Wellness

How to Meal Prep for the Week in Less Than an Hour

Nicole LoherВ is a triathlete, Adidas ambassador, and all-around fitness guru all while balancing a badass day job in the fashion industry (and several side gigs to boot). Needless to say, she's an inspiration in the art of hustling-and she's totally game to share her knowledge. Follow her columnВ Part-Time AthleteВ for her expert advice on everything from establishing a training regimen to finding early-morning gym motivation. Below, she shares how sheВ plans her meals for an entire week-inВ less than an hour.

Stocksy/Suzanne Clements

Did you know nearly 40% of food in the US is thrown away? In 2016, my biggest resolution was to waste less food for a few reasons. One: to save money. Two: to be better to the environment. And three: to have a plan of what I needed for the week so I could stick to my diet and avoid mindlessly grazing on my roommate's Wheat Thins. Since then, I've only dialed this in more and more to the point where myself and my significant other eat every meal at home with the exception of one meal that's eaten as a “treat meal.”

In the last two years, I really feel like I've mastered the art of meal planning. Try these five steps below to get your meal prep down in under an hour.

Stocksy/Suzanne Clements

Step 1: Map out your week before you go shopping

First, make it a priority to spend some time sitting down before you go to the grocery store to map out what your week ahead looks like. This way, you won't haphazardly purchase items that would easily go to waste. Below is a sample of how I simply break out my days to get an idea of where I'll be when, and identifying how many meals I'll need:

Monday

6В a.m.: Hour workout at gym
8В a.m. - 6 p.m.: Work
6 p.m.: Event for work

6В a.m.: Hour workout at gym
8В a.m. - 6 p.m.: Work
6 p.m.: Event for work

5:30 a.m.: Hour workout at gym
8 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Work
7:30 p.m.: Company summer party

Tuesday

5:30 a.m.: Hour workout at gym
8 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Work
7:30 p.m.: Company summer party

Step 2: Based on that agenda, figure out how many meals you'll actually need to plan for

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By looking at that schedule I can identify aВ couple things as it relates to the meals ahead:

1.В В I won't be home for breakfast at all, so I'll need to think of a breakfast that's portable or I can eat when I get to the office.

2.В В I don't have any lunch meetings, so I'll need to make sure I'm planning to bring my own lunch everyday.

And it looks like I won't be home for dinner at all this week, so there's no need to plan for that.

Step 3: Plan out your meals

After identifying the meals and key events, work to figure out the best meal for each situation and in general, what you want to eat that week. To keep costs down, aim to buy what's in season and try to double up on meals as much as possible. Personally, I've adopted “eat the same meal everyday for an entire week” plan, but if that's too extreme for you try starting with two of the same meal for two consecutive days. Below is my menu for Monday through Wednesday based on the information above:

Breakfast:В Roasted sweet potatoes, hard boiled eggs, avocado
Snack:В Protein Bar
Lunch: 85g sautГ©ed bell peppers, 4oz ground turkey and avocado over a bed of spinach
Snack: Apple and almond butter
Dinner:В (out)

Step 4: Make your grocery list

Don't be afraid to be exact. Based on the above, this is what my three-day meal prep would look like:

- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 carton of eggs
- 2 avocados
- 2 bell peppers
- 12oz ground turkey
- A medium carton or bag of spinach
- 3 apples
- A jar of almond butter
- 3 protein Bars

Step 5: Schedule time for the actual meal prep

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Now that you've planned it all out, it should be a breeze. Here's an example based on my sample three-day plan:

- Roast sweet potatoes at 190 degrees until done.
- Hard boil eggs.
- Pre-section almond butter into little containers.
- Pre-pack three days of spinach as a bed of salad.
- SautГ©e bell peppers and ground turkey in olive oil. Once cool, partition alongside spinach.
- Organise and put eggs, avocados, apples and protein bars in a familiar place so they're easy to grab and go.

- Roast sweet potatoes at 190 degrees until done.
- Hard boil eggs.
- Pre-section almond butter into little containers.
- Pre-pack three days of spinach as a bed of salad.
- SautГ©e bell peppers and ground turkey in olive oil. Once cool, partition alongside spinach.
- Organise and put eggs, avocados, apples and protein bars in a familiar place so they're easy to grab and go.

While this process may require a bit more thought than what you're doing now by just acting on instinct, trust me when I say your sanity, nutrition goals and bank account will definitely thank you once you get into the swing ofВ it.