Wellness and Diets

A Simpleguide To Bodybuilding Meal Prep

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen™
A nonprofit environmental watchdog organization called Environmental Working Group (EWG) looks at data supplied by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about pesticide residues. Each year it compiles a list of the best and worst pesticide loads found in commercial crops. You can use these lists to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic to minimize your exposure to pesticides and which produce is considered safe enough to buy conventionally. This does not mean they are pesticide-free, though, so wash these fruits and vegetables thoroughly. The list is updated annually, and you can find it online at EWG.org/FoodNews.

1. strawberries
2. spinach
3. kale
4. nectarines
5. apples
6. grapes
7. peaches
8. cherries
9. pears
10. tomatoes
11. celery
12. potatoes

Additionally, nearly three-quarters of hot pepper samples contained pesticide residues.

1. avocados
2. sweet corn*
3. pineapples
4. sweet peas (frozen)
5. onions
6. papayas*
7. eggplants
8. asparagus
9. kiwis
10. cabbages
11. cauliflower
12. cantaloupes
13. broccoli
14. mushrooms
15. honeydew melons

A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Meal Prep Is Smart Prep
You've likely found your way here because you've been putting in your time at the gym and lifting heavy, but you haven't seen the kind of results that you think you should be seeing.
What you may not realize, and what you didn't realize until after several years of working your butt off in the gym for minimal return, is that unless you put the same amount of effort into your nutrition that you put into working out, you won't ever be able to build the kind of body you have always dreamed of.
After years of experimentation, you finally recognized that body composition (the amount of fat versus the muscle you carry) is much more a result of your nutrition than anything you could possibly do in the gym. In fact, after having applied the following principles you am about to share with you, first to your own life and then testing it on hundreds of clients in the same boat as you, you now believe that at least 80 percent of your results come from your effort in the kitchen rather than at the gym.
Unfortunately, for most of us, we would much rather be spending our time lifting weights than pans and pots. Although following a strict diet can be challenging, there is a secret that all successful bodybuilders have figured out that can make it much less onerous, and maybe even fun! 

Why Meal Prep?
If you were to tell you that all that stands between you and your ideal body is putting in a few hours of meal prep a week, would you do it? If your answer is yes, then keep reading.

So if you're into bodybuilding, you may have heard of this little thing called macros. But just in case you haven't, or are in need of a refresher, macros are short for macronutrients, the major nutrients your body needs in large quantities, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These three major nutrients provide us with the calories we need to create energy and stay healthy.
Macros are important in the context of bodybuilding, because when it comes to body composition, what you eat isn't nearly as important as how much you eat of it. In other words, the total amount of calories you eat, and whether these calories come from carbs, proteins, and/or fats, is critical in achieving a lean, muscular body.
Eat too many calories and you will gain body fat. Eat too few calories and too little protein, and you can say goodbye to those sought-after muscles. Unfortunately, ensuring that your diet provides you with the right amount of calories and the proper balance of proteins, carbs, and fats is not easy without some thought and foresight. This is where well-organized meal planning can save the day.

Energy balance (the amount of calories you consume and how many calories you burn) is of primary importance in determining whether you gain or lose weight. And, since most bodybuilders are concerned with not only how much they weigh but also the amount of muscle and fat their bodies are made up of, it's vital that those calories come from the right proportion of proteins, carbs, and fats.
It's nearly impossible to achieve the right balance of calories and macronutrients from a diet consisting primarily of junk food. That's because most junk foods are high in calories, carbohydrates, and fats and low in protein and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fiber), which is the exact opposite of the macronutrient profile needed for proper bodybuilding.
Consuming a clean diet consisting primarily of fresh, minimally processed, micronutrient-rich foods has a number of additional benefits. When you prepare your own food you know exactly what you're getting, from the amount of calories and macronutrients you are consuming to the exact ingredients being used.
When you supply your body with the proper balance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, you boost your health and energy levels, feel satiated, increase your metabolism, sleep better, and think clearly.

