it’s…meal prep time!

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)

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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.     

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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.

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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.

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summer’s in the air, baby

Oof, was Saturday morning rough! We went to the gym like usual to get our RP Hypertrophy lifting in before mobility and class. I warmed up, started my sets, and missed lift after lift after lift of a weight that I don’t struggle with anymore. I missed a third of my programmed snatches! That NEVER happens! For every lift I missed, I would take a few steps back away from the bar, reset my mind, and attempt the lift again. And make it. It’s crazy how sometimes a little mind reset can help. When I finally finished my sets of snatches, I moved on to my clean and jerks…which didn’t go much better unfortunately. I had to drop my weight down and really focus on my form. Fatigue from the week, a long list of to-do’s on my mind- I’m not really sure what was going on exactly, but I think those both definitely played into a terrible day of lifting for me. Let’s just say I was more than happy when I was finished lifting for the day.

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Being so bad on the struggle bus, after mobility I decided to head home and start meal prepping. I don’t think my body (or my mind) could have handled a long workout after all of my lifting struggles. When I got home, I got some pork chops (with salt, pepper, and McCormick’s Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon seasoning) baking in the oven while I started the veggie chili. With the cast iron pot simmering full of zucchini, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, I began portioning out the pork loin, broccoli, and green beans. It’s a good thing I can multitask because meal prep has me running around the kitchen like crazy for a couple hours. After the pork chops and chili were finished, I portioned those out into our containers as well and finally sat down to eat my lunch. I feel so accomplished when I’m all done meal prepping, prepared for whatever the week has in store. Josh got home from his last nutrition class, ate lunch, and headed out to mow our yard. I know I’ve said it before, but I truly appreciate that he takes care of the yard so that I don’t have to worry about it. We had a short time to relax after our “chores” were all finished before getting ready for our Olivia’s (our coworker) wedding. The wedding was at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Brownstown and it was a beautiful ceremony. At the reception, we sat with a few of our other coworkers and had a fun time eating, telling stories, and laughing. And of course, we tried all the flavors of cake…don’t judge, we only shared 3 small pieces.   

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Sunday turned into a fun food day for us. We woke up fairly early, ate a small breakfast, and headed up to Broad Ripple for a lovely cake date at the Cake Bake Shop. We sat outside under an umbrella, the sun shining down, bright pink and white flowers lining the fence next to us, and traditional French cafe music playing over the speakers. It truly is a little slice of heaven on Earth. The summer flavors that are available currently make it almost impossible to narrow it down to one flavor to try. After much debate, we finally decided on the Lemon Blueberry cake and the Boston Cream Pie cake. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing they both were. The Lemon Blueberry is three layers of moist blueberry studded vanilla cake, filled with their house made lemon curd, and topped with their lemon vanilla bean buttercream frosting. The Boston Cream Pie is six layers of moist vanilla cake filled with a homemade pastry cream and vanilla buttercream and topped with Belgian fudge frosting, a vanilla buttercream dollop, and a maraschino cherry. Everything was so creamy and rich, I had to stop myself from licking the plate clean! Bon appétit!      

After our cake date, we stopped in at the new Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market in Broad Ripple. Fresh Thyme is a grocery store set up like a farmer’s market. They offer a large selection of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and fresh baked breads. There are sections to grind your own coffee, make your own fresh nut butters, and even pour your own local honey or maple syrup. We didn’t feel like heading home quite yet, so we made our way down to the Greenwood Park Mall. We spent a few hours wandering around, stopping in at different shops here and there. I’ve been on the lookout for a chambray shirt and I finally found one I liked and it was even on sale! Yay for bargains! After a bit, we decided to head home…and then decided to turn around at Whiteland and head back up to the new Primanti Bros. restaurant in Greenwood. My friend, Rich, has told me about this place many times and I’ve been wanting to try it. It did not disappoint! I ordered the Almost Famous pastrami & cheese sandwich (grilled pastrami, provolone cheese, fresh cut french fries, sweet and sour cole slaw, and tomato all stuffed in Italian bread) and Josh got the New Yorker Tall Boy sandwich (grilled pastrami and corned beef, provolone cheese, fresh cut french fries, sweet and sour cole slaw, tomato, and spicy beer mustard on Italian bread). The sandwiches were so huge, I could hardly fit it in my mouth. You’ve got to make a stop there if you’re ever in Greenwood or near any of their locations at least once in your life.           

I headed over to my parents with Rocko after we got home from Greenwood for a little pool and relaxation time. It was a perfect day to lounge in the pool and the water felt great. I’m always very grateful that my parents let us enjoy their pool and are always willing to share an afternoon with us. We capped off our amazing day watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Life in Pieces on Netflix, enjoying a root beer float and a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. Here’s hoping for many more amazing summer weekends just like this!

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