Heal Nourish Grow Podcast
Meal Prep Tips for Weight Loss and Maintenance
Rich Howard first started meal prepping in high school when he had special dietary needs as a wrestler. He continued his keto meal prep habit into college and has opted for keto meal prep or high protein versions at times depending on his goals. As a busy father and grad student, he continues to meal prep to save tie and money while eating healthy. His passion for meal prep led him to start the site mealprepify.com where he shares tips for meal prepping as well as recipes for meal prep.
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Keto Meal Prep
Cheryl McColgan: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Heal Nourish Grow Podcast. I’m really excited to share my guest with you, today. His name is Rich, and he runs a site all about meal prep, and it’s really interesting how he got into that. I thought it would be great to chat with him going into the new year, because I know a lot of you are gonna be working on your diets and wondering what you can do to stay on track. So Rich is going to help us out with that today. So welcome, and tell everybody a little bit about sort of your background and how you got to be interested in meal prepping.
Rich Howard: Yeah, thank you, Cheryl, it’s great to be here. Yeah, my name is Rich. I have been meal prepping for as long as I’ve been cooking. I grew up in Austin, Texas, and I wrestled in high school, that was my high school sport. One of the weird things about wrestling is that you have to have weight classes, and so as a high school kid, I was having to diet and eat my own food, and so really, it just started out of necessity. My mom didn’t wanna cook separate food for me every night, and I don’t blame her at all. And so, if the family is having spaghetti, then I would get on the grill and make chicken and rice.
Meal Prep Saves Time and Money, Less Cooking
Rich Howard: And after doing that several times, I realized quickly, I don’t like cooking all that much at the time, and I don’t have time, with studying and sports and practices and having to bring food to school that was on track with the diet, so I just started making all my own food. And I had some particular kind of food dietary needs at the time that I couldn’t really even… I couldn’t even buy food from restaurants really or from grocery stores. So for wrestling, I’d have my water weight down, and so I basically had a no-sodium diet. And if you’ve ever cooked or tracked sodium, anything you eat from anywhere is really high. And so out of necessity, I just started meal prepping.
Rich Howard: I would cook a bunch of food on Sunday nights for the school week as a Sophomore and Junior in high school, and that’s really where I got started. And then, really, I just kind of continued since then. In college, I would… It is the same kind of deal, I wanted to save money and wanted to eat healthy. And so, I would cook a bunch of food on the weekend and eat it in between class and during the week and for dinner, just to save money and time for studying and all that. And then… It’s become one of those weird hobbies/life hacks, that has helped me even since college. So for the last five and a half years, I’ve been in grad school and working as a pastor full-time and have my own business on the side, and I’m married. And so, meal prepping has just always been that thing that saved me time, it saved me money and helped me eat healthy along the way.
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Cheryl McColgan: Yeah. It sounds like you’re probably busier now than ever, really which is a great reason for keto meal prep.
Rich Howard: And we also have an 8-month-old, so life is crazy. Life is crazy right now. And so I like to keep the fridge stocked. Otherwise I’ll just eat terrible food and it’s like if the food is there and it’s cooked and I just gotta heat it up I have no excuse, so it’s been super helpful for me.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, that’s really awesome. And just to clarify for some people, I did know some wrestlers when I was in high school, so I’m maybe a little bit more familiar with it than some people might be, but…
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: So people that do wrestling have to meet a weight class, typically.
Rich Howard: That’s right.
Cheryl McColgan: And you guys do a lot of crazy stuff in an effort to… I think what the idea is, right, to actually be bigger, but to be able to lose enough water weight quickly to weigh-in in a lower weight class. So you’ve mentioned that you were doing a very low sodium diet, and that’s obviously so that you don’t retain water.
Rich Howard: Right.
Cheryl McColgan: Just some background for people to understand what that kind of life is like. Can you share with us some of the other things that you do…
Rich Howard: I can.
Cheryl McColgan: When you were trying to make weight, besides always watch your diet, ’cause there’s a lot of other interesting things that you guys do.
Rich Howard: Right.
Cheryl McColgan: Some healthy, some maybe not as healthy, but I just think it might be interesting for folks.
Meal Prep for Weight Loss
Rich Howard: Oh, for sure, yeah. Absolutely, yes. I was always a bigger kid growing up, and so in my junior and senior year, I would come in at the beginning of the school year in August, September, weighing around 205 to 210, and I would drop down to about 180. And so, I typically had to drop around 25 to 30 pounds by sophomore through senior year, and so… Yeah, you kinda nailed it, the goal is to be as strong as you can for your body weight, to be as lean as possible so that you are pound for pound, stronger, bigger, better than the guy across from you. And so, typically, the lighter you can get, the stronger you’re gonna be for your weight.