Most people think of post-workout recovery as the meal you eat shortly after working out. However, you have learned that how you recover is much more encompassing than that. What you eat over the course of the day matters just as much, if not more.
That said, there are benefits to proper peri-workout meals (meals eaten within one to two hours of working out). Research has shown that consuming enough protein around your workouts stimulates muscle protein synthesis and prevents muscle breakdown.
A good rule of thumb is to consume a serving or two of protein before and after you lift weights. In addition, including some carbohydrates before your workout provides your muscles with fuel and improves performance, and consuming carbs after your workout replenishes muscle glycogen stores.
Plus, since weight lifting creates a state of glycogen depletion, you can consume significant amounts of carbs after your workout with little to no fat storage. Hello, bodybuilder's heaven!

Meal prepping isn't just great for balancing your macros and helping you recover after your workouts. It can also save you some valuable time. Although it may sound time-consuming to go to the effort of making multiple meals on a single day, you really do reap the dividends later in the week as you're able to pull premade breakfasts, lunches, and dinners directly out of the fridge or freezer.
As if that weren't motivation enough, meal prepping goes hand in hand with keeping food costs to a minimum. Instead of rushing out for a last-minute bite when there's nothing in the house to eat, you can stay within your budget by planning ahead.


Education is helpful for those times when you may wonder how all your efforts are going to pay off. you know we've covered macros to an extent already, but now let's take a deeper look. The more educated you are about how the right balance of protein, carbs, and fats can get you the body you're working toward, the more likely you'll be to stick with the program.

The three macronutrients that make up all (yes, literally all) foods are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Your body has different purposes for each.

Let's start with protein. After all, it's every bodybuilder's favorite macro, and for good reason. Protein from the food we eat really does live up to its reputation for building muscle.
As you put stress on your muscles through lifting, you actually create microscopic tears in the muscle fibers that need to be rebuilt. That's when the protein from your diet rushes in to repair those areas, ultimately building them back up to be larger and stronger. Protein also serves numerous other functions in the body, from giving cells their structure to serving as the backbone of hormones and enzymes.
Most sedentary people need an average of 1.2 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.54 to 0.82 grams per pound) to stay healthy—based on the latest research, someone who's lifting on a regular basis requires anywhere from 1.8 to 3.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.8 to 1.5 grams per pound).
Some favorite sources of protein for bodybuilders include lean ground beef, chicken, salmon, whitefish, turkey, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, and protein powder.

If you're more the meat-and-potatoes type, you may not have experimented much with protein from plants. Nutrition science increasingly shows that a diet full of plants has numerous advantages for health, from reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease to helping maintain a healthy weight.
If you're concerned that going with less meat could keep you from bulking, you can set those worries aside. With proper meal planning, you can still reach your goals on a plant-based diet. You just have to make sure to consume enough protein.
Some additional bonuses of plant sources of protein include fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plant-based protein also typically contains less saturated fat than animal-based protein. Excellent choices for plant-based protein include beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, quinoa and other grains, and soy foods like tofu, tempeh, and edamame.

While it's popular these days to stay away from carbohydrates to keep a svelte figure, there's definitely a point where low-carb can be overdone—or even dangerous. Here's the thing: Your brain runs on glucose, the broken-down form of carbohydrates. So without enough of these critical macros, you can begin to feel mentally foggy. What's more, carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source, meaning that skimping on them can lead to serious fatigue—the last thing you want when you're headed to the gym for a challenging lifting workout.
Foods that contain carbohydrates also typically provide fiber, a much-needed nutrient for digestion and disease prevention. Carbohydrates also boast numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you just won't find in a protein-packed steak all by itself.

The key for choosing the best carbohydrates to meet your bodybuilding goals is to mainly stick with complex, minimally processed carbs. Examples include beans; whole grains like quinoa, oats, barley, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread; veggies like squash, potatoes, carrots, and corn; and fruits like apples, berries, and bananas.

Ft serves many critical purposes in the body (and thank goodness, because otherwise we'd still be eating those terrible fat-free cookies!).
Fat in our foods gets converted in the body to keep us warm, provide protective cushioning for our organs, help us absorb certain nutrients, and—help us stay fuller longer. When you're working on bulking, adding extra fat is an easy way to consume more calories, since fat contains five more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates.
Still, just like the other macros, not all fats are created equal. While science is still working to pin down exactly the right amount of saturated fat and cholesterol that are good for health, we know that certain fat sources have evidence-based benefits.
Some of the best choices for fat sources include fatty fish like salmon and sardines, eggs, nuts and nut butters, olives, avocados, full-fat yogurt and cheese, chia seeds and flaxseed, and olive, coconut, and avocado oils.

