Crush your weight loss goals by being prepared! These are the high protein foods I meal prep for each week and you should too.
How Protein Can Help You with Weight Loss
To be clear- calories count! With too many calories, whether they come from carb, protein or fat, you will not be succesful with weight loss.
However, through 4 decades of dieting, I have found, a higher protein diet has curbed my appetite significantly. Processed foods and grain based, high fat carbs trigger a desire for me to eat more and more. I find it extremely difficult to sit down to just one bowl of cereal. I want to pour 10 bowls. However, a high protein egg frittata doesn’t carry that same desire to eat more.
This has been shown in studies to be true. In the American Journal On Clinical Nutrition, they found, “protein generally increases satiety to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat and may facilitate a reduction in energy consumption.” In my case, this is 100% the truth!
The Meals I Won’t Prep
I’ve tried meal prepping over years with one major problem. I would eat the food I prepped too quickly. This did nothing for getting me ahead for the week, and only meant I was overeating. It was impossible to meet my weight loss goals because meal prepping often made me eat too much.
Then, I realized, the foods I chose to prep ahead of time were the problem. If I switched to only prepping the proteins, there wouldn’t be the same urge to consume every good meal I just prepared.
Muffins, homemade protein bars, protein pancakes, low calorie waffles, or high calorie energy balls would all get eaten as soon as I made them. Prep 12 muffins, and I’ll eat 6 of them the next day. So basically, tasty baked goods, even if it made my mornings easier, was not smart for maintaining my weight loss.
High Protein Food I Will Prep
It turns out, I can set aside time to meal prep for the high protein foods, and it does not tempt me to eat it all in one day. Not only that, but it made it so much easier to stick to my weight loss meal plan!
Prepping the food and not the meals
What made the most sense to me, so I’d have a quick and easy meal, but still be open to variety, is to just prep the high protein foods.
This is what a typical prepping afternoon will consist of:
- Chicken – Cooking Chicken is #1! I always have cooked chicken in the fridge. I don’t bother weighing it until I’m ready to eat it. I will also cook the chicken in a variety of ways depending on what I’m in the mood for. So, Grilled chicken, roasted chicken, rotisserie chicken, cubed chicken or in the Instant Pot. Each week it’s a different cooking method, or sometimes two or three at once.
- Ground Turkey- The second thing I’ll prep is Ground Turkey. I like the 96% or 97% lean, and cook it on a skillet.
- Eggs – The third thing I’ll prep is hard boiled eggs. These are so nice to have on hand when I’m on the go, or just have a craving. I started using an egg cooker like this one, and they peel perfectly EVERY. SINGLE. TIME
- Ground Beef – I’ll also prep ground beef, because it not only fits with a lot of meals I eat, but also, a lot of family meals as well.
- Turkey Bacon – Sometimes I’ll prep some turkey bacon, but not often since it only takes 2 minutes to cook it in the microwave. Plus, it tastes better warm and fresh.
- Protein Ice cream! I will blend a few fruit and protein powder servings, and store them individually in freezer safe containers for ice cream later in the week.
High protein store bought foods I make sure to have ready
Beyond the proteins that I cook, I make sure I have the following high protein foods, ready to go.
- Carton of egg whites! I always have these. I eat egg whites most mornings, so having the carton ready to go saves the headache of dividing yolks from the whites.
- Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt. I use this in so many recipes, that I can’t live without it! I also like to stir in berries, protein powder, and lately, even pumpkin puree!
- Canned Tuna! This is a great food to take on the go, or eat in a pinch without any prepping at all. I also enjoy buying the pouches of tuna.
- Canned chicken– just like the tuna, this makes a quick lunch with no prep at all.
- Fat free cottage cheese– Another store bought item to keep on hand. It’s high in protein, and compliments so many meals.
What meals can you make with your prepped proteins?
After your high protein foods are prepped, then you can get creative with a variety of meal ideas!
Meal Prep to be ready for Breakfast
Breakfast really doesn’t take too long to prepare. In fact, I can get breakfast ready from scratch in under 5 minutes, no prep necessary. However, If I make sure during a high protein meal prep session to have enough yogurt, eggs, egg whites, and hard boiled eggs, I’m good to go!
With these foods on hand, I’ll make these meals.
- Eggs – Usually I make scrambled eggs or omelettes. But if you need more variety, check out these 19 ways to make a low calorie egg breakfast!
- Deviled eggs- If you have hard boiled eggs prepped, making these deviled eggs can be a delicious way to start your day.
- Yogurt bowls- Whether you add protein powder or just fruit, yogurt bowls are fast and easy.
Meal Prep for Lunch or Dinner
For lunch and dinner, I keep it simple. For weight loss success, I’ll just pair my protein with some cooked veggies, or top a salad with it.
With pre- cooked chicken, the meals I make include:
- Chicken and zucchini- I love to spiralize zucchini, and just top it with the pre-cooked chicken! Fast and easy.
- Chicken and add sweet potato fries and broccoli. I will cook the sweet potato fries in my air fryer with the broccoli. It takes less than 10 minutes! Super fast and easy when your chicken is prepped.
- Green salads! I just top the chicken on a green salad. I will add any vegetables I have on hand in my fridge and some Bolthouse Ranch dressing.
- Just chicken! Like my chick-fil-a copycat chicken nuggets, I’ll just grab a dip or some seasonings, and just eat the prepped chicken.
With pre-cooked ground beef or turkey, I’ll make a meal with
- Ground turkey plus cooked veggies like asparagus and mushrooms.
- Top a salad with ground turkey or beef .
- Add spiralized zucchini to ground beef.
- Or make tacos!
And finally, Prepped High Protein DESSERT!
I like to eat three meals a day, plus dessert, which is usually a protein ice cream, or protein pudding bowl.
- Protein strawberry ice cream! Just blend strawberries with protein powder and a liquid, then freeze.
- Protein birthday cake ice cream – This is a new one for me. I used birthday cake protein powder, almond milk, and some sugar free pudding mix. Then, sprinkles! haha.
- Protein banana Ice cream -Just a frozen banana blended with some protein powder.
- and a yogurt protein bowl, Cookies and Cream!
Final tips on a high protein meal prep
Although I don’t do it anymore, I used to prep beans! These freeze well and can be added to so many meals.
During Peak week for my bikini prep, I also portioned out my veggies. I was ready to go with so many meals, it made peak week very easy!
On a road trip, prepping your meals is essential! I prepped and kept some of these in the hotel fridge from my last road trip.
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