Rich Howard: And there’s some kind of manipulation here and there of if a guy at a certain weight class was really good from a different school or a different region, you might try to go a weight class above or below him to avoid having to go against him. And so, my senior year was probably the most extreme, I cut from 210 to 190, and then 190 to the 180 weight class. And then, when I was kind of gearing up for playoffs in state and whatnot, my best friend was at 171, and so I decided to go down to 160. And so, I got… It is wild, so I got down to 168, and that’s when I really cut the sodium down to where basically had no salt in my diet, had to be under a 1000 milligrams of sodium a day, which a thousand sounds like a lot, but it’s really hardly anything. If sodium is a concern, it can fit into keto meal prep.
Rich Howard: Most people eat that in one meal or one bag of chips would have twice that amount. And so, that was for the most extreme I had to get. I ended up not getting to under 160, it was just too miserable for me. But for me, I really tried to be healthy about how I cut weight. So I tried to diet right, I did start early, get down to a reasonable place, and then, it was kind of more watching the water weight. The day of the meet, the night before you get in a sauna, and then, the day of you wouldn’t eat or drink much. You’d wear full body sweats and go for runs and jogs, just to kind of lose water weight. And one typical water bottle is about two pounds of water, and so…
Rich Howard: If you were close on weight like you just wanna drink water, it’s the fastest thing can manipulate to lose or gain weight. And so… And I had friends who were much more extreme and much less healthy. So they would much more binge eat. They would eat pizza and Chick-fil-A for four days a week and then they would starve themselves for the other three days and I just when I… I just hated doing that. I didn’t see the point in that. Other guys would definitely have to drop a lot more weight than I did, so I had friends who would lose 25 pounds in three days because they would just not eat for three days and it was just… For me I didn’t wanna do that. And so, meal prepping was one of the things that just kinda helped me stay healthy along the way
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah. I’m glad to hear that you did that in a much healthier way, maybe than some of your counterparts, since you were more focused on keto meal prep.
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: You said that a few… Did you continue wrestling into college? Or you just…
Rich Howard: I did not. No, I wasn’t that good, to be honest. [chuckle] I mean, I loved it. Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: I’m just curious how your diet changed then like, once you went off to school, you said you continued the keto meal prep kinda for the same reasons to try to stay healthy and to save money and choose the time. But did anything change in your diet over the years since you started experimenting with more of this stuff?
Keto Meal Prep Weight Loss
Rich Howard: Yeah. So in high school whenever I was dieting for wrestling, from August until season started, to lose the 25-30 pounds, I’d mostly do a keto diet. And so your listeners are probably familiar with Keto but it’s basically zero carb. As little as absolutely possible except for trace carbs. And so I kind of followed that whenever I was in high school, you know, preseason and then kinda during season was more low carb, not as strict on Keto necessarily. And so when I went off to college I didn’t wanna do that. [chuckle] And so, I like carbs, I like food. My wife and I, we… Like that’s our source of entertainment and comfort and everything good in life is like, “Okay, we’re gonna celebrate, we’re gonna get food.” “We’re having a hard day, we’re gonna get food.
Keto Diet Balance
Rich Howard: And so definitely have to kind of watch our food and diet. If we’re gonna eat out some, we want the other 80% of our eating to be healthy. So in college it was… I still always… I’ve always loved working out and so even today I still work out 3-5 days a week, kind of, train and powerlifting style of training and so I… Diet is a huge part of that if you wanna do it well. And so now, in college and even in postgrad, I’m mostly just trying to eat healthy, like kinda lifestyle healthy eating. But for me that’s typically high protein and then I eat kind of a steady amount of fats and then I manipulate my carbs based on, if I had an off day, I’ll have as little carbs as possible.
Strategic Keto and Carb Cycling
Rich Howard: If I had a really hard leg day where I’m squatting and doing like a really physical work out, then I’ll eat more carbs that day. So that’s kinda my like… My way of kinda lifestyle eating, it’s easy for me, high protein and then just kind of adjust the carbs based on, “Hey if I’m working out, that’s great, if not, then I don’t get to eat.” [chuckle] And so it’s a incentive to get in the gym.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah. No, that’s such an amazing way to approach it because I think people kind of forget sometimes when they’re following low carb or keto, that you can tolerate more carbs and staying keto… If your goal is staying in ketosis, if you’re working out you can tolerate more carbs and sometimes they’re useful for certain types of workouts, so I think that that’s a really cool and healthy approach that you’ve taken to the whole thing, which is awesome. Because, being a younger person, a lot of people in your age group are not as focused on being healthy yet, so I think it’s good though when you get in the habit of keto meal prep and get a good start. When you’re younger it’s just easier. You have to fight less things as you age, so that’s awesome. So… [chuckle]
Rich Howard: Absolutely. I believe it.
