Meal Prep Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

 

If there’s one thing that’s going to make or break your transformation success, it’s preparation. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” With this in mind, we built the TRANSFORM app to help guide your nutrition, and it’s filled with recipes, suggested meals, shopping list, and tips. 

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There’s a method to the meal prep madness. When work and family keep you busy during the week, having meal prep in place allows you to have a successful week of staying on target with your nutrition. And it’s the most powerful tool to ensure nutrition consistency and get you the fastest results! When they say, “Abs are made in the kitchen,” they mean it! With healthy, nutritious meals prepped for the moment hunger strikes, your amazing transformation results are inevitable!

Meal prep doesn’t need to be complicated—it can be as quick and as simple as you want, so don’t overthink it. With practice, patience, and consistency, it gets easier and easier. Before you know it, it will become second nature, and you’ll get into a groove that works best for you! Meal prep is empowering and efficient, giving you the power to choose healthy snacks and meals when you’re hungry as well as saving you time in the long run. You’ll find yourself worrying less about squeezing time into your busy day to prepare healthy meals from scratch, and they’ll be ready to go the moment you need them. Here’s my quick and easy guide to Meal Prep 101:

Why Meal Prep?

  • Less cheating! You’ll have accessible, healthy, delicious meals ready to roll the second you need them.
  • It saves you money on eating out and from wasting money on groceries you don’t use.
  • It creates healthy habits and provides structure to your week for you and your family.
  • Setting aside time to meal prep slows you down and allows you to be intentional about your goals and what you’re fueling your body with! It keeps your goals at the forefront of your mind, and it’s an investment in YOU. And carving out that time keeps you more accountable.

How to Meal Prep:

  • Pick your days ahead of time! If you carve out the days and time in your week, you’re more likely to hold yourself to it. Put a reminder in your phone’s calendar, set an alarm, or put a sticky note on your mirror if you need to—whatever it takes to get you in the habit of planning ahead.
  • Know your numbers and plan your menu. If you’re carb cycling, know what days of the week are high carb, low carb, or reward. Put it on paper and hang it up where you can see the plan.
  • Stick with your basics! Yes, those fancy meal prep ideas you see on Pinterest are tantalizing, and if you have time to take it to the next level like that, go for it! But sometimes that can be overwhelming, and it can end up keeping you from starting the process in the first place. When you keep it simple and focus on the basics, you can really set yourself up for true transformation success! Even if it’s just some slow cooker chicken, lean ground turkey, brown rice, quinoa, roasted veggies—you’ve got all you need.
  • Once you know what’s on your menu, sit down and make a list of all of the ingredients you’ll need and head on over to the grocery store! Sometimes making your grocery list can be overwhelming (especially if you’re always on the go), but don’t let that few minutes of planning stop you. The TRANSFORM App loads a grocery list for you once you select from the menu options to keep it super easy and consistent!
  • Now let’s talk containers. Stock up on food storage containers you’re excited about it and make sure you have containers of all shapes and sizes on hand to prep your meals for the week. It’s like investing in cute fitness apparel to get you excited about hitting your workouts hard, and let’s be honest here—is there really any better investment you could make than in your health?! The organization and handiness of good storage containers is priceless and motivates you to stick to your plan. Stick to your plan, and you’re that much closer to reaching your transformation goals!

 Here are some of my favorite prep tools:

Quick and Easy Tips:

  • Cook hard-boiled eggs in the oven.
  • Peel, chop, cut, and spiralize all vegetables.
  • Boil, grill, barbecue, and boil all of your meats and eggs. Flavor them using seasonings you choose or sauces from your recipes.
  • Steam, bake, or roast all starches, seasoning them however you like. To save on time, roast starches and veggies with the same cooking time at the same time.
  • Make portions clear by portioning snacks into plastic baggies or portable jars instead of eating from the bag. It’s easy to mindlessly munch!

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What to Prep:

  • Lean meats: Ground turkey, slow cooker chicken, grilled chicken, salmon, tilapia, lean cuts of steak, etc.
  • Complex carbs: Jasmine rice, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, brown rice pasta, etc.
  • Veggies: Broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, mixed veggies, stir fry veggies, snap peas, zucchini, butternut squash, etc.

