wanted when I wanted, I’ve followed a Paleo diet, and I’ve done IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). RP has been the only “diet” that has helped me lose fat while gaining muscle and it’s also the only one I have been able to maintain for a long time. The biggest reason I have been able to keep up with doing RP long term is because I meal prep every week. So, I’m going to take you through what a week of meal prepping looks like for us.
On Thursday’s, we go grocery shopping (does this make anyone else think of the Mean Girls quote “On Wednesday’s we wear pink”? lol). We spend a lot of our time around the outside sections of the store where all the fresh/frozen fruits, veggies, and meats are. Side note: we’ve been budgeting using tips from Dave Ramsey and do the majority of our shopping at Aldi’s with a few purchases required at Walmart to get everything we need.
A typical grocery cart for us is filled with:
Fruit- Gala apples, strawberries, blueberries
Veggies- green peppers, white mushrooms, zucchini, yellow onions, canned green beans, diced canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, frozen Brussels sprouts, frozen broccoli (Walmart is the only place that carries the large 3 lb bags…Josh eats through 3 bags a week!)
Carbs- sweet potatoes, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced 21 Whole Grains & Seeds (Walmart), mini caramel rice cakes, corn tortillas, instant white rice
Meat- pre-sliced baked ham, boneless skinless chicken breast/pork chops/pork loin (no more than 10% fat for any of the meats), eggs
Misc- crunchy peanut butter, mild salsa, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla light Greek nonfat yogurt (Walmart), Diet Cherry 7-Up or Diet A&W Root Beer (Walmart)
We always try to keep lots of low calorie condiments (soy sauce, salsa, buffalo sauce, southwest spicy mustard) and spices (garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a few different McCormick’s Grill Mates seasonings) on hand to liven things up so we don’t get bored with our foods.
When we get home Thursday after shopping, I go ahead and roast all the broccoli in the oven for about an hour at 425℉. While the broccoli is roasting, I use my handy dandy Chop Wizard Pro to chop my veggies. If you all don’t have a Chop Wizard Pro, get to Bed Bath and Beyond right this instant and purchase one! I used to hand chop all our veggies which would take me close to 2 hours…seriously, ain’t nobody got time for all that. Now, using the Chop Wizard I can have all our veggies chopped in less than an hour. I chop up all the green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions to use in our veggie “chili”. All the chopped veggies and broccoli just get put in containers and refrigerated until Saturday. The only reason I start our meal prep on Thursday is to get it out of the way-we sometimes have things going on Friday evening and we’re at the gym all morning Saturday and usually busy Saturday nights, so it would be beyond stressful to try to cram it all in.
On Friday night, I throw our pork loin or chicken breast in the Crock Pot to cook on low overnight (usually about 8 hours). I don’t add anything else to the meat, just keep it plain, as I add different condiments to it later when I portion out all our meals.
When I wake up Saturday, I go ahead and shred up the pork or chicken in the Crock Pot. That goes into the fridge until we get back from the gym. After getting home from the gym, I start our veggie “chili” so it can cook down while we’re eating lunch. This is where all the chopped up veggies and diced tomatoes come into play. Sometimes, there is extra zucchini which I sauté up on the stove to use in my meals. If we bought pork chops for a meat source, this is when I bake them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 350℉. Once the chili is done and cooling on the stove, I set out all our Isolator Fitness meal prep containers on the table. I portion out enough food for 3 meals a day for 5 work days (15 meals each). Josh makes breakfast fresh each morning and we make our own “bedtime snack” every night. We also have a protein shake and a workout carb shake ( on days we workout) that Josh makes up the night before. In each container, I weigh out our portions of shredded meat needed according to our RP templates. Next, I portion out all the veggie chili as evenly as possible between mine and Josh’s meals (we usually get 10-15 one-cup servings depending on how large all the veggies are). For whatever meals still need veggies, I portion out the roasted broccoli for Josh and either canned green beans or sauteed zucchini for me. For the broccoli, green beans, and sauteed zucchini, I don’t measure out any certain amount, just fill up the rest of the meal container. I add southwest spicy mustard or homemade sugar-free BBQ sauce to meals that don’t have veggie chili in them for some extra flavor.
On Sundays, I roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for a little over an hour at 425℉ and cook a pot of white rice (we usually have to make rice once more in the middle of the week).
Throughout the weekdays, Josh makes breakfast every morning while I weigh out the carbs needed for our 2 work day meals. I wait to portion out the carbs until that day because life happens and sometimes things come up and we’re unable to make it into the gym, so we need to eat a little differently (on “rest” days, we get fewer carbs and a little more fat, while a “training” day is more carbs and less fat). Josh made up some handy flashcards for our most frequently eaten carbs sources that tell us how much to weigh out to hit a certain amount of carbs. Because of these flash cards, it takes me no time at all to weigh out apples, sweet potatoes, and rice for our work day meals. We also keep an extra scale and jar of peanut butter at work for when we get fat with our meals.
One of the best parts of meal prep is that when we get home late from the gym throughout the week (and don’t at all feel like fixing anything because it’s basically bedtime), we already have our meat and veggies ready to microwave and just need to add whatever carbs we want! Josh typically eats sweet potatoes and Dave’s Killer Bread, while I like to have a corn tortilla and Dave’s Killer Bread.
For Josh’s bedtime snack, he fixes up a bowl of casein “pudding” with apples (or blueberries and strawberries), cinnamon, and peanut butter. My bedtime snack is light Greek nonfat yogurt with cinnamon, cocoa powder, and blueberries with a side of mini caramel rice cakes and crunchy peanut butter…I forgot to take a picture of my bedtime snack as I was distracted by Rocko looking so cute when begging.
Over the weekend, we usually have extra meat, veggies, sweet potatoes and rice leftover after meal prepping to use for our meals. We honestly don’t have room in our fridge to portion out enough meals for the entire week, so it’s just easier to make those meals as we eat them. And that leaves us room to make some fun “Saturday date night” recipes from the new RP cookbook we just purchased.
I know it might seem very overwhelming at first, but meal prepping has been a total lifesaver for us. Spending an hour or two over a couple of days is much more doable for us than spending 5-6 hours all at one time prepping. And let me tell you from lots of experience, our week goes much smoother having our meals ready for us to just throw in the microwave.