A Minimalist, a Sexy Librarian, and a Ninja all walk into bar… just kidding, these companions don’t have time to go to a bar, they’ve got some serious ass to kick in the kitchen.
Meet the three Meal Preppin’ friends that will help keep you on track and crushing your goals, whatever they might be. All three of these Pro’s bring different levels and intentions to the Meal Prep game. Despite their incredibly diverse ambitions, they all have basic Meal Prep principles. Let’s explore those, shall we?
- PICK YOUR MEAL PREP DAYS: Most people Meal Prep once or twice a week. Sundays are a religious Meal Prep day to most because it’s the start of a glorious new week and you have the opportunity to switch up your menu or your macros. You can figure this out by deciding how many days you want your food to sit in your fridge. Most cooked food that is well sealed can last up to 3-4 days in your fridge. So, if you Meal Prep on Sunday you can Meal Prep again on Wednesday or Thursday to keep your food fresh.
- PLAN OF ATTACK: Look at your schedule to see what events, hurdles, or barriers you have in the upcoming week and plan accordingly. For example: If you know that you will be on the road all day on Wednesday for work, pack a cold lunch that day and keep it in a cooler in your car. If you are going out to dinner Tuesday night and know you will be having a couple drinks with friends, you might not have to prepare dinner for that night but maybe forego the vanilla latte and bagel in the morning in exchange for a veggie omelet with toast and peanut butter.
- DEVELOP A MENU: Write out your meals and plug them into your food journal app if you are counting macros and adjust your serving sizes accordingly. If you are an intuitive eater or like to just have healthy meals ready, get your foods cooked and planned so you can write out your grocery list.
- Go Grocery Shopping
- Turn on some Hall & Oates and bang that shit out in the kitchen, Maneater style.
Now, let’s introduce the three best friends that anyone could have…
MEET: THE MINIMALIST
Like your vegan, HGTV tiny house lovin’, ironically hipster friend; the Minimalist is simple yet effective. They like to keep meal prep inside a one-hour window and do not let it take over their lives. They don’t over-complicate things and have a fairly easy and malleable meal plan. They don’t often count macros but might track things loosely or just like to live life with a little more balance.
The type of goals they have:
- They like to live their healthy life very freely and don’t believe in tracking macros to the exact gram or food to the exact oz.
- They are people who want to have healthy options on hand that are easily accessible and ready to eat.
- They might only track macros to hit their protein goals for each day.
- Eating the same thing everyday sounds like death by a hemp noose but they can deal if that’s all they have.
- They are super busy and this is how they get healthy eating in for themselves and their family.
- Even though they are a wild card for dinner, they never fear a change in their plans.
- Intuitive or Mindful eating is their jam.
How they do it:
- MEAL PREP DAYS: They might only meal prep once a week, possibly twice if they need to freshen up their meals, but that second Meal Prep Day is usually shorter than the first. They might only prep for the weekdays and leave the weekends open to topless shenanigans. I don’t know, they’re unicorns in my book.
- PLAN OF ATTACK: They plan their week loosely and plan for audibles that include dinner out with friends. Hey, Taco Tuesday landing on Trivia Night is like an ironically awesome meteor siting landing on Bill Nye’s Birthday.
- STRAIGHT FORWARD: The Minimalist is a Pro at Intuitive Eating and is one of those psychos that can leave a half-eaten cookie on a plate. Hey, are you going to finish that?
Tips to achieving the Minimalist Status:
- They cut up vegetables and fruits like cucumbers, carrots, strawberries and celery. They might separate them in large containers or divvy them into portion sized bags in the fridge for easy to grab snacks. Moms with kids, are you listening?
- As a heathy carb for their balanced meals they pre-cook quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes and other healthy grains to have readily available.
- Their life is full of unpredictable culinary adventures, but they are always prepared for a healthy night at home but are also cool with a random escapades out.
