Let’s continue with the meal prep basics. In the last post, I wrote about my mental preparation and what steps I take to prepare for meal prepping. In this post, I will discuss the steps I take for the actual meal prep, such as keeping track of macros and nutrients, grocery list, time management and storage management. I will also include some of my favorite resources and inspiration when it comes to preparing meals in advance. So let’s get started!
Meal prep basics – Calculating calorie intake, macros and nutrients
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- Calories intake – Calories scare me. Like, really scare me. I don’t have time for that. And when it comes to meal prep it scares me even more. The thought of constantly having to calculate how much of what I need to put in my body is exhausting. Fortunately, smarter people than me have figured out ways to make things easier for us. My go to is Autumn Calabrese container system. Now, although it might need some tweaks, especially for diabetics, it is by far one of the best ways for me personally to have my eating habits in check. You can buy them along with her fitness system, or buy them separately on eBay or Amazon. Also, Autumn is starting a new program in January called 80 days obsession, which will probably use an even better container system, so check it out for more information. I believe there will be a free trial run before the actual launch so you can take a look for yourself. But, let’s go back to what it actually does.
I made a cheat sheet earlier in the year that breaks the down the container system for those of you (us) who can’t afford the get the containers, along with calorie intake calculator. It is really simple to use, and it will help you immensely when it comes to calorie intake.
- What are macros – when you start reading about a healthy diet suddenly you hear the word ‘macro’ everywhere. What exactly is a macro? Our bodies function on a certain type of fuel. This fuel consists of three main components: carbs, protein and fat.And each should be taken regularly, since in a longer run if you miss one, the system will not work properly. There are numerous articles out there of what the ratio of each should be in our system, but I hold that for my body the perfect system is: 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat. I keep lower on the fat because of my blood pressure, but the ratio is adjustable. What you want to aim for is 30-60% carbs, 10-35%protein, 10-35%fat. How to calculate macros within your daily caloric intake? It is not hard. Let’s say you are eating a diet consisting of 1800 calories with a ratio of 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat:
- Carbs (50%): 1,800 calories/day x 0.50 = 900 calories per day. Divide 900 by 4 to get the amount of grams of carbs daily. In this case it would be 225 grams of carbs.
- Protein (30%): 1,800 calories/day x 0.30 = 540 calories/day. Divide 540 by 4 to get the amount of protein daily. In this case it is 135 grams.
- Fat (20%): 1,800 calories/day x 0.20 = 360 calories/day. Divide 360 calories by 9 to get the approximate amount of fat daily. In this case it is 40 grams.
When it comes to macros the good news is nothing is really of limits. As long as it fits your macros you are pretty much set. However, you should think of nutrients or more specifically, micronutrients, which are vitamins, fibers and minerals.
Type 2 diabetes macros and nutrients
When it comes to type 2 diabetes and macronutrients, there are many studies which practically tell you different things. Some advocate for lower carbs intake, some for higher. I kind of went by the golden middle, by following a lower glycemic index foods. Most of my carbs intake is from food with lower glycemic index, such as various types of beans. When it comes to grains I try focusing more on whole grains as they give me less spikes in my sugar levels. This way I am keeping my sugar levels at a fairly same level throughout the day.
I divide my carbs intake on 5 times a day, three main meals and 2 snacks. Snacks usually involve one fruit, while lunch and dinner contain more vegetables. For this the container system mentioned above, along with food division plate you get a great idea of what you should be eating as well as the amount of it. Try these out yourself and see which helps you the best in controlling your eating habits.
Planning the meals and adjusting the grocery list
Once you have an idea of what you should put into your body and how much of it, you can start making your meal plan and subsequently your grocery list. When I do my meal prep I separate my list into my ‘macros’ categories, mainly into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Furthermore, my carbs list includes separate vegetables and fruit section. I plan out my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners as well as my snacks. You can find a grocery list sheet printable in my freebies section.
When planning your meals keep in mind the storage you have. My fridge is not really big so I can’t really put a huge amount of prepared meals in it. Now that you know the amount of macros you need daily, you can also calculate your weekly intake and do grocery shopping accordingly.
Resources to help you out
Beachbody meal prep recipes – I love this blog page as it has so so many awesome recipes and ideas you can use.
Chalene Johnson – I love Chalene Johnson’s take on the world. She covers many areas of life, and her advice and beautiful energy helped me immensely in so many areas of life. Although she does offer some paid programmes she does give wonderful tips for free through her podcast and posts.
Bahjeera on fatloss and caloric deficit – now, I play games, and follow one of the gamer streamers, Bajheera mainly for his gym stream videos. He is super inspiring and motivational and really explains things in very simple way. He probably has one of the best explanations of what a caloric deficit is and I highly recommend you check it out.