Welcome to my new meal plan + prep posts! I’m super excited about them because I think it can really help so many of you plus, it helps me remain compliant and stay accountable – a total win win! 😀
What is meal prepping?
Meal prepping is the action of making whole meals ahead of time, particularly meals that are compliant with a specific diet program. It’s a wonderful way to stay on point with nutrition goals because it avoids ever being caught unprepared.
I only meal prep for one week at a time because pretty much anyone can commit to something for 7 days. Completing one week of AIP is a much easier goal to accomplish than, say, 90 days. Baby steps here, people. Weeks add up to months! While having goals with the Autoimmune Protocol is important, it’s equally as important not to look too far into the future..
…just get through one week.
Step 1: Pick Recipes + Make Meal Plan
For this week, I have two recipes picked out for breakfast, two for lunch and two for dinner and will just alternate them all. I don’t have a new dish every single meal. That’s expensive and a bit unrealistic. 😉
Want a meal plan calendar? I’m obsessed with these Meal Plan & Habit Tracker worksheets because they’re an extremely helpful tool for tracking progress! It helps me literally see each week that I’m getting closer and closer to my health and nutrition goals. Delicious meals are easily penciled in and organized which, when paired with weekly meal prepping, takes the time, energy and brain work out of what to eat each day. (This aspect of the tracker is particularly exciting for those in the elimination phase of AIP because meals can be difficult to plan when grinding through the detox phase.)
Side note, I prefer to print all the recipes I pick out so that I have them in front of me as I’m cooking. I’ve started a binder for all my printed recipes and meal plan/habit tracker sheets. It’s a great way to stay prepared and organized. Plus, if I don’t like a recipe, I toss it. The binder only contains recipes I love!
Here’s what’s on my menu…
Step 2: Compile Ingredients List + Shop
After my recipes are printed, I flip through them all and write up a complete grocery list of absolutely everything I need. This takes a bit of time since I go through my cupboards and write down any spices, herbs, flours or other ingredients I’ll need. This process is best started days before the day everything is cooked.
So, typically, if I plan on preparing the meals on Saturday, I’ll pick out and start my shopping list the Wednesday before, if not sooner. I’ll then go out and purchase all my needed ingredients on Friday so it’s all ready to go for Saturday morning.
Step 3: Prepare the Meals
This is a time consuming but oh so rewarding process. I’d much rather spend six hours cooking all in one day than have to do more than just warm something up on each day of the week.
Having a meal plan and then *actually* prepping it helps me stay compliant before work so even if I’m running late, all I need to do is warm my breakfast up. It helps me stay compliant at work (even on days where food is brought in for everyone) because I pick recipes that are delicious to me. AND meal prepping keeps me compliant after work when I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking. If you haven’t started doing this yet, you really should.
Tips for prep day…
- Start with a tidy kitchen. It’s much easier to cook when all your kitchen gadgets, pots, pans and utensils are ready to use. Additionally, remove extra clutter from the counter-tops. Trust me, you’ll need all the space you can get.
- Prepare all ingredients before beginning the recipe. So, get everything chopped, get your spice jars out, measuring devices and anything else needed for that particular recipe. (I save so much time by using my handy food chopper. It takes mere minutes to chop multiple recipes worth of produce and powers through things like sweet potatoes, rutabagas and carrots like it’s nothing. It’s an AIP-ers dream!)
- Wash dishes as you go. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed after all the meals are prepared. The last thing anyone wants to do after marathon cooking is to tackle a mountain of dirty dishes.
Step 4: Portion Meals Out
Lastly, portion meals into portable containers. I love using pint size mason jars for soups (with the white lids since they don’t rust out) and meal prep containers for most other dishes. It makes them super easy to grab and go. Also, I just store my breakfast foods in ziploc bags. 😀
The first three days worth of food gets stored in my fridge and the rest in the freezer to ensure everything stays fresh. Then, the evening before I need a meal, I’ll pull it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge.
If you want to see more Meal Plan posts, simply “Like” my Facebook page! It would also help me reach others in need of AIP if you would share this post or pin it on Pinterest.
Happy meal prepping, fellow AIP-ers! ♥
Onion Chopper Pro Vegetable Chopper by Mueller – I cannot recommend this tool enough!
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