The key to succeed at nutrition — or anything really — is to be prepared. Whether you want to lose fat, gain muscle, eat for performance or health, it’s infinitely harder to succeed without food in the fridge. That’s why meal prep is so important to this process. But, no one wants to spend a large chunk of their Sunday grocery shopping, seasoning, marinating, sautéing, grilling, so on and so forth. So, here’s how to get meal prep done in an hour.
Step 1: Plan the week
Choose two proteins, two starchy carbs, and two veggies that you want to eat this week. To get everything done in an hour, I suggest you make do the following:
- PROTEIN – Chicken breast & lean ground beef
- CARBS – Rice & sweet potato
- VEGGIES – Brussels sprouts & broccoli
So, lunch for the week would be ground beef, rice, and brussels sprouts, and dinner would be chicken, sweet potato, and broccoli. This strategy also makes it super easy to track meals. Add sources of fat as needed (drizzle with olive oil, add cheese, sour cream, avocado, nuts, etc.)
Step 2: Prepare chicken and sweet potatoes
- Turn the oven to 425 degrees and let it pre-heat as you prep.
- Line two large pans with aluminum foil and spray lightly with olive oil (Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray).
- Place cleaned chicken breast on a pan and season both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any sort of dry rub (like this Mesquite Rub).
- Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil, poke a couple of holes in each, then place on pan next to chicken breast. (If sweet potatoes are big, cut in half to ensure they cook through relatively quickly).
- Put into the oven and let them cook for 40-45 minutes.
Step 3: Prepare veggies
- Chop broccoli in florets and cut stems from brussels sprouts and cut each in half.
- On second aluminum foil lined pan, place the broccoli and brussels sprouts on each side of the pan. Make sure they are spread evenly.
- Spray lightly with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
- Put into the oven with chicken and sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes. You want the veggies to be slightly undercooked so they are still crunchy when you reheat them.
Step 4: Prepare rice and ground beef
- While everything is cooking away in the oven, start preparing the rice.
- Rinse away the starch and start preparing the rice according to package instructions. I usually make jasmine rice, so I start by rinsing it until the water runs clear. Then, I put in about 1.5 cups of rice and then almost 3 cups water into a medium saucepan (with about a teaspoon of salt) and bring to a boil. The, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until rice is cooked through.
- While the rice cooks, spray a nonstick pan lightly with olive oil spray and put over medium-high heat. Put in ground beef and season with salt, pepper, and reduced sodium taco seasoning (like this). Break up with the side of a wooden spoon until cooked through.
Step 5: Store food and clean up
- Once the veggies, sweet potatoes, rice, and ground beef cool, store them in glass containers and put them in the fridge. Leave the chicken for last (allowing them to rest keeps the chicken breasts juicy).
- Slowly peel the aluminum foil from the two pans and roll them into a ball and throw them in the trash. Rinse the pans with water. Then, you’ll only have the saucepan, nonstick pan, and cutting board left to wash.