Macros and Meal Prep

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Meal Prep Food Container

As some of you may know, I’ve started counting my macros again! This was a diet I started with the help of a trainer back in 2014, after I gave birth to Blake. (SO long ago!) Things shifted around after that second pregnancy and I wanted to lose those last few pounds of baby weight and gain a little muscle at the same time as well. You can read a little more about my story here. Fast forward to now, I’m at a healthy body weight, but am unhappy with the amount of fat on my body. So, I’ve started counting macros again to turn that muscle into fat. It worked really well in 2014 and its the only thing that has really helped for me.

Since diet is basically 80% of being successful and getting the body you want, I’ve cleaned up my eating starting this past Monday (goodbye Doritos) and have been eating these little meals I prepped with a friend on Sunday evening. More on that in a minute.

First, Let’s talk Macros

Macros (or Macronutrients) are the energy-giving components of food that fuel our body: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. Finding the right balance between all three can be tricky to figure out what works for you and your body at first, but I’ve found to be very successful.

My currents macros I’m trying to hit are 150g of protein, 70g of carbohydrates and 70g of fat. It’s a whole lot of meat and protein drinks, about two servings of grains and a little extra butter or mayo. This for me is the best of both worlds, even though I’m having a few sugar cravings which is making me second guess LIFE. Of course those cravings will subside in a week or two and then I’ll be feeling GREAT! 

I am able to count my macros by simply looking at the nutritional labels on the foods I will be eating, or by googling them (“medium apple nutritional info”). You’ll see every food is clearly marked with what a serving is, and how many grams of protein, carbs and fats are included in said serving. So, I’m able to eat what I want (except sugar) as long as I hit my numbers every day. I’m old school and have a little notebook where I write down everything I’m eating and calculate it all long hand, but I know MyFitnessPal also has a macro-counting function on it as well (for free!) I just prefer to have it on paper.

Here are a few more details:

  • I eat all my carbs before 2pm. This is what my trainer told me to do back in the day, so that’s what I’m continuing to do.
  • I will have a weekly cheat meal, which will be most likely a lunch on the weekend. My trainer recommended I do it earlier in the day, so that’s what I’m doing.
  • I am able to cook my different recipes and input them into myfitnesspal to get the nutritional info per serving. It takes FOREVER, but it super helpful 🙂
  • I am supposed to eat every 3 hours, but sometimes its earlier and sometimes it’s later. Once I’m getting close to that three hour time frame when I’m supposed to be eating again and I notice I’m starving and I’m about to murder someone, that’s a sign that my metabolism is “running hot” as my trainer used to say, which means it’s time to eat more food to fuel your body.
  • I will not base my success on what the scale says because I’m more interested in body recomposition. So, I will go every 4-6 weeks to get by body fat measured. Even though the number on the scale might not move very much, I want to make sure I’m moving in the right direction.
  • If, after a month, I’d like to eat more carbs, then I will adjust my fat and carbs accordingly. You can have a very high fat, very low carb diet or a very high carb, very low fat diet. You can’t have both or else you won’t lose weight or gain like you’re expecting. That’s why I mentioned the 70g fat/70g carbs was a happy medium for me.
  • I’m trying to drink more water, but am pretty bad at it. I’m working on it.
  • Also, I’m focusing on my diet this first week and will probably incorporate more gym time in the next few weeks after I have things in the kitchen under control.

Meal Prep Food Container

Meal Prep

Whether you are on a stricter diet or just trying to get dinner on the table, making a few items ahead of time can be super helpful! On the weekends, I tend to have a little more time to cook and bake than during the week, so I always tried to make 1-3 items to have on hand. They could be little sandwiches for my kids lunches, homemade rolls or even some kind of tuna or egg salad to have on hand for my lunches during the week. I struggle to feed myself lunch every day, so having something readymade in the kitchen was ideal.

Since I knew that having readymade meals would be super helpful and a huge timesaver, I decided to take Sunday evening to cook and prepare my meals for the week. I shared my menu on instagram stories and had a lot of questions about it, so I will now attempt to explain how I was able to cook 27 portions (for me and a friend) in about 5 hours.

Decide on your menu. How many meals are you wanting to prep? What diet are you following? How well would this keep in the refrigerator? The answers to these questions can obviously vary greatly on the diet you are choosing to do, and how much time you have to cook.

I decided to make 4 dinners based on my macros. A little higher fat, with high protein and little carbs. I made: an Asian turkey meatloaf, chicken parmesan meatballs, spaghetti sauce with double the ground beef and chicken fajitas. If I were to do it over again, I’d probably just do 2-3 to make it easier and faster, and make everything in some sort of sauce. It really helps keep meat moist.

Block off time to get the cooking all done at once. I hate dragging things out, so once I started cooking I wouldn’t stop until it was DONE. Plus, it’s the most efficient way to get a bunch of dinners made. Of course you can do some chopping here or there leading up to the cook day, but once you’re elbow deep in meatballs and marinara, well, there’s no turning back.

After all my meals were cooked, I portioned them off and stored them in my refrigerator. I know of some people who have frozen their meals before, but I think I’m going to go through mine quick enough to not have to do that. I am eating these for lunch and dinner every night, after all! (And I’m throwing together simple meals for my kids during the week, like sandwiches with a fruit and vegetable.)

I found these meal prep containers on Amazon that are dishwasher safe and reusable that I found to be ideal. I did also get these round ones for future soups and stews.

Next week, I’ll be cooking a few more meals to keep this healthy train going. Most likely this bean-free chili and more chicken parmesan meatballs from this week (recipe coming soon).

Have you ever counted your macros? What is your favorite diet?

 

Polaroid photo of granola bars

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11 Responses
  1. Guyla

    Hey Lauren, I definitely need to try this! Are you really eating all of your carbs by 2 pm? No veggies with dinner or are you talking about ‘bad’ carbs like bread?

  2. Laura

    I am back into counting my macros. It takes a little work, but now I have so many recipes and can change it up every so often. I have even found some “sweets” that easily fit into my carb and fat macros without being the traditional carbs/sweets. The chicken parm meatballs you made sound/look tasty!

  3. Leigh L

    Any tips on how to hit the protein goal? If you use protein powder, which one do you use.? I have a hard time with the fat grams. I love peanut butter way too much. 😫

  4. anon

    Seriously, what Wanda said! I think you meant it in your first paragraph when you said, “So, I’ve started counting macros again to turn that MUSCLE INTO FAT.” Hee hee! Your meals look amazing, just like you!

  5. Barbara

    I have just started the keto diet ….and you have to count macros and watch carbs. Thanks for explaining that. Not to sure what I’m doing there as yet,but enjoy cutting carbs and eating protein etc…. Will try some of your. Recipes………glad to be getting your emails …..not on Facebook am on Instagram…thanks