- They cook their proteins (chicken, ground turkey, etc) and defrost meats being used for the week on prep days and have most foods pre-made so they can just toss anything they have already cooked and chopped up in a bowl and eat it on the go. They are not big fans of spending the agonizing hour drive home wondering what the hell they’re going to make for dinner with only 2 eggs, a half-eaten box of uncooked rice and a jar of salsa that expired yesterday sitting in their empty kitchen.
The Minimalist’s Slogan:
“Chop it, cut it, cook it, bag it and just go with the flow, man.”
2) MEET: THE SEXY LIBRARIAN
Our hair in a bun, sexy specs, tight sweater wearing friend is strict. But HOT DAMN is she a fun one when she lets her hair down all slo-mo like an Herbal Essence commercial. The Sexy Librarian is serious about counting macros/meal planning and staying within their prescribed macros, calories or meals. If they don’t track their macros, then this is a serious Type-A person that just likes to have every meal and snack planned out. They like to know when and where every meal is coming from. Meal prep is like an adequately ordered spreadsheet for this one. They love to be planned out and preparing for the week ahead makes them feel as confident as a Tony Robbins book in the Self Help Section with $5 stuck to it. They are resourceful and extremely well balanced making sure they also get in their cravings for the week. They do allow for just a few audibles and LIVE by the 80/20 rule.
The type of goals they have:
- They like to be precise and careful with their portions. Everything is measured out or carefully eyeballed with a small window for error.
- They eat healthy and nutritious foods that give them energy and keep them satisfied until their next meal.
- They are people who like structure and want healthy meals ready to eat for their fast paced lives.
- They usually eat every 2-3 hours which adds up to around 5-7 meals per day.
- They don’t mind eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner for days or weeks at a time.
- They usually track macros and micros or they like to have a well outlined plan that makes them feel like they are checking off items on a list.
- When they live a little more 20 than 80, they might still count their macros and neglect their micros for that meal only. If they meal plan, they might go off it for one meal and one meal only.
- They might prep hard for the weekdays but loosely plan for the weekends so they can fit in a few fun meals.
- If they want it, they eat it and fit it into their plan. They do not live a life of deprivation, but instead they live a life of freedom because they have discipline.
- They know when they’ve “unbuttoned their sweater a little too far” and can reel it in when needed. You catch my drift?
How they do it:
- MEAL PREP DAYS: They more than likely meal prep twice a week and weekends are not considered off or free days but possibly more loosely controlled than the weekdays. If they only meal prep once a week, they pre-make everything so that second day is short and sweet.
- PLAN OF ATTACK: They plan their meals with their goals and tomfoolery filled evenings in mind. They stay on the healthy 80% course at work and at home then get down and dirty in the 20% zone when they’re ready to party.
- STRAIGHT FORWARD: The Sexy Librarian is a bit of a contradiction, in fact she’s a down right tease. One day you’ll see her picking at a salad in her pencil skirt and kitten heels; the next you’ll see her taking down a piece of pizza and drinking a beer in her converse and daisy dukes while challenging the boys on that missed holding call on fourth down. Come on, Ref!
Tips to achieving the Sexy Librarian Status:
- Everything is like an assembly line in this kitchen. It’s a beautiful , harmonious track of intention on these grounds.
- If they count macros, the Sexy Librarian will start planning their menu with the most important meals first. Pre and post workout start the menu train, then they move onto breakfast/lunch/dinner until they see what their leftover macros look like for snacks.
- Their food life is pretty much planned out with a few chances for audibles to be thrown in the mix. However, those changes are well thought out and carefully planned.
- They are not afraid to go out for dinner but will always check the menu beforehand to see what can fit into their macros. Or if they are on a meal plan, they will eat something similar to what they were going to have in the first place.
The Sexy Librarian’s Slogan:
“80/20 or die. Tight sweaters and pizza for life.”