And once you have it all prepped, look how pretty and organized your fridge becomes!

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Food prep allows you to waste less and eat healthier, and it motivates you to keep going on your journey. What are your top food prep tips and tricks?

Xoxo,

Heidi

P.S. — Abs are made in the kitchen, and meal prep gets you towards that goal, which is why we’ve put so much into the nutrition aspect of the TRANSFORM app (and why this is the second spot on the hunt).  Head to Instagram to GET PUMPED! It’ll take you on stroll with one of our favorite transformation journeys to date and send you to Clue #3! 

Related reading:

Grocery Shopping 101
The Extreme Cycle | Meal Planning Tips
4 Kitchen Must-Haves for Transformation Success
Kitchen Hacks: My Top Tips and Tricks!


78 Comments

  1. Lindylu - May 22, 2017

    Hi Heidi,
    i just started your Transform program last week and am struggling with the amount of food eaten during meals and snacks. For instance, I made the berry smoothie today, which is in the snack area, and it made almost 48oz. of smoothie. Am I supposed to consume all of this for a snack? Please let me know. Thanks again!

    • Team Powell - May 23, 2017

      Hi Lindylu: Welcome to Transform! It is VERY common to be surprised at the amount of food you should be eating to reach your goals! Most people have the misconception (and “old school” mentality) that you have to starve yourself to reach your goals—this is not the case at all. For our approach, we start you at the highest calorie intake possible to boost your metabolism and prime your body, then if you EVER plateau, the program will adjust your portions in a “step-down” manner, to maximize your results and keep you losing. This is transformation the way it SHOULD be done! Your meal plan is totally customized to you and your goals, and so you can feel confident that if you eat all of that delicious food, you will achieve your goals!

  2. Lucy - May 21, 2017

    May be a silly question but if I’m doing meal prep for the week is the goal to prep all items (cut, cook) and keep separate so they just need to be combined night befor or should we prepare them to either refrigerate and/or freeze?

    • Team Powell - May 22, 2017

      Hi Lucy: Great question! You can do whichever works for you! 🙂

  3. Jack Burton - May 17, 2017

    Hello I am trying to do the high protein low carb diet but was wondering about sodium. How much sodium should I be having per meal? Thank you so much

    • Team Powell - May 18, 2017

      Hi Jack: We recommend you intake no more than 2000mg of sodium per day. Hope that helps!

  4. DM - April 23, 2017

    How do you feel about high protein, low carb for women as opposed to carb cycling? Also, do you have a suggestion for estimating an appropriate number of calories per day divided amongst your macros?

    • Team Powell - April 24, 2017

      Hi DM: if you’re simply tracking macros, you only need to hit those macro targets every day, and you can divide those amongst your meals as you’d like. As far as high protein and low carb, we feel it is important to do both low carb and high carb days throughout your week. Your body does need carbs to not only be healthy but to help you achieve your goals as well. Hope that helps!

  5. Deb - April 17, 2017

    Loving the app! Can I ask what weight loss protein powder you recommend? I have one and it’s not a great tasting one. Do they all taste the same? Thanks.

    • Team Powell - April 18, 2017

      Hi Deb: For protein powders, we recommend low fat (less than 3g), low carb (less than 7g), with around 20-25g of protein per serving. Other than that, go with what you like best!

  6. Georgia - April 11, 2017

    I’m on my 2nd day on the app/program. When some of the meals say 3 slices of turkey breast or 3 slices of colby jack cheese, how many ounces should this be? I cut my own cheese from a small block and then there are deli slices of cheese that could get cut at various thicknesses. Is there some place that tells us how many ounces in the various items?

    • Team Powell - April 12, 2017

      Hi Georgia: For turkey slices, go for about .66 ounces each, and for cheese, about 3/4 ounce for each slice. Hope that helps!

  7. Deidre - April 7, 2017

    How often a week do you prep, and how long are each types of food good for in the fridge? If I can do more at once, I’d love to!