Breakfast may or may not be the most important meal of the day, depending on who you ask, but it is an opportunity to start your day with excellent nutrition. If you're among those who like to time your workouts early in the morning, breakfast will play a critical role in supporting your training, whether as your pre-workout fuel or your post-workout recovery.

When you've got a busy, on-the-go lifestyle, it can be tempting to occasionally skip lunch—but resist the temptation. Your body needs to stay fueled throughout the day. Having a healthy lunch keeps you from bingeing on lower-quality foods (aka processed junk) later. Plus, if you're working out in the afternoon, your lunch can serve as your pre-workout meal and will help ensure that you bring the proper level of intensity and energy to the gym.

For many of us, dinner is when we consume the most calories, so this meal is really "where the magic happens.". At dinner, you'll be eating high protein (to keep your body building muscle, especially as you get leaner), low to moderate fat (to keep you full, help absorb nutrients, and assist with proper hormone production), and varying levels of carbs (based on your bodybuilding goals and daily activity levels).

Who doesn't love to snack? I'm all for breaking up the day with small bursts of calories and macros. Doing so helps keep blood sugar steady, meaning you'll feel less hungry and have the energy you need around your workouts. And the right choice of snacks can help you reach your calorie targets if you're working on bulking.

You've probably heard a lot of varying opinions about the concept of a "cheat meal." My stance is to leave this decision up to you. The occasional extra indulgence certainly isn't going to be a deal-breaker for reaching your bodybuilding goals. So if you feel the need to have a comfort food meal here or there, or a piece of dark chocolate every day, you hope you'll give yourself the freedom to do so.
The good news about counting macros, or following an If It Fits in Your Macros (IIFYM) style of diet, as we are doing here, is that with just a little bit of foresight and planning, you can easily work these meals into your daily macronutrient targets without straying from your bodybuilding goals. A high-carb, high-fat mac and cheese or chocolate cake, for example, could be balanced out later with lower-fat, higher-protein choices combined with some low-calorie, low-carb veggies.

Goals & Dietary Needs
Not everyone gets into bodybuilding with the same goals, and often your goals will change as time goes by. Typically, bodybuilding follows one of three paths: cutting, bulking, or maintaining.
Cutting means shedding body fat to get lean and toned. This phase of bodybuilding usually means cutting back on calories to allow your muscles to attain the definition you can show off during competition (or swimsuit) season.
Bulking, on the other hand, means training heavier for bigger muscle gains, which is usually accompanied by an increase in calories to support all the hard work you're putting in at the gym. And maintaining is, of course, when you stay the course to keep whatever physique you've got.
I understand that you may not be in the same phase as the person at the weight bench next to you. That's why you'll find the recipes in this meal prep plan to be highly customizable. Every week of meal plans can be tailored to any goal you're currently working toward.
The beauty of IIFYM is that you can set up your diet based on your own food preferences and tolerances, cooking ability, goals, and schedule and enjoy your favorite foods in moderation without feeling guilty or deprived. You can work treats and nontraditional diet foods into your plan without feeling guilty or panicking and falling completely off the rails. This is what a sustainable lifestyle looks like.
Now, here's where the cool, nitty-gritty, figuring out your specific caloric and macronutrient needs comes in, along with a few maybe not-so-fun math calculations. you promise I'll make it as simple and painless as possible.
For the first calculation, you will need to know your weight, your approximate body fat percentage, and your activity level. With these numbers in hand, you will be able to figure out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which is the total amount of calories you burn over the course of a day (24 hours).

