NutritionWeight Loss

Meal Prep for Weight Loss – How to Make a 7 Day Plan

Find out how to create seven full days of meal prep for weight loss right here and make sticking to your diet a breeze.

Let’s be real for a second, if dieting was easy, we’d all be able to drop or gain weight whenever we wanted.

The fact of the matter is, it’s not easy, and I think it’s safe to say that just about all of us have tried to change the way we eat to influence the way our bodies look and feel. And I’m sure for every one of us who have, we’ve all given up on our attempts.

Whether that’s due to convenience, binging when temptation strikes, or even out of sheer boredom, it’s something most of us have experienced.

However, we’ve got one amazing tip that could help you keep on track and stay inspired throughout the week and that involves creating a seven-day meal prep for weight loss plan.

Check out this article and discover delicious recipes, healthy meals and a much easier way to achieve your goals.

What is meal prep?

meal prep for weight loss

Changing your eating habits is no easy job. When you do there are several problems that may arise.

For example:

  • You might be asking yourself what am I meant to be eating?
  • How much should I eat?
  • Where can I get health foods from while I’m at work?
  • What can I snack on between meals?
  • And even, how can I make healthy meals taste good?

These are all valid questions, and ones you most definitely should be asking if you’ve decided to go on a weight loss diet.

Well luckily, meal prep can help to answer all of these questions, and probably more.

Meal prep for weight loss is the method of planning out your meals in advance. By sitting down one day a week and figuring out what you’re meant to be eating and how much, you can then cook your meals accordingly.

When you have all this information, it’s time to hit the kitchen and whip up a feast. Literally. You’re going to have to cook enough food to last you for every meal – for a full week.

By planning your meals in this way, and then cooking it all in advance, you’ll always have the perfect foods on hand, pre-cooked, so you can fulfil your dietary needs throughout the day.

From snacks, to your evening meal, this takes the stress out of dieting.

Ever been starving between meals but don’t know what to get to maintain your healthy diet? Maybe it’s even driven you to buy chocolate instead of a healthier option?

Well that happens to just about everyone.

But if you have every meal and snack ready to go and planned into your daily needs, then you’re so much more likely to hit your targets day after day. And we all know that weight loss happens over a prolonged period of time.

[Related Article: Meal Prep for Beginners – the Complete Guide ] 

How to make a meal plan

The first step on our meal prepping journey is figuring out what your body needs to lose weight. Once you know this, you can start the fun part – the cooking.

But before that, let’s find out how much you need to be eating, and what you need to be eating.

Our first step is figuring out how many calories you burn on a day to do basis. To do this, you need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate followed by your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

Luckily for you, we’ve written a whole article on how to calculate BMR and TDEE right here.

Once you have your TDEE, you need to reduce that by around 20% in order to lose weight safely and successfully.

So, for example, if your TDEE is 2,000 calories, then you need to deduct 20% off that.

2,000 x 0.8 = 1,600cals

You should aim to eat around 1,600 calories to safely lose weight and keep it off.

After that you need to figure out how much protein, carbohydrates and fats you’re eating.

This is key, as the International Society of Sports Nutrition have proven that a high protein diet is key to losing fat and promoting muscle [1].

They suggest you take 1.4-2g of protein for every kg of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 70kg aim for around 98-140g of protein a day depending on your activity levels.

The more active you are and the more weights you lift, the more protein you should have for repair purposes.

Use around 30% of your calories for fats, then use the remaining calories for your carbohydrates.

Bear in mind that:

  • Protein = 4 cals per gram
  • Carbohydrates = 4 cals per gram
  • Fats = 9 cals per gram

When you have all this information written down, you can start to plan your meals to suit your dietary needs.

To make life easier, you may want to try out a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal. You can set your macronutrient goals easily, then scan in the foods you want to eat throughout the day. It adds the protein, carb, fat and calorie targets from each food to your overall consumption, helping you to plan what you need to eat throughout the day to achieve your goals.

Use it to help plan what you should be eating and you’ll soon have a full menu ready to go.

What foods need to be in my meal prep for weight loss?

meal prep for weight loss meals

The most important thing to do when you’re meal prepping is understand how foods can benefit you.

For example, you’ll find high levels of muscle building, fat melting protein in meats, beans and soy. Needless to say, you want to include plenty of this in your diet.

Carbohydrates provide you with energy and come in the form of fibers, which play an essential role within the digestive system.

Fat is key to all your internal processes and will help you to maintain overall wellbeing. It’s also jam packed full of nutrients and energy.

On top of that, you need as much color and variety in your diet as possible. That means eating plenty of vegetables and one or two pieces of fruit every day to ensure your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

To help you figure out what you’re putting into your meal prep for weight loss plan, check out the foods you should be including.

Protein

  • White meat – chicken and turkey
  • Fish – salmon, cod, haddock
  • Red meat – beef and pork
  • Legumes – Beans and soy
  • Dairy – Milk
  • Protein supplements – whey protein

Carbohydrates

(In this section we’ve only included complex carbs, as they’re more nutritious and give you a slower release of energy which is beneficial on a calorie restricted diet.)