    • Team Powell - April 8, 2017

      Hi Deidre: Chris and Heidi meal prep a couple of times a week, and how long food will last depends on the food. Hope that helps!

  8. Bettt - April 2, 2017

    I just noticed my protein powder has 210 calories per scoop! Can you tell
    Me how many calories, carbs and proteins I need to look for in a powder?? Thanks!

    • Team Powell - April 2, 2017

      Hi Bettt: We recommend low fat (less than 3g), low carb (less than 7g), and around 20-25g of protein per serving. 🙂

    • Bettt - April 3, 2017

      How about calories? what should I be looking for in a protein powder calorie-wise?

    • Team Powell - April 3, 2017

      Hi Bettt: That answer can be tricky since powders can have varied amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. This might help: Each gram of protein or carb = 4 cals, and each gram of fat = 9 cals. So your powder could be anywhere from 80 cal/serving (if it has only protein and 0 carbs or fats), on up. The key is to look at the label for the macros rather than a calorie total.

    • Bettt - April 3, 2017

      Thank you! That was very helpful!

  9. Deb - March 29, 2017

    Hi Heidi and Chris
    I’m a big fan of your show. I want to start the transformation app but leave for Antigua Friday. How can I get through a holiday and not eat too much? We are not big drinkers anyway. Neither of us eat fish cos of allergies. I want to lose 2.5 stone over the next few months.

    Thanks for your help!

  10. Deb - March 29, 2017

    Hi Heidi and Chris
    I’m a big fan of your show. I want to start the transformation app but leave for Antigua Friday. How can I get through a holiday and not eat too much? We are not big drinkers anyway. Neither of us eat fish cos of allergies. I want to lose 2.5 stone over the next few months.

    Thanks for your help!

    Deb luxton

  11. Tammy - March 27, 2017

    Loaded the app this morning. Love all that it offers and am so grateful to you for doing it for all of us! My issue is that I’m totally overwhelmed and close to an anxiety attack over the meals. This is always my downfall. I need less choices. I saw that you suggested turkey burger, rice, marinara and veggies. But how much of each and how do you count it? I don’t see those meals in the app. Would it be high carb or low carb? I’m going to just pick a day of meals for high and low carb and eat the same thing for a while so I do t have so many choices.
    Also, do you have a recommendation for a WAY less expensive protein powder than the Bode products?
    Maybe your next project could be Transformation for Dummies!

    • Team Powell - March 27, 2017

      Hi Tammy: We’re working like crazy to add more meals to the app (especially quick prep and grab n’ gos), so stay tuned for those. You can totally repeat meals from day to day, and that can make things much easier too. For protein powders, Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, low-carb powders with around 20 grams of protein per serving. And please feel free to ask any more questions you have! 🙂

  12. Gloria.H - March 25, 2017

    Thank you I seen your reply back from yesterday thank you

  13. Natalie - March 24, 2017

    Hi Heidi! I love following you and your cute little family. Thanks for the inspiration 😀 I was wondering what are yours and Chris’s favorite meals on your low carb days? And what are some of your favorite ways to season your meat, starches and vegetables? I’d love product or recipe recommendations! Thanks so much!

  14. Betsy Laughter - March 23, 2017

    I’m in week 2 of my transformation and I feel amazing. I’m down 7.5 lbs which is absolute motivation to keep going. I’m a little confused about something though. Should my high carb days be 1500 or 1200 cal and what about the low carb days? Seems I saw something specific somewhere but I can’t find it and figured I go straight to the source.
    I’m so grateful for this opportunity!!!😃❤

    • Team Powell - March 23, 2017

      Hi Betsy: If you’re following the Extreme Cycle, your calories will be around 1500 on both low and high carb days. If you’re following any of the other cycles, you’ll eat 1200 cals on low carb days and 1500 cals on high carb days. And congratulations!!!