3) MEET THE MEAL PREP NINJA:
This type of Meal Prep is dedicated to the Elite. The Ninja is more than likely a competitor or athlete that has serious goals to achieve. Our Black Belted friend is always the most serious about counting macros/meal plans/carb cycling and staying on plan no matter what. If meal prepping were a fly, they would kill it in the air with chopsticks… eat it… then count it as protein. These guys are serious and there is no balance in this Kung Fu Grip world. Food is just fuel and nothing more. Their meal prep can take anywhere from 2-4 hours a week or so to complete. Measuring cups and food scales are not only a necessity but an absolute MUST. If their food scale breaks down, you can expect this one to take it to work and measure it on the shipping scale as to not go an oz over plan. Think of Bruce Lee killing a guy with his thumb. They know just the right time, place, and pressure of the meal prep situation and are skilled beyond belief. Legend has it that there are Elite Olympia Ninjas that can prepare exact measurements just by eyeballing and are perfect every time. Sensae, please teach me your ways. Meal prep is like a meditation for the Ninja. They are skilled, precise, and can chop veggies faster than the English translation can catch up to Jet Li’s voice.
The type of goals they have:
- There is usually a date in mind for their goals.
- EVERYTHING is measured out to the exact oz/gram.
- They will often measure based on gram weight over using cups and tablespoons. The overflowing mountain of peanut butter on your tbsp utensil is A LIE!
- Their meals are not complicated and usually quite simple.
- They are people with Big, Hairy, Audacious goals. -B.H.A.G. away, Karate Kid.
- They stick to their meals and never go off plan.
- Hitting their macros or meal plan is not a question but a standard for the life they live.
- Meal Prepping is an absolute and they will break shit if you tell them to ease up a bit.
- Do not ask them to go out to eat. Restaurants, bars and family gatherings will require them to bring their own foods.
How they do it:
- MEAL PREP DAYS: Weekends are not considered off or loosely prepped for these black belted chefs. Meal prepping twice a week is necessary. There’s are no audibles in this world.
- PLAN OF ATTACK: They listen to their coach and do EXACTLY as they say, no exceptions.
- STRAIGHT FORWARD: They bring meals EVERYWHERE with them. Going out to eat? Great, let me eat this perfectly portioned meal I have packed and I’ll just have some water and stare at you while you eat at the restaurant.
Tips to achieving the Ninja Status:
- Timing is everything in the Ninja’s kitchen. This takes time to learn but once the routine is achieved, it’s like putting a blindfold on them and becomes second nature. They just intuitively know when the water is about to boil over.
- You eat your prescribed meals whether you are hungry or not. Food is for building endurance and completely goal based.
- If you expect to be elite, don’t expect to have balance in the Ninja world.
- When creating a menu, they listen to their coach. In fact, forget all this and just listen to your coach.
OK here’s the deal: this may sound insane to you, but the Ninja is a serious athlete. They’re used to being called “no fun” or being told “you were more fun when you drank” or “come on, this one little bite won’t hurt” and “you need to live a little”. The goals ingrained in the Ninja’s mind are set in stone. The journey to that goal is better and more satisfying than that piece of cake left in the break room for Susan’s 40th Birthday. At this level, it’s about your will power, dedication and consistency. The amount of hard work you put in to this venture will make you become the warrior you were meant to become. Before you start bashing the extremely strict life of the Ninja, remember that they don’t do this for you. They do it to push themselves and their limits that results in them becoming a stronger and more resilient person, not only in their field of expertise but in their everyday lives. The Ninja isn’t for everyone and even if these aren’t your goals, respect the amount of discipline and consistency it takes to become one. They don’t need your acceptance, but your support would mean the world to them.
The Ninja’s Slogan:
“Precision = Excellence. And if you touch my perfectly portioned out food, I will Samurai kick you in the jugular.”
All in all, there are so many different goals that people have and these three Pro’s have it all figured out. You might be a Minimalist one week then a Sexy Librarian the next. Not everyone is cut out to be a Ninja, but maybe you want to test the waters and try it out for that vacation you have coming up.
We all have this need to be better in our minds and we long for the feeling of progress and accomplishment. Meal Prepping can help you accomplish your goals whether it’s to lose weight, build muscle, or just to be a healthier version of yourself. Whatever your goals might be, go after them with a vengeance to better yourself. You deserve every bite of this prepared goodness.
Written in love, hope, and Meal Prep Containers: by Christi Brown