To calculate your TDEE, you first need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). There are several formulas you can use to do this, but your personal favorite for bodybuilders, who tend to have more muscle mass, is the Katch-McArdle formula, because it accounts for differences in body composition.
BMR = 370 + (21.6 x Lean Body Mass in KG)
BMR = 370 + (9.8 x Lean Body Mass in LB)

The one catch, of course, is that you have to know what your Lean Body Mass (LBM) is. If you don't know your LBM, you can use simpler (albeit less accurate) equations out there, like the Harris-Benedict or Mifflin-St Jeor. You can find many calculators online that will calculate it for you, as well as a formula (different for men and women). Just remember, whatever formula you choose, know that it simply provides you with an estimate as a starting point and may very well need to be adjusted once you test it out in real life.
Once you have calculated your BMR, you will need to add your additional energy expenditure based on your daily activity level. you have found that the standard Katch-McArdle activity multiplier tends to over estimate the amount of calories burned, so Use the below modified version to calculate activity levels.

Sedentary Little to no exercise BMR X 1.15
Light Activity Light exercise or sports 1 to 3 days per week BMR X 1.2
Moderate Activity Moderate exercise or sports 3 to 5 days per week BMR X 1.4
Very Active Hard exercise or sports 6 to 7 days per week BMR X 1.6
Extra Active Extra-hard exercise or sports 6 to 7 days per week BMR X 1.8
Super Active Extra-hard exercise or sports 6 to 7 days per week and a physical job BMR X 1.9

Remember that your TDEE is only a starting point and will likely need to be adjusted up or down based on the intensity and type of activity you engage in. If you're cutting, eat 75 to 80 percent of your TDEE, which is equivalent to a 20 to 25 percent caloric deficit. If you're bulking, eat 105 to 110 percent of your TDEE, which is equivalent to a 5 to 10 percent caloric surplus. Please note that you don't recommend bulking unless you're a male already at 10 percent body fat or less or a female already at 20 percent body fat or less.

Here's how to calculate your calories and macros if you're maintaining:

- TDEE x 1 = Daily Calories for Maintaining
- Set your protein intake to 0.8 to 1 grams per pound of body weight.
»Protein in grams/day = Body weight in pounds x 0.8 to 1
»Protein in grams/day x 4 = Daily Calories Coming from Protein
- Set your fat intake to 0.3 to 0.4 grams per pound of body weight.
»Fat in grams/day = Body weight in pounds x 0.3 to 0.4
»Fat in grams/day x 9 = Daily Calories Coming from Fat
- Set your carb intake to whatever calories remain.
»Add together your Daily Calories Coming from Protein and your Daily Calories Coming from Fat.
»Subtract this number from your Daily Calories for Cutting to get your Daily Calories Coming from Carbs.
»Divide your Daily Calories Coming from Carbs by 4 to calculate your Carbs in grams/day.

Here's how to calculate your calories and macros if you're cutting:

- TDEE x 0.75 to 0.8 = Daily Calories for Cutting
- Set your protein intake to 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight.
»Protein in grams/day = Body weight in pounds x 1 to 1.2
»Protein in grams/day x 4 = Daily Calories Coming from Protein
- Set your fat intake to 0.2 to 0.25 grams per pound of body weight.
»Fat in grams/day = Body weight in pounds x 0.2 to 0.25
»Fat in grams/day x 9 = Daily Calories Coming from Fat
- Set your carb intake to whatever calories remain.
»Add together your Daily Calories Coming from Protein and your Daily Calories Coming from Fat.
»Subtract this number from your Daily Calories for Cutting to get your Daily Calories Coming from Carbs.
»Divide your Daily Calories Coming from Carbs by 4 to calculate your Carbs in grams/day.

Here's how to calculate your calories and macros if you're bulking:

- TDEE x 1.05 to 1.10 = Daily Calories for Bulking
- Set your protein intake to 1 gram per pound of body weight.
»Protein in grams/day = Body weight in pounds x 1 to 1.2
»Protein in grams x 4 = Daily Calories Coming from Protein
- Set your fat intake to 0.3 to 0.4 grams per pound of body weight.
»Fat in grams/day = Body weight in pounds x 0.3 to 0.4
»Fat in grams x 9 = Daily Calories Coming from Fat
- Set your carb intake to whatever calories remain.
»Add together your Daily Calories Coming from Protein and your Daily Calories Coming from Fat.
»Subtract this number from your Daily Calories for Cutting to get your Daily Calories Coming from Carbs.
»Divide your Daily Calories Coming from Carbs by 4 to calculate your daily carbs in grams.
Please note that the above caloric and macronutrient requirements are only estimates and may need to be adjusted based on your metabolic rate, health, and a variety of lifestyle factors. So listen to your body, and make adjustments as needed based on how your body responds.