  • Whole grains – Oats, rice and wheat
  • Potatoes – white or sweet
  • Whole fruits – apples, strawberries, bananas etc
  • Legumes – lentils, beans and peas
  • Seeds – pumpkin and chia seeds
  • Vegetables – all veggies contains small amount of carbs and huge health benefits

Fats

(Here, we’re talking about unsaturated fats as, in small amounts they can help you to maintain good cholesterol levels and maintain good health. Avoid trans and saturated fats)

  • Oils – Olive oil
  • Nuts – cashews, peanuts and spreads
  • Avocados
  • Fish – Salmon and mackerel

[Related Article: Whey Protein for Women – Do You Need it? ]

What foods should I avoid to lose weight?

There are some foods and drinks that can very quickly lead to a failed dieting effort. Simply because they offer very low nutritional benefits, but come with a hefty calorie count too. Avoid the following foods while you’re trying to lose weight:

  • Refined sugars – sodas, chocolate, sweets etc.
  • Trans fats – Burgers, fries, cakes etc
  • Saturated fats – Sausages, cheeses, cream

[Related Article: 13 Best Foods for Weight Loss

How often do I need to eat to lose weight?

There isn’t really a secret formula or solid approach on how regularly you should be eating to lose weight.

At the end of the day, a calorie deficit is the key to losing weight [2].

That means you have to consume less calories than you do through day to day life and exercise.

It’s really as simple as that, so how often you eat doesn’t really come into it directly.

However, one way you can help yourself with your weight loss efforts is through planning your snacks. Often, a calorie deficit can leave you feeling hungry between meals, which is a fast track to cheating on your diet and opting for a less healthy alternative.

When you’re planning your meal prep for weight loss, don’t forget to factor in your snacks. Whether that’s a protein shake or some fruit, this can often be the difference between finishing the day on track, or going off the rails completely.

By eating more regularly throughout the day you may find it easier to stave off hunger and keep your body fueled throughout the day – even during a calorie deficit.

What meal prep containers should I use?

meal prep for weight loss containers

There is something so satisfying about buying and using meal prep containers.

You’ll see Instagram influencers with everything in their fridges packed neatly away in fashionable (but surely not convenient?!) mason jars. You don’t have to be quite as fancy as that.

Basically, it’s quite simple to find food prep containers. You need something that will keep your food fresh and that you can carry with you when you go to work or out for the day.

We’d recommend looking out for a sturdy glass container with a water-tight seal on the lid. This is not only good for the planet, they won’t stain like plastic options and they’ll keep your food fresh.

You can buy smaller ones for you snacks and larger options to cater for your lunch and evening meals.

But if that doesn’t work for you, simply look around for the best one for you and your needs.

How long can you keep meal prep for?

Once you’ve cooked your food and distributed it among your containers, you need to look at storage.

You should be keeping your food prep in the fridge in order to keep it cold and therefore, fresh. You can expect it to stay good for around 5 days.

Your final two days simply store in your freezer and take out to defrost the day before you plan on eating them. Reheat the food thoroughly and you’re ready to go.

 [Related Article: Best Weight Loss Workouts for Women ]

7 day meal prep for weight loss plan

meal prep for weight loss jars

To give you a helping hand on your meal prep for weight loss plan, this is what you could expect a typical day to look like for a 70kg woman on 1,600kg a day. We’ve included average macronutrient values to help you see where you’re getting them from:

Breakfast

  • 40g Oats in water (150cals , 23g carbs, 3g fat, 4g protein)
  • Scoop of protein powder mixed in (120cals, 3g carbs, 2g fat, 23g protein)

Mid-morning snack

  • 2 x Large boiled eggs (170 cals, 0g carbs, 12g fat, 17g protein)

Lunch

  • 80g chicken breast (120 cals, 0g carbs, 1g fat, 24g protein)
  • 120g black beans (121 cals, 15g carbs, 1g fat, 9g protein)
  • 150g broccoli (26 cals, 6g carbs, 0g fat, 3.3g protein)

Midafternoon snack

  • 200g quark yogurt (140 cals, 13g carbs, 0g fat, 20g protein)

Evening meal

  • 120g salmon fillet (250 cals, 0g carbs, 15g fat, 30g protein)
  • 130g sweet potato (115 cals, 27g carbs, 0g fat, 2g protein)

1,220 87 34 135

Evening snack

  • 2 slices whole grain toast (200 cals, 18g carbs, 1g fat, 4g protein)
  • 30 Peanut butter (190 cals, 2g carbs, 16g fat, 8g protein)

For this, your final values are:

1,610 calories

107 carbohydrates

51g fat

141g protein

Final word

Once you know how to meal prep for weight loss, your goals become a whole lot more achievable.

With all your meals and snacks planned out, you’ll take convenience, hunger and lack of proper nutrition out of the question.

Everything will be laid out for you ready to go.

Simply do your meal prep on one evening a week, and you’ll have everything you need to hit your food targets.

Lauren

Lauren is a health and fitness enthusiast, powerlifter and writer who's written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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