(image from Downshiftology)

Save Time, Money and Set Backs with this Meal Planning System from under 2 Hours a Week.


When it comes to healthy eating, following a new eating plan or starting any new challenge, preparation is the key to success.  


Those Girl Guides are onto something there.


In fact, one study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine suggests that spending time on preparing and cooking meals at home is linked with better dietary habits for the long term.


But if you love the convenience of prepackaged foods and restaurant meals, it might be hard to go cold turkey on your take-out routine.


Luckily, planning and preparing your meals ahead of time will make healthy choices a no-brainer. Instead of running to the deli for a cold cut calorie bomb, you’ll have a home cooked feast on hand that can be heated up faster than you can walk two blocks. (Leaving you with more time to squeeze in your daily training or walking !)


And hey, you’ll save money while you’re at it.


Plus, if you’re intimidated by cooking, there are tons of sneaky tricks that can help make assembling delicious meals a cinch. From easy breakfast options to methods for whipping up meals in bulk, we’ve got expert tips to set yourself up for a fuss-free and healthy week.

Whip out your favorite glass storage container (we’re loving these leak-proof options) and get started.


Here is my meal prepping process:

  1. I start with a plan and grab a few recipes (guess what you goddesses already have that)
  2. then I write out my shopping list by checking my fridge/pantry and cupboards first and then seeing what I need
  3. I do most of my shopping online now – why? because I love to buy lots of candles and loungewear in Tesco and if I don’t go I just don’t buy it! #truth
  4. When shopping arrives, I always get Josh to help me unpack, why? Because then he knows what we are eating for the week and where all his snacks and foods lives so he can grab it or make it himself
  5. I also always do a mini fridge clear out/wipe out/tidy/organise so I know what is in there.
  6. Then I decide from my meal plan list what I can prep in advance and it usually is
KEY PROTEINS: Boiled eggs, Scramble Tofu, Beans, Chick Peas, Veggie Sausages or Patties (meat eaters could do cook meat patties or roast some chicken.)
KEY CARBS: Cook Quinoa, Bake Sweet Potato
KEY FRUIT & VEGGIES: Chop carrots and celery and spiralize some courgette or chop other veggies like peppers or onion with my mandolin or roast veggies with same cooking time (like courgette, broccoli, onions, peppers and tomato.)

KEY BREAKFAST & SNACKS: 3 chia seed puddings and some protein balls (Josh loves these).

BATCH COOK: Then I batch cook 1 or 2 things: Egg Muffins or some Chilli that I can make in the Slow Cooker.
SMOOTHIE BAGS: Put Spinach, Kale, blueberries and 1/4 bananas (or not) into freezer bags for 4 Proothies that week.
DRESSINGS: like lime juice and oil.
7. Then I have a notice board in my kitchen- a cork one I can pin things too and a wipeable one (as I don’t have a fridge I can put magnets on), that details what the eating plan for the week is and what snacks/breakfasts I have and also Josh’s.
For me, if I can’t see it, I forget or if I don’t tell myself what I am eating that day, I might think- “don’t fancy that’ and then the food goes to waste and gets thrown out.

Watch this beautiful video from Downshiftology:

1. Chop or spiralize raw vegetables in advance.

Too hangry to make dinner at the end of a long day? Cut veggies in bulk ahead of time to avoid wasting precious minutes chopping on busy weeknights. You can make this step a breeze with a simple Spiralizer (around $30 apiece). Courgette/Zucchini noodles (“courgetti or zoodles”) and butternut squash noodles will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days, and chopped vegetables like carrots, onion and pepper will last a week when refrigerated properly in a sealed plastic bag or container. Photo and tip: Ali / Inspiralized

2. Bag up smoothie ingredients.

Ever put a little of this, a little of that in your blender and end up with a supersized smoothie? Save yourself from unnecessary calories by pre-assembling and freezing the ingredients. By measuring out your berries, coconut water or non dairy milk (frozen in an ice cube tray) and greens ahead of time, your shake will be perfectly portioned, every time. Photo:  Pop Sugar

3. Use muffin tins for smarter breakfast muffins or mini omelette style frittatas.

You could enjoy a fancy frittata every morning of the week, and only turn your stove on once. The secret? Make-ahead egg muffins! Make several of these recipes in advance (you can store in the fridge for up to five days) so you don’t get bored throughout the week. Wrap them in a paper towel to microwave them so they won’t dry out. Photo and recipe:  / Warrior Goddess Kettlebell Training

egg muffins

4. Always roll with some protein-rich snacks.

Protein is essential for muscle recovery after a tough workout and it also keeps hunger at bay — making it an A+ choice for snacks. Instead of reaching for a packaged protein bar that could have more than 400 calories and 28 grams of sugar, try making your own energy balls. Whip up a batch and store them in the fridge for up to six days. Photo and recipe: Lisa Barwise / Warrior Goddess Kettlebell Training

5. Roast different vegetables with same cooking time.

Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness, but waiting 30 to 40 minutes for each pan of nutrient-rich goodness to cook can be time-consuming. To prep a large batch of veggies, try pairing them based on roasting time. Fast-cooking vegetables that can bake in the same pan include asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes; slow-roasting vegetables include carrots, cauliflower, onions, potatoes and parsnips. Photo: Lauren Allen / Tastes Better from Scratch

6. Hard-boil eggs.

An excellent source of protein, vitamins A and B and healthy fat, eggs should be a staple snack for any health fiend. The problem: You can usually only fit up to five eggs in a pot.  This is my favourite video to show how to do this time and again with easy peel hard boil eggs. Video and recipe: Laura Fuentes / Momables

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Meal Prep

Q: How long does this take?
From start to finish about 1 hour and a half. From the list, plan, online shop, shop put away, clear out, meal prep.
Q: How much time does it save me during the week?
About 4 hours of cooking from scratch every time and every meal – not to mention the dishes of doing it all at once (dishes need a mention!!)
Q: How much does this stop me eating SHIT or skipping meals?
I know that I would not be able to hit my eating plan and macro targets without this.
Q: How much money do I save not throwing food away or ordering take away?
I would say this planning strategy and shopping online can save me 30-50% each week so around £30/50 a week (and if we add my candle and loungewear obsession an extra £40 easy.)

Want more batching cooking help and advice with this FREE Download PDF guide?

Lisa Barwise

Author Lisa Barwise

Hi, I'm Lisa. I consider myself a Wellness Alchemist, the catalyst in the transformation of Strong Women around the world. Strong of mind, body and character.

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