Meal Prep.

Pros: Meal
Cons: Prep

Lol. Do you feel the same way?

Meal prepping is finding recipes, making grocery lists, buying ingredients, and then prepping and assembling that recipe ahead of time. 

Here’s the thing for many of us, though: It takes a lot of time to research recipes. It takes a lot of time to shop just those ingredients. It takes a lot of time to prep. Often, not everyone in the household likes the same things. And we’re restricted to what’s on the menu when sometimes, you’re no longer in the mood to have it.

Enter: Food Prepping.

Food prepping is picking whole food ingredients categorized by Macros(macronutrients): Smart Carbs (those carbs that have more fiber and overall nutrition), ProteinVeggies and Healthy Fats. Think 1-2-3-4.

Pick 1-2 Smart Carbs like quinoa or sweet potatoes or cut up fruit.
Pick 3 Proteins like chicken, boiled eggs and ground beef.
Pick 4 or more Veggies like asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers and spaghetti squash.
Keep a few healthy fats on hand like avocados, raw nuts or unsweetened coconut flakes.

Then, prepare the foods by batch cooking them – the crockpot and instantpot are wonderful for this! Throw 3 lbs of frozen chicken in the crockpot and you’ve got shredded chicken for the week. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and toss veggies with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to roastat 400 until tender and browned and voila, veggies are ready. Throw some sweet potatoes in instant pot for 18 minutes and you’ll have those smart carbs ready to refuel you after your workout.

(If we’re really short on time, we focus only on the Protein and Veggie prep, as these are two of the bigger influencers of healthy body composition and Carbs and Fats are more easy to come by naturally.)

After you’ve prepped the food items, store them individually in your fridge (we like these clear glass containers to make them visually appealing) for grab-and-go style meals. Simply mix and match these core Macro ingredients and make mini-meals out of them all week. You can be as creative as you’d like – salads, scrambles, a little bit of this or that, according to what sounds good that day and it takes just seconds to assemble on a plate or to-go container. 

We like to sprinkle different spices on our assembled plates to well, spice it up a little, or add dressings or sauces to change the flavor profile and keep the taste buds happy. 

Does this mean we never Meal Prep? No, not at all – it’s definitely a wonderful habit – but we find this Food Prep Method is even more helpful because: 

1. It’s perfect for those with full schedules
2. It’ll help prevent food boredom
3. It takes away the paralysis by analysis we often experience when trying to sort through recipes and plan meals for the week

How about you? Does this Food Prep vs Meal Prep philosophy resonate with you? We hope it changes your nutrition life much like it did ours! 

Happy Eating! 

Jess + Team Valeo

Here’s a few of this week’s Mix and Match meal ingredients! Ground Beef from Primal Roots Farms (with spices added), Apple Oat Muffins, Shredded and Chopped Veggies to add to salads and scrambles, Baked Chicken Legs, Roasted Asparagus and Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower Bites with turmeric and other spices, Roasted Beets, Caramelized Red Onion and Sliced Bell Peppers, Shredded Pork Tenderloin from the instant pot. 

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