How to meal prep like a boss (and why you should)

By Lisa O’Neill

Have you ever started preparing for dinner with a Bodies By Ryan HIIT class induced hunger and before it hits the table, you’ve cleared out half your cupboard of its snacks? I dismissed food prep for a very long time because I’m a foodie who loves freshly cooked meals sizzling out of the pan and crisp salad veggies – how the heck is that achieved four days in? Even BBR head trainer Ryan Devereux admits zucchini three days in a slimy nightmare.

However, there’s a reason why those who have nailed their 30 Day Challenges and life in general are meal prepping like the freaking kings and queens that they are. So, I spoke to two of BBR’s queens Chantal and Tiffany about why they choose to spend a couple of hours on the weekend in the kitchen, what they’re making and whether it’s possible to make it taste good a few days in.

BBR’s Turmeric and Coconut Chicken Bowl is perfect for preparing ahead

BBR’s Turmeric and Coconut Chicken Bowl is perfect for preparing ahead

Why we meal prep

When someone with washboard abs tells you they were made in the kitchen, you sit up damn straight and listen! While Tiff admits they’re not her favourite hours of the week, for the past six months it’s been a necessary evil to set her up to get THAT bod. 

“I’ll be totally honest, I actually hate doing the prep – it sucks!” Tiff admits. “But I love the feeling when it’s finished and I know I am prepped and organised for the week.”

Here are the top reasons to prep;

1.   Goalsssss:“Meal prepping ensures I have healthy, nutritious meals for myself, my husband and two adult sons because if it isn’t here, it’s always easy to grab crap food that’s got buger all nutritional value,” Chantal says. “By meal prepping, I know exactly what’s in my food.”

2.   Time saving:“With two businesses to run and a busy lifestyle, if I don’t meal prep it adds hours to my week,” Chantal says.  

3.   Save dollars:“I love meal prep because I don’t waste food, you’re buying the correct amount you need to match your macros and there’s no sneaky mid-week take out because you don’t want to waste the food you spent ages prepping,” Tiff says. 

4.   Family time:With two adult sons, Chantal has some pretty skilled helpers but insists meal prep assistance can work with small kids too.

“It’s great bonding time for my family, we all know what’s on the agenda and whoever gets home first get’s on with heating it up or any finishing touches,” Chantal says. “If you have younger kids, get them involved with peeling, washing or bagging the veggies!”

 

How we meal prep

These girls don’t go by halves. Tiff says for her and her husband, there are 65 to 70 meals made on a Sunday morning to get them through a whole week.

“I know a lot of people prep for half the week and then do another half on Wednesday but I personally think you’re setting yourself up to fail,” Tiff suggests. “For me, I would get to Wednesday and wouldn’t be bothered and that’s when I would fall off the wagon.”

“We do ours on Sunday for the full week too,” Chantal agrees. “It makes life so much easier for us all.”

Sounds a bit daunting, right? Here’s how they make it work;

1.   Set aside a time that works for you: Tiff and her husband cook Sunday morning and plan all the fun things for when they’ve finished to keep them on track. “Our general rule is we can’t do anything fun on Sunday until prep is done!”
For Chantal, being in the kitchen is enjoyable. So she also preps Sunday and makes sure she has two to three hours aside to be productive.

2.   Online shopping: To save even more time, Chantal spends 30-minutes on meal planning and then orders the ingredients online.
“This helps me ensure I only buy what I have planned for the week ahead and I think it saves big dollars from impulse buys,” Chantal says. 

3.   Make it freezer-friendly: Sadly, salad doesn’t cooperate with the freezer so most prep meals you make should be cooked vegetables. Tiff makes enough so she can eat fresh for three days and freeze the rest.

“I like to be able to grab a meal and throw it in the microwave so it’s ready to go,” Tiff says. 
Chantal even preps meat in bulk, slicing chicken breasts thinly and keeping what she needs for the week and freezing the rest flat in snaplock bags.

“Then if we need a spur of the moment meal or a burger, voila! It’s pull out of the freezer and we do the same for meatballs and homemade burgers,” Chantal suggests.

4.   Make it delicious: Funnily enough, we’re more likely to eat the food we’ve prepared if we like it! The BBR recipe book has plenty of ace suggestions, otherwise Chantal suggests lots of herbs and spices, good colour combinations (“it should look good too,” Chantal says) and if all else fails, just add chilli.

5.   Tupperware is your new best friend: To make life simple, Tiff says they have meals portioned in separate containers.
“Also, make sure you separate the food which might sound stupid, but it looks much nicer than throwing it all in,” Tiff suggests. 

6.   Veggie life: Even salads can be prepped, according to Chantal. 
“I wash and prep ALL vegetables when I get them home from online shopping,” Chantal says. “I then slice, dice or chop them based on what we’re having and snaplock bag them and pop them into the fridge – even onions diced and bagged saves so much time if you want to cook something fresh, having the veggies sorted in advance makes a big difference.” 

 

BONUS TIPS

Ryan’s partner Jay fills us in on how the dream team make it work at home.

1.   Discipline and consistency is key for our progress, so our meals are very simple during the day and are all made during our weekend meal prep.

2.   For evening meals, we like to change it up so we choose three recipes from the BBR cookbook that will feed us for two nights each. We both get in the kitchen at night and the cookbook has us excited about working with flavours other than sweet potato, beans and minced beef! Then on the seventh night, we have our date night. (Romance, yesss).

3.   We’re all about herbs and spices, the fresher the better although dried have their place too. Spring onion is our secret ingredient for a lot of meals!

 

We hope you took something out of our pros’ tips on what works for them in the kitchen. Please let us know if Chantal, Tiff or Jay’s tips made the difference to you slaying your own food prep. Alternatively, we are always seeking out meal prep inspo, so if you have some ace wizardry skills in the kitchen, please share them with us in the comments. 

Lisa O'Neill