How to Automate Your Diet: Meal Prep

Automate Your Diet

Not so long time ago, I was eating out during my working hours. I thought it was a good idea. But after a month I checked my bank account and I was frightened.

My Food expenses consisted of 45% of my monthly expenses!

So I decided that I’ll cook on my own. Unfortunately, there were times when I was hungry as hell because I didn’t have anything to eat. Especially when I needed to work 40 hours weekly and attend classes on the university.

Then the idea came to my mind: What if I just prepare meals in advance so I won’t be so pissed off during constantly preparing.

Then I found about meal planning and I set it up.

Introduction

What’s that?

It’s a cooking system that helps you in having access to your favorite food wherever you want and as cheap as possible. You simply buy food in advance and cook it 1-2 times per week and put meals into plastic containers and put them in the fridge.

Why Even Bother?

It’ll save you a lot of time, energy and money. It will also improve your health. It’s a good investment.

Who Can Benefit?

People who want to save money and time.

How to Apply it?

I decided to finally automate my process of eating.

I will tell you what I’ve done and how you can copy it.

Before we start:

My goal is to show you how to automate your life and avoid spending money on stupid things. I’m not a nutritionist so don’t take my word for your meal choices. Also if you have any health problems, consult with your doctor to be sure what you can eat.

Step 1: Identify How Much You Should Eat in a Body Calculator.

The first question comes to my mind: what should I eat and in what amount.

I’m not a bodybuilder so I’m not gonna count every calorie but I’ll use this tool just to estimate how much should I eat. As a famous quote says: “What gets measured gets managed”.

I shouldn’t be hungry during the day and on the other hand, I shouldn’t eat too much.

Let’s say I need to eat 3000 calories during the day.

I’d prefer to eat 4 meals a day.

3000/4=750 calories per meal.

Now choose your macros proportion. It may differ whether you’d prefer fat for your main fuel or carbs.

But regardless you should eat about 2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight.

So in my case, that would be 140 grams. So when I divide it for 4 meals that’s 140/4=35 grams of protein per meal.

Step 2: Specify Your Weekly Meal Plan.

Find out what healthy meals you like to eat. I’m looking forward to bring some variety to my meal plan but for now, it’s very straightforward. For me each day looks like this:

Meal 1: Protein Shake

Meal 2: Chilli con Carne OR chicken with rice OR Beef with Pasta

Meal 3: Chilli con Carne OR chicken with rice OR Beef with Pasta

Meal 4: Oatmeal

Check macronutrients and calories of ingredients in each meal and define right portions.

Step 3: Buy Kitchen Equipment

In past, I’ve struggled with cooking because of all that equipment. A pan could make a little trouble when you need to stay all the time nearby it.

That’s why I’ve recently bought the slow cooker and a rice cooker. It saves a lot of time.

All I need to do now is to just put all the ingredients in one big pot called slow cooker and then I can do whatever the hell I want!

Rice cooker can be helpful as well. Instead of cooking rice every day I can cook a lot in one go and then enjoy it for the next couple of days.

Look at the recipes and your kitchen and define what you’d need to buy to prepare the food you like to eat. Chances are you’ve already got all you need.

Buying a slow cooker and rice cooker is optional but if you have a busy schedule like me and also don’t like staying too long in the kitchen then you should reconsider buying that equipment.

Step 4: Do Shopping

Many people buy their foods in a supermarket. But, what if you instead buy them online? It’ll save you a lot of time and energy. And also you’ll be less likely to buy junk food when you got prepared list.

You know that feeling when you go nearby some junk foods in a supermarket and can’t resist to buy them? Yea I know it too. This way you’ll avoid it.

Now, what to buy in what amount?

You need to know how much space you have in your fridge and in the refrigerator.

But first let’s start with dividing your food into few categories:

First: perishable and non-perishable.

Second: Protein-based, carb-based and fat-based.

You can buy in bulk your non-perishable food every 4 months.

However when it comes to perishable food buy it every 1-2 weeks depending on the size of your refrigerator.

Remember that not only you want to automate your diet but hit your macros as well so you’ll stay lean and healthy.

Step 5: Prepare your Meals

Now when you have all the ingredients you can prepare everything in bulk.

Let’s start with a meat. Put your meat in a slow cooker. Then add the rest of ingredients but rice. That will be vegetables, spices and so on. Set slow cooker for 4 hours when heated in high power and for 8 hours when heated in low power.

Put rice in a rice cooker.

What will be proportions of all that? Define how much you need for 1 meal and multiply it for 6 so you’ll have 6 meals.

After your food is cooked, separate it through your boxes and put it in a refrigerator.

Now when you have all your food prepared you just need to pick one or two of these boxes and carry with yourself wherever you go.

Math behind it

Let’s see the math of preparing lunches at home:

Let’s see how much time I spent on doing all of that:

I spent:

  • 10 minutes on determining what I need to buy and buying it.
  • 10 minutes on repacking my food.
  • 10 minutes on preparing my food in a slow cooker and rice cooker 2 times per week.
  • 10 minutes on putting meals in boxes 2 times a week
  • 5 minutes per day on washing the dishes.

10+10+2*10+2*10+7*5=95 minutes per week

How much it costs me?

I live in Poland so my prices may differ from yours. But let’s say that I’m spending on lunches about $1.5 per day. Where lunch costs $4.5 if I decided to eat out. So it saves me $3 on each meal per day

So it’s 30*$3=$90 monthly per each meal.

Comparison

What are the alternatives?

Cooking Each Day:

  • Spending a lot of time
  • Saving money
  • Too much focus on preparing meals
  • Control over portions

Ordering Meals/Eating out:

  • Saving time
  • Spending a lot of time
  • It can be unhealthy
  • No control over portions

Meal Prepping (Diff Path):

  • Saving time
  • Saving money
  • Not distracted by food
  • Control over portions
  • Automating preparation
  • Immediate access to food

My Results

I have full energy during the whole day and I’ve saved a lot of money. I also have more time to do the most important stuff.

What’s more, I’m no longer worried that I have nothing to eat or that I throw my money away.

And last but not least, I can be fully concentrated on my work.

Where to Start?

Just pick the simplest recipe possible. Then go to the grocery store (or online) and buy all your ingredients. Cook it and see if you’ll like it.

You can always switch back if you don’t find it easy and practical.

Try for 2 weeks and see it for yourself!

 

2 thoughts on “How to Automate Your Diet: Meal Prep

  1. What a great post and some good ideas there. I’ve never thought about getting a rice cooker to cut down on cooking costs. Brilliant idea and I’ll bet you could find tons of recipes for one dish meals to cook in it! I think I might just look into this.

    1. Thank you! 😀 A rice cooker is practical and easy to use. Using it is so comfortable 😀 Yeah, there are many recipes out there. Try one of them and see if you like it and then repeat 😀

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