Tracking Macros
Now that you've completed your individualized daily caloric and macronutrient requirements, you're ready to start tracking your macros. You will need to be diligent, weighing or measuring what you eat and recording it in a food-tracking or meal-planning app. There are some great ones out there that scan barcodes and input macros for you automatically.
Changing the way you eat and think about food can be a challenge. Be patient and kind with yourself, and try not to be disappointed with your starting results. Although there are no quick fixes or shortcuts, if you're consistent with meeting your macros, a flex diet will allow you to eat the foods you enjoy for the rest of your life and still get the results you've always dreamed of.

2. MEAL PREP 101

In the midst of hectic schedules, meal prepping for an entire week in just a few hours sets you up for success in two ways: First, it saves you time, and second, it keeps you on track to eat the healthy diet you want and deserve. In this chapter, we'll cover the fundamentals of meal prepping to help you reach your bodybuilding goals.

Bodybuilding Meal Prep in Five Steps
Here you'll find step-by-step guidelines on the basics of meal prepping for bodybuilding. If you stick to these meal prep fundamentals, you will pick up the process with ease.

Setaside one or two days a week to focus on meal prep. Most of your bodybuilding clients set time aside on weekends for this endeavor so they have less to worry about during the week and more time to focus on their training goals.

Sunday afternoons are generally a popular choice because people actually have some free time to shop and cook, and that way food is fresh for the beginning of the week. Setting aside two to three hours usually allows more than enough time to make five to six days' worth of food.
However, if you have a large family, or crave more variety throughout the week, you might need to add one additional prep session per week. you personally prep twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, but choose a schedule that works best for you and your family.

Your meal needs are going to be different depending on whether you want to achieve fat loss, maintenance, or muscle gain.
Once you're comfortable following the prescriptive preps and are ready to venture off on your own or simply find yourself craving more variety, you can follow these simple steps to help you decide what kind of meals to include in your weekly plan:
- Know your nutritional goals. Knowing your macronutrient split and how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis will help you select appropriate meals to include in your plan. 
- Make things you like to eat. This may seem obvious, but you can't accentuate enough the importance of selecting foods you actually enjoy eating. Having meals you look forward to each day will make sticking to your plan and reaching your goals much easier.
- Look for similar ingredients. Ingredients that do double (or triple) duty and appear in multiple recipes will make meal prep less complicated and save you money at the grocery store. For example, you can buy a family pack of chicken and use it to make the Chicken Tortilla Soup, the Chicken Burrito Bowl, and the Lean Chicken Strips with Tomato-Corn Salad.
- Choose simple recipes. If you're new to meal prepping, have limited experience in the kitchen, or are busy (aren't we all?), you'll want to select recipes that have simple cooking techniques and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. This makes for a shorter prep time, keeps your costs down, and gives you more time to focus on your training.

Once you've selected all of the recipes you'll be using in your weekly meal plan, create a shopping list detailing all the ingredients you'll need. Before you head out to the store, make sure to follow these simple tips to save time and money:
- Take an inventory. Make sure to check the fridge, freezer, and pantry for what you already have at home so you don't end up buying unnecessary items.
- Don't shop hungry. You've heard it a million times, but the old adage holds true: Never shop when you're hungry or you'll risk succumbing to impulse buys.
- Consider substitutions. Be flexible and learn to swap out foods when it comes to sales and cheaper ingredient options. As you gain more exposure to meal planning, you'll become more comfortable experimenting with various substitutions.
- Don't forget about the frozen food aisle. Frozen foods are packaged within hours of harvesting and often are much cheaper than fresh foods, which can spoil if not used in a timely manner.
- Buy what you can in bulk. This is especially true for meats, which can be separated into smaller portions, frozen foods, or pantry items like grains, nuts, and dried beans.

