If I had to start dinner from scratch every night, I wouldn’t cook. At least not every night! And that’s coming from someone who loves to cook. The boys starving, grabbing for chips or old Halloween candy while I stare into the fridge with absolutely no idea what to make is no fun. With a little meal planning and prepping, you can save yourself (or at least mostly) from the dreaded dinner drama and fatigue. Shopping for and making dinner can already feel overwhelming sometimes. Add counting macros on top of it, and you might just want to raise the white flag. That’s why I love to batch-prep proteins and sauces to make my life easier all week long! You can get super organized and plan exactly what’s for dinner every night. But if you DON’T, at least you have the most important part of the meal ready to go. Here are my 3 steps to macro-focused meal prepping 101…
#1 Choose One or Two Proteins to Prep
The first step is to pick a protein to prep. Whether that’s flank steak, ground beef, chicken, pulled pork, turkey meatballs, etc. The options are endless–just choose one (or maybe two) your family really likes!
If you want some good protein ideas, my blog is filled with them like this honey chipotle chicken. So good.
Of course, if you don’t feel like prepping a protein, a rotisserie chicken from Costco can also work in a pinch. I love buying the big bags of already pulled chicken, sorting through it to get rid of the gross stuff, and voila–I have perfectly prepped protein that I can use especially in soups, casseroles, pastas, etc. It’s definitely an easy option for when time’s short.
For more details on how I use the rotisserie chicken during the week, you can check out the caption on this reel here.
#2 Pick 1-2 Sauces to Use Throughout the Week
Not to be dramatic, but sauces are EVERYTHING when it comes to macro-counting. I feel like having yummy, low-cal sauces to work with is key to not feeling ripped off if you’re trying to keep things light.
They make everything taste so fresh and delicious. My family always keeps macro-friendly sauces on hand–and the homemade sauces are what really makes it. There are good store-bought options too! But by whipping up sauces at home, you can really keep them light, and still full of flavor.
My blog has a lot of homemade sauces like this Macro-friendly Cilantro Pepita sauce. My family uses it on everything–salads, tacos, sandwiches, bowls, etc. There are no rules at our house.
Get the list of some of my favorite macro-friendly sauces here. If you like recipes like these ones, make sure to join my email list, so you never miss a recipe!
After you get the protein and the sauce, it’s time to make a solid meal plan.
#3 Build Your Meal Plan
When it comes to building your meal plan, you can be as specific as you want. You can plan a dinner or two, and then use leftovers for the rest of the week to throw together meals like tacos or bowls to fill in the gaps. Or, you can plan out every day leaving nothing out. Whatever works best for you and your family!
I do have a magnetic weekly meal planner available to purchase on my website to make things a little easier. It has enough pages to last you the entire year, keeps your grocery list organized by sections of the store, and it’s perforated so you can tear it off and take it shopping with you if you’d like.
With your proteins and sauces in mind, you can start to build your own meal plans.
For example, you might decide to prep this amazing flank steak–a favorite at my house. Then, you can eat it in these yummy pitas one night, and then use it in this Steak and Arugula salad the next. You can prep a yummy green sauce and have flank steak tacos if you still have leftover meat. Or you can prep extra romesco sauce from your pitas, and use your second prepped protein like chicken to make this Easy Romesco Chicken Salad. The options are endless.
Quick Pro-tip: if you only want to eat one protein for about 2-3 meals, then you can freeze a portion of the protein for meals the following week. That way no protein goes to waste, but you don’t get sick of a certain kind of meat. It’s like a meal–prepping for future you!
You don’t have to macro-count to meal prep this way, but it can make macro-counting so much easier. If you’re still not sure about how macros work, then you can read this blog post here.
Macro-Focused Meal Planning 101
If you want some more ideas, you can get the best ideas from my cookbook Planned. Planned was based on 6 weekly meal plans with additional meals to throw in as needed. Each week included two meals, breakfast, lunch, and a grocery list. I’ve taken the hard work out for you and made it as easy as possible.
Plus, all my cookbooks including Planned, have all the macros done for you. Each recipe is calculated, measured, and added to My Fitness Pal, Lose It, and Macros First for you already. You can shop all my cookbooks here!