  15. Karie - March 21, 2017

    My question is (and this is why I’m afraid of meal prep): If you are prepping all of that food, How long will it last before it goes bad? It just seems like any time I prep something It’s inedible a few days later. So then I try to do it all fresh. The bad thing is when I go to do it fresh I’m so exhausted from the day and too tired to cook. So, its off to the drive thru we go. Which doesn’t make anything better. I have 5 kids. This is not how I want them to remember their childhood and these are not the habits I want them to grow up with. I want to eat healthy. I want them to eat healthy. I really need help with this. I have also bought the carb cycling book, the extreme transformation book, and one of the other books. I STILL struggle. I need real help not a recommendation to purchase something else. Last time I asked a question I was told to go buy a book. Please help.

    You make it look so easy. There are still things I don’t understand about meal prep. I hope one day I am as successful as you and Chris. My dream come true would be a few hours to meet you and get the help I need for food. My whole family suffers because I’m so clueless.

    So Long drawn out comment later . . . . How long will this prepped food from this post stay usable?

    • Team Powell - March 22, 2017

      Hi Karie: Thank you so much for your comment! I’d start very small. Try prepping some veggies that you can eat throughout the week. It really is all about taking those baby steps when we’re trying to make a new habit. For some foods, like meats, it’s best to prep a couple of times a week, or you can also do a weekly prep and then freeze those meats for use later in the week if that would work better for you. Don’t try to take on prepping everything at once if that is too overwhelming (and believe me, you’re not alone there!), just do one thing at a time, and when you’re comfortable with that, then add another thing. And make the actual meal prep each day as easy as possible too: chicken, pre-cooked rice, and veggies is a great go-to meal example. Or turkey burger, rice, marinara, and veggies (that’s one of Chris and Heidi’s favorites). You can do this! 🙂

  16. MAGDALENA PEPLINSKA - March 21, 2017

    Hei Powell family 😊,You are wonderful people, browsing your web sites and watching the program we believe you we can lose weight …. the most mobilizing is,my husbend belive Chris if you somthing whant you have this… he have dream se you som day ,and I will do everything to fulfill his dreams, he fulfills ours, providing us with his family a decent life in Norway … love can do everything …. salute Poland family from Norway….

  17. Maggie - March 20, 2017

    When will the app be available?

    • Team Powell - March 21, 2017

      Hi Maggie: The app will be released on March 27th! 🙂

  18. Sandra - March 16, 2017

    What is first picture under your favorite tools?

    • Team Powell - March 16, 2017

      Hi Sandra: It’s a cutting board! If you click on the picture, you can get more info about this product. 🙂

  19. Amanda - March 16, 2017

    Sorry, was sick yesterday but it’s gotta be cutie Bruce.

  20. JALEEN SHIER - March 15, 2017

    BRUCE BRUCE BRUCE BRUCE!!!!

  21. Crystal - March 15, 2017

    I don’t have Instagram, so I can’t post there.. But Bruce ❤️

  22. Lucy Sanchez - March 15, 2017

    A day late but I think I Got it…Bruce

  23. Kendra - March 15, 2017

    My guess is Bruce

  24. Myrtle - March 15, 2017

    I can’t wait to use the app.
    How can I purchase the shakes ?

    • Team Powell - March 15, 2017

      Hi Myrtle: Here’s a link to the Bode Shakes: https://www.vemma.com/bode/. And in general, Chris and Heidi recommend low-carb, low-fat protein powders with around 20 grams of protein per serving. Other than that, choose those that you like best! 🙂

  25. Myrtle - March 15, 2017

    I can’t edit for the app. I have 7 stones I lose. Where can I purchase the shakes that Chris and Heidi promote ?

    I’m not sure how to play the hunt 🙁

  26. Stefanie Chapa - March 14, 2017

    This is all such great info. I LOVE to cook but meal prep always seems to overwhelm me so thank you for breaking it down a bit more!

    And it is Definitely Bruce!!!

  27. Michelle - March 14, 2017

    My guess is Bruce 😊

  28. Alyssa - March 14, 2017

    I’m gonna go with Bruce! He is one of my favorite transformations and continues to inspire people to get fit and healthy.

  29. DMac - March 14, 2017

    This is awesome!!!

  30. MamaCash62 - March 14, 2017

    It’s gotta be Bruce! I can’t “weight” to see if I’m right……..