Cheryl McColgan: So you kinda… You say you work… The one thing I did wanna ask you, when you say high protein, what does high protein mean to you? And everybody obviously keep in mind he’s doing weight lifting, so this is a little bit different for him, but I’m just curious what that means for your height and weight. What kind of…
Rich Howard: Yeah. Yeah, it’s a great question. So I think high protein for me is typically at least one gram per pound of body weight and for me that’s a baseline I try to reach, if I’m… And then I can… I sometimes go a little bit higher. I tend to kind of go to 1-1.2 grams per body weight. If you are really overweight, like if you have a higher body fat percentage, I think that number can be lower. And so I think if you’re really, you know, if you’re over 20% body fat I would recommend maybe like 0.8 of your weight. So if you’re 200 pounds, eat 160 grams of protein a day is probably a good place to be.
Optimal Protein on Keto for Muscle Gain
Rich Howard: That’s my recommendations, it’s not gospel. I can’t quote a study off the top of my head that would back that up. That’s just kind of what I’ve always… That’s been a benchmark for me. If I’m trying to really… If I’m trying to bulk up and gain weight and put on muscle, I’ll go higher protein and do my keto meal prep. So I’ve had seasons where I’m doing 1.5 grams a day and at times that’s… For me that’s been 300-350 grams of protein a day. I don’t like doing that. It’s not fun. And so it’s a lot of… That’s actually a lot more… That’s a lot harder than actually training. And so… But I think for a typical lifestyle, if you just wanna eat healthy and… I think it can be lower but if you’re really training hard, I think at least a gram a day is probably where you should be.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah. I would have to say everybody that I’ve heard talk about this in recent history and you said, you can’t cite any studies. I’m not sure if there’s a ton of studies on specifically, protein in relation to weight lifting, but all of the experts that I’ve been listening to lately, just for optimal body composition they really recommend the 0.8 that you said is kind of the minimum for just a general healthy diet, so I think you’re spot on with that. And then increasing based on your goals, as you mentioned, when you’re trying to put on muscle you go up to even maybe 1.5 but this is just for general. Most people if you go between 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight then you should be pretty good. So I think you’re spot on with that.
Rich Howard: Absolutely. And something… Yeah. I’m glad they backed me up or I backed them up. And one thing I’ve noticed is that, for one, protein tends to be a… Sources of protein tend to just be healthier generally. So if you’re eating chicken or turkey or even beef or pork, they tend to be healthier and leaner and have better nutrients for you whereas carb and fat sources, they can be healthy or they can be really unhealthy. And so for me, whenever I’m trying to eat whether it’s dieting or not, a higher protein diet… One, it tends to fill me up more than… If I eat a bunch of carbs, I’m probably not gonna be as full as I would if I ate chicken or something like that. And so, one, it fills me up more for the amount of calories that I get to eat.
Rich Howard: It’s more satiating and I think if you’re trying to diet, it’s really important to pick food that will fill you up. So you could eat six apples for the amount of carbs that are in a cup and a half of rice. And I think that a lot of people tend to not pick food sources that will actually fill them up. And so they feel really hungry when they’re dieting because they really want that piece of chocolate, whatever it is, but if they had substituted that, they could eat actually a lot more food and they wouldn’t be as hungry.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I think that’s really the beauty of the keto diet because not only is it maybe a little higher protein than most people are used to, especially if you really put your focus on that, but it also creates… Since you’re not having these sugar highs and lows and because you are eating really nutrient-dense, really satiating food, it’s… I think that the studies that wanna say that low-carb or keto isn’t as good, they don’t take into account the fact that it’s just so much easier to stay at that lower calorie level. There’s many different ways to lose weight. You can do it vegan, you can do it vegetarian, you can do it low-fat, but I just think that eating a higher fat, adequate protein diet makes it so much easier to stay at those lower calorie levels. It’s been definitely my experience. [chuckle]
Meal Prep and Keto Diet for Weight Loss
Rich Howard: Yeah. Absolutely. And then I know for keto at least, everyone’s different in how they… Their mindset and how they do things. I tend to be all or nothing and so if I’m doing a keto diet… If I wanna stay in ketosis, I really have to be very strict or else I’ll go off course. And so it requires more adherence. And so I think it’s one of the reasons that people lose a lot of weight with keto. One is they tend to cut carb sources, so you hold less water, so you lose 10 pounds in the first two weeks ’cause you lose all your water weight.
Rich Howard: So one, you get really motivated when you see the scale move like that. Now whether it’s good for you or not, that’s debatable, but I think it does get motivation going faster and then because it requires near perfect adherence, people tend to lose more weight whereas if they just are, “Hey, I’m eating healthy generally, but you’re more likely to have cheat meals or, “I’m just gonna have this one little snack or this one thing at work, the free donuts that someone brought in.” When you’re on keto, you can’t do that or else you go out of ketosis. And so I think it tends to help people stay on… It requires you to stay on track in ways that most diets don’t have that same kind of requirement.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah. No, I would agree with that. And it also just limits… Limiting food choices in general in some way, for some people it can seem too restrictive, but if the goal is really weight loss and you wanna do it… I would really recommend that people not lose weight as quickly as possible is my overall recommendation and to do keto meal prep to make it easier.
