Meal Prep Ideas For Weight Loss

Chris Park , On April 23, 2022


Meal prep ideas for weight loss can be overwhelming. Good nutrition is regarded as the nutrition go-to for flat, washboard abs. Advocates praise weight loss meal prepping for allowing them to stay lean and taper their weight year round – all while saving time and money. But what exactly counts as weight loss meal prep, and is meal prep worth it?

When done right, meal prepping for weight loss can be one of the biggest factors helping you lose weight fast and hit your fitness goals. But it takes a little strategy to get it right and make weight loss meals that you will continue to enjoy for more than a few weeks. To help, we’ve compiled our favorite weight loss ideas for trimming your waist line.

What is Meal Prepping for Weight Loss?

Meal prepping for weight loss is macro-counting, portioning, and preparing all your meals in advance to fit your nutrition needs. The intention is of controlling calories and nutrition to meet personal dietary needs.
For example, meal prepping for weight loss could be making your salad the night before, cooking in batches, or pre-cooking all your weight loss recipes and portioning it out for the week. This is often done to control nutrition intake, cut calories, gain muscle, support workouts, etc.

Weight Loss Meal Prep Benefits

Weight loss diet plan benefits range from reduced cost, lower stress levels and more successful dieting. Taking control of your nutrition and the foods you’re eating is one of the best ways to make sure you are successful in your weight loss journey.
Having a weight loss meal prep plan in place will prevent you from making impulse decisions that could compromise your weight loss diet. And with research continuing to suggest that weight loss meal planning is associated with better nutrition and more nutrition compliance, it is definitely something worth considering if you are looking to keep fit.
Weight loss meal prepping also helps reduce anxiety that comes with trying to eat healthier. Not knowing what your next weight loss meal will be or whether or not it’s going to help your dietary weight loss goals can get overwhelming day after day and is a sure way to deviate from your diet.
Not to mention, your willpower need not be be tested, and even for those of us with the most mental toughness, we know avoiding temptations is better than trying to resist them.

Weight Loss Meal Prep Plan

Follow the basic steps for weight diet planning with this 1, 2,3:

How to meal prep for weight loss

Steps to meal prep for weight loss

  1. Nutrition Counseling: Calculate your daily caloric intake (how many calories you need) in your weight loss meal prep using the calorie calculator to make a diet plan. Learning what macros you need and how to read your nutrition labels can help you make informed decisions on what food to consume.

  2. Grocery list: You are now ready to go to the grocery store to begin executing your weight loss meal prep plan. Make sure you eat the rainbow to get all the 9 essential amino acids in your diet that your body needs to be nourished. Starting your day out with a healthy breakfast is important. Here are some breakfast recipe ideas.

  3. Cook, Monitor and adjust: Once you have your meal prep ingredients ready you can use the meal prep hacks below to implement batch cooking and make your weight loss meal prep plan a reality! Make sure to keep a diary or download a tracker to keep you on track with weight loss goals.

Once you have your calorie intake figured out you can meal prep for weight loss according to a diet like the keto diet or the paleo diet to build your meal prep around.

Sensible Weight Loss Meal Prep Portions

Calories and weight loss do go hand in hand (since calorie is a unit of measurement for energy), which is why meal prepping on a macro diet can make keeping your portion control in check and calorie control even easier – especially since counting macros means you have an idea of how much of each type of food your should be eating. Consider investing in a food scale or use a food tracking app to be as precise as possible and learn the exact portion sizes that match your individual needs.

Counting calories will train your mind to make conscious eating decisions.

Be mindful that the portions you use may change from one day to the next or one meal to the next, depending on your fitness and health goals. You can adjust your carb and protein portions around your full body or ab workouts, eating more food when you are more active and a lighter meal on rest days or when you are not moving around as much.

Meal Prep Portioning Chart

Maintain Meal Prep

or moderate workout

Muscle Building Meal Prep

or weight lifting

Weight Loss Meal Prep

or rest days

50% Veggie/Fruit
25% Protein
25% Starch

33% Veggie/Fruit
33% Protein
33% Starch

50% Veggie/Fruit
35% Protein
15% Starch

Budget Meal Prep Ideas

Some shopping tricks that can help make your implement budget meal prep ideas in your routine:

  • Mix and match ingredients. As you plan your menu, look to purchase versatile ingredients that work in multiple dishes. This is a good way to stretch your dollar.

  • Begin your budget meal prep grocery store trip with a look at the sale rack and stock up on non-perishables when there is a promotion. Especially helpful for frozen, or shelf stable items.

  • When budget meal prepping opt for inexpensive foods that have similar nutrition value like swapping brown rice for quinoa..etc.

  • Reduce waste by being mindful of portion sizes that you know you can consume. For example, you don’t need a 50-pound bag of red potato even though it is on sale.

  • Know local stores where you can get the best deals. And look for the produce that is seasonal.

Weight Loss Food Prep Hacks

Preparing your meals in large quantities ahead of time doesn’t have to be overwhelming! There are some tricks to help cut your weight loss meal prep time down and eliminate the anxiety that comes along with following a weight loss diet plan . Take a look at these weight loss diet plan ideas:

Use the same ingredient for different meals. Start with a healthy foundation ingredient like cauliflower for example. From this one ingredient purchased in bulk (perhaps you can get a case price at your local grocery store) you can make a riced cauliflower recipe, a steamed cauliflower recipe and a cauliflower mashed recipe. You have now used one ingredient to make 3 different recipes. This will keep both your budget and you palate satisfied.

Prepare meals in batches to create one-pot dishes that will last you for days. Whip up a healthy chili, stew, or curry in a crockpot and serve over your favorite grains. Keep the grains separate before serving to make them taste extra fresh. Enchiladas, lasagna, casseroles, and pilafs also work wonders for getting more meals out of your recipes – plus it won’t be that many more oven cycles to prepare these items in bulk vs small batches.

Purchase pre-prepped and chopped ingredients such as veggies, bagged salads, and frozen and canned produce to minimize prep time.

Make a healthy breakfast such as veggies, bagged salads, or other healthy breakfast foods that are nutritious and star Make healthy breakfast or lunch burritos, wrap in foil and freeze for whenever you need them. Then pop them in the oven or microwave for a fast and balanced option.

Pair your weight loss meal prep with a good cardio routine for maximum benefits. To see maximum weight loss benefits ensure your workout intensity by optimizing your target heart rate for weight loss and remember to manage your post-workout cravings so your workout will progress weight loss and not regress the progress you have made.

Chris Park

Chris Park is a board-certified sports nutritionist, registered dietitian and former college rugby player. Chris loves strength training and pushing his body to the limit, which comes in handy when working with professional athletes and designing their nutritional needs. Chris also enjoys helping others by writing about nutrition.