  31. Wendy Baker - March 14, 2017

    Ok. My last post here. I cheated a bit and read the other comments and am going to go with Bruce Pitcher💖
    Now I can rest. Lol

  32. Wendy Baker - March 14, 2017

    Is it Jamie? I swear I heard it on Dr Oz or The Drs? Funny but the last few months every time I turned on the TV I was delighted to see you and Chris. I tried to look in the archives but couldn’t find the segment. I’ll have to wait! In the meantime, I hit the gym twice today! My mojo is coming back and I’m committed now💖 Ps. Just ordered the Perfectly Imperfect T-Shirt! 💖
    I’m diving into all the fabulous information you and Chris have on social media. Yippie!

  33. Amanda - March 14, 2017

    I’m so excited for this. Can a person on a limited budget do this. I have about 60/month for groceries

  34. Jessica Bryan - March 14, 2017

    “Get Pumped” is a Bruce Pitcher quote…so I’m going to go with my guess that it’s going to be about Bruce! ❤

  35. Crystal - March 14, 2017

    All the yes!! ❤️

  36. Karen - March 14, 2017

    My dad had surgery today, so I thought about and planned out my snacks and meals before I came to the hospital. It worked out great! I am traveling calories (for now – can’t wait to Transform!! 😀) so I’m right on track for today.

  37. Sarah - March 14, 2017

    This is so exciting!

  38. Amanda Morris - March 14, 2017

    Yeay. Love this and the scavenger hunt too 😀🙌🏼🙌🏼

  39. Wendy Baker - March 14, 2017

    Is it Sarah Nicole? I love her story.

  40. Melissa - March 14, 2017

    I’m nervous because I always screw things up. (Nutrition) however, the App seems to be user friendly. I’ve already downloaded the App. I can’t wait for it to be released.

  41. Samantha - March 14, 2017

    I am so excited to add to my program and get some results

  42. Wendy Brennan - March 14, 2017

    I am doing the scavenger hunt buying the app (unless I win 3 months) and also sharing with friends and family that I think will benefit from this app 🙂

  43. Lucy Sanchez - March 14, 2017

    Nutrition is important

  44. Lucy Sanchez - March 14, 2017

    David he is the first Transformation

  45. Bronwyn - March 14, 2017

    I am so excited for the app to come out!! I will check back daily! This is perfect timing. 🙂

  46. Jennifer - March 14, 2017

    Looking forward to tomorrow!
    😉

  47. Jaci - March 14, 2017

    Thanks for the tips..meal prep is one of the things I hate most! I think I over think it!!

  48. April Sherlock - March 14, 2017

    Is Jacqui McCoy one of your favorites? Cause shes Mine!

  49. Sandra - March 14, 2017

    Great tips, so excited for this app!

  50. Cris - March 14, 2017

    Sounds like something Bruce would say! Cant wait

  51. Wendy Baker - March 14, 2017

    This is exactly what I needed. I was so lost with the food aspect and kept falling down the Google rabbit hole trying to figure it out!💖💖💖

    • Stephanie - March 14, 2017

      I am with you about the rabbit hole…so overwhelmed, need a good place that I can follow…kids in college, hubby works til 9…I’m ready!

  52. Kellen - March 14, 2017

    Great tips!
    I do not have fb or Instagram so I just have a question about the transform app.
    Is this a gym based app or can all of the workouts be done at home?
    I do not have a gym membership and really don’t have time to go to one either. I have been working out at home with minimal equipment (i.e. Exercise ball, dumbbells and chairs for box jumps) for a few years now doing mostly circuit workouts and whatever crossfit workouts I see that I can do at home, but have been going through a major plataue for months now.
    I’m really excited about the app but worried about needing to have gym equipment.

    • Jeanette - March 14, 2017

      You can search the you tube videos for more info, but they state you can donwith body weight…or if you want to do the physique plan you only need a box and a pull up bear. I think you’re set with what you already have.;)

    • Donna - March 15, 2017

      They said all the workouts are body weight workouts and can be done anywhere!! So excited!

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