Keeping the right balance of carbs, protein, and fat is critical for building muscle and losing fat. Of course you can include others based on your own preferences—just don't forget to read the labels so you know exactly how they fit into your daily macros.

For easy, healthy meals, you keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with go-to items. Some of your personal favorites include:
- VEGETABLES: Cauliflower, red bell pepper, onion, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, spinach, kale
- PROTEINS: Grass-fed beef, chicken, salmon, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, vegan protein powder, beans, lentils
- CARBS: Oats, quinoa, pasta, white and sweet potatoes, rice, apples, berries, bananas
- HEALTHY FATS: Olive oil, avocado oil, cashews, peanuts, almonds, avocados, chia seeds, flaxseed, fatty fish

4. PREP and cook
Prepping an entire week's worth of meals in just a day or two may sound overwhelming at first. You might be wondering where to start, how it'll all come together in a short window of time, and whether it will ever become second nature.
It may make you feel better to hear that when you first began your bodybuilding journey, you felt overwhelmed and completely out of your element, too. The good news is that through much research and trial and error, you learned how meal prepping can actually be your best friend, and now you get to benefit from what you learned.

Dividing up your meals into individual containers also means giving yourself the gift of instant portion control. You can grab a quick breakfast or workday lunch with the assurance that you're well on your way to your goals by getting the appropriate amount of calories and nutrients. You'll probably want to invest in a set of high-quality food containers in various sizes, which we'll discuss shortly.
For recipes that require reheating, you'll have instructions on how to bring them to the right temperature, too (though some are just as good served cold).

While it might sound like overkill if you're not used to it, you believe that measuring or weighing foods before cooking and/or eating them is a good idea, at least initially, until you develop a good feel for what proper serving sizes look like.
Furthermore, we may think "a cup is a cup," but measuring foods in grams and milliliters offers more precision than the traditional Imperial units. Don't believe me? Try weighing a cup of any common ingredient in grams, then compare it with the weight listed on the nutrition panel. You may be surprised to find you're getting much more—or much less—than you thought. This can affect not only the calories and macro content of your foods, but the flavor blends of recipes, as well.
While you certainly don't have to weigh or measure everything you eat for the rest of your bodybuilding journey, you highly recommend getting cozy with a good set of measuring cups and spoons and a small, inexpensive food scale. If you start practicing now, you will be a pro by the time you are done with this six-week program.

Essential Storage Containers
When you're prepping numerous meals for use throughout the week, there's one piece of equipment you can't do without: the right storage containers. 
To make meal prepping work for you, you'll want to invest in a set of high-quality containers you can use again and again. Often, after you pull a meal out of storage, you'll want to reheat it, too. So anything you use for your meal prep program will need to be safe for a range of temperatures, from freezing to very hot, and must be microwave-safe.
Because you'll also sometimes be preparing foods of various textures, like sauces, soups, and salads with dressing, you'll want to be sure your containers seal well and are leakproof. Mason jars work really well for meal prep, especially for salads where you can layer the ingredients right in the jar.
While the decision of what type of containers to use is totally up to you, you highly recommend glassware instead of plastic. Glass holds up better over time, stains less, works well under almost any temperature conditions, and doesn't pose the risk of leaching undesirable chemicals into your food.
It can actually be rather fun and motivating to get a brand-new set of food storage containers. Maybe it's just me, but seeing all those shiny glass containers waiting to be filled gets me excited about the idea of making meal prep a reality.

Once you've put in the hard work of prepping a week's meals, you definitely want to make sure they keep long enough for you to eat them. First, it's a best practice to always label and date your containers before stashing them in the refrigerator or freezer. Although you may think you'll remember what you made and on what date, you might be surprised. This is especially true when storing foods in the freezer for weeks or months at a time, where it can be pretty tough to recall exactly when you prepped them.
It's also helpful to understand that not all foods keep equally well in the refrigerator, and some simply don't freeze well. Here are some handy guidelines for how long various foods can stay fresh in the refrigerator and freezer.


Salads: egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, pasta salad 

Hamburger, meatloaf, and other dishes made with ground meat (raw) 

Steaks: beef, pork, lamb (raw) 

Chops: beef, pork, lamb (raw) 

Roasts: beef, pork, lamb (raw) 

Whole chicken or turkey (raw) 

Pieces: chicken or turkey (raw)

Soups and stews with vegetables and meat 


Beef, lamb, pork, or chicken (cooked) 
*Chart based on FoodSafety.gov

The Meal Preps and Recipes
Each week of your six-week meal prep will look a little different. Since you don't want to throw you into the deep end of prepping an entire week's meals right up front, we'll start off slowly in week 1. During this first week, you'll prep just three meals. Then in week 2, we'll add one more for a total of four prepped meals. By week 3, you'll prep six meals, and in weeks 4 through 6, you'll reach your max of prepping seven meals.
It's up to you if you choose to eat a meal on a different day or at a different time. Some recipes will also make a few more meals than you'll need for the plan.
While you absolutely can reuse the six-week meal plan over and over, eventually you'll probably want to branch out on your own. No matter the recipes you choose, planning, shopping, and prepping for an entire week of meals can take place on one day. Then you're free to enjoy less stress throughout the coming week.


Complete the meal preps that follow, and you'll be setting yourself up for success with your bodybuilding goals. While meal prepping may take some getting used to, you think you'll find that once you get into the habit, it really does make life—and reaching your fitness targets—infinitely easier. Let's dive in.

As we get the ball rolling in week 1, we'll ease into the idea of meal prepping gently. Long-term health changes often start out small, so you won't overwhelm you this first week. Instead, you'll have just three super-simple recipes to work on: a breakfast smoothie and two easy dinners.
Because the first week's meal prep accounts for only two meals per day, you're on your own to round out your day with additional meals in order to meet your required daily macronutrient goals.


- Vanilla almond milk, unsweetened (5 cups)
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Chia seeds
- Chicken stock (½ cup)
- Cumin, ground
- Dijon mustard
- Flaxseed, ground
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Oats, quick-cooking
- Olive oil, extra-virgin
- Oregano, dried
- Red wine vinegar
- Salsa (½ cup)
- Sea salt
- Thyme, dried
- Vanilla vegan protein powder

- Bananas (3)
- Celery (1 stalk)
- Garlic (1 head)
- Kale, any variety (8 ounces)
- Kale, red (1 pound)
- Onion (1)
- Parsley, fresh (1 bunch)
- Portobello mushroom caps (2 pounds)
- Thyme, fresh (1 bunch)
- Tomato, vine-ripened (1)

- Chicken tenders (1 pound)
- Eggs, large (2)
- Turkey, lean ground (2 pounds)

- Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 ounces)

- Mixed berries (5 cups)


1 Berrylicious Protein Smoothie Berrylicious Protein Smoothie Berrylicious Protein Smoothie Berrylicious Protein Smoothie Berrylicious Protein Smoothie
2 Lean Turkey Meatballs with Portobello Caps Easy Salsa Chicken with Wilted Kale Lean Turkey Meatballs with Portobello Caps Easy Salsa Chicken with Wilted Kale Lean Turkey Meatballs with Portobello Caps

What you'll use this week:

- Blender
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- Large skillet
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Nonstick baking sheet (2)
- Silicone brush

- Airtight food storage containers (10)
- Resealable freezer bags (5)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Prepare the Lean Turkey Meatballs through step 3, and place in the oven to bake for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the portobello mushroom caps through step 2.
3. Cook the kale for the Easy Salsa Chicken with Wilted Kale, and complete steps 1 through 4 for the chicken.
4. As the chicken simmers, get out 5 freezer bags and make the Berrylicious Protein Smoothie packs. Store the smoothie packs in the freezer for easy access each weekday morning.
5. Once the Salsa Chicken has completed cooking, add the cheese and cook until melted (step 5). Remove from the heat and let cool.
6. By this time, the meatballs should be just about done baking. Remove them from the oven and let cool. Adjust the oven to broil and broil mushrooms according to step 3.
7. Set out 10 airtight storage containers. Divide the turkey meatballs and portobello caps evenly among 6 containers, then divide the Salsa Chicken evenly among the remaining 4 containers. Let cool, seal, and store all the containers in the refrigerator.