Rich Howard: Yeah. I agree.
Cheryl McColgan: But if that’s what they want, that if they do want to lose weight in that way, it certainly makes maximizing that effect a lot easier.
Rich Howard: Yeah. No doubt.
How to Get Started with Meal Prep
Cheryl McColgan: Well, I love to hear all your philosophy on this and background on this stuff, but obviously what people probably wanna know this time of year is if they’ve never meal prepped before, how do they get started with it and what are some of your best tips and education that you can give after all of these years of meal prepping? Which, by the way, I just think is amazing. I’ve never meal prepped in my entire life. I like to cook, so it doesn’t bother me so much to cook every night or whatever, but I think for a lot of people that is not the case and so I think this is gonna be super helpful. [chuckle]
Rich Howard: Yeah. I’m glad. I’ll just kinda ramble for a bit. I think one, people tend to, when they first start meal prepping, they go on Instagram and they see someone’s fridge that’s fully stocked with 25 Tupperware containers and they’re all broken out by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and they’re super organized. And that’s great for people who wanna do that. I have weeks where my fridge looks like that, but that’s not where I started. I started by, “Hey, I’m just gonna cook one meal that I know I already like.” I make tacos… Every Tuesday night, we make ground beef tacos or ground turkey. And then, “Okay, I’m just gonna take that and I’m just gonna… ” And just really double the recipe.
Keto Meal Prep: Choose a Recipe You Already Know You Like
Rich Howard: So if you made one pound of meat, typically get a second pound and cook more and then you just have leftovers for lunch the next day and that’s meal prepping. My whole business and the website is not meal prepping, it’s just eating leftovers. [chuckle] It’s not like… There’s no big science to it, it’s just cooking more food and eating your leftovers rather than throwing them away or letting them sit in the fridge until they go bad. And so I think there’s just a little more intentionality there.
Recipes for Meal Prep
Rich Howard: And so I would start by just telling people, “Hey, pick something that you know you already like. Don’t go out and find some new recipe that you’ve never tried before and make 19 servings of it because one, if you don’t like it, that’s a waste of money and food. And two is, just don’t even do that.” So I would say start with something you’ve already tried that you know you or your family like and just double the recipe and do that for the week. So start simple is the first thing I would say and then I would probably say start with whatever meal you hate cooking. And so for me, I don’t mind cooking dinner most nights, but I really don’t like having to figure out lunch every day and that’s where I tend to either eat out for lunch during the work day.
Meal Prep Once a Week for Lunch
Rich Howard: Or if I’m particularly busy, I don’t wanna have to go home and make lunch and eat it and then, you know, whatever. And always forgetting to pack lunch day of or if I’m out the door in a hurry. And so I tend to meal prep my lunches on Sundays. That’s the meal that I wanna have covered. For others it’s dinner. It’s hey, they eat out a lot for work anyways. They’re doing work lunches that are paid for, or whatever, but they get home and it’s 7 o’clock, and the last thing they wanna do is cook. So they get takeout on the way home and that’s where they’re spending money and they’re eating unhealthy ’cause they wanna save time, or they’re tired. And so I would say for those people, it might be, hey, meal prep dinner for the week. And so just kind of think through what is the meal that is the most inconvenient or the one that you always tend to eat out for and start there. For most people, it’s probably lunch or dinner, at least for me. Breakfast is… Breakfast is also the hardest to meal prep because eggs just don’t taste good. I’ve done the egg muffins in the muffin tin. I’ve done that. It works. It’s not great. And so I think I would start with lunch or dinner.
Rich Howard: And then the other big tip I would have is use simple recipes. A lot of recipes online. If you go on Pinterest they’re gonna have 20 different ingredients and nine different spices and you gotta buy stuff that you have never tried or used before. I like really simple meals that don’t take long to prep. They use a lot of the same ingredients. I tend to cook a lot with… Find ingredient overlaps and I use onions and bell peppers in half of my food because they’re good, they’re healthy, they’re easy to prep. I can use them in Asian food in a stir fry. I can do it in a sheet pan. I can do it with fajitas on the grill. So finding foods that I can use in a variety of different ways. For me that means on Sundays, I can get onions and bell peppers and slice them all up, and I can cook them for fajitas and for stir fry and I’m not having to prep and buy and prep all these different kinds of vegetables. So that’s just one thing that’s super easy for me is just ingredient overlaps. I think planning ahead is also probably helpful. I think some people, they can be overeager from the start and so they’ll plan out a whole month of food and it can be overwhelming to try to do that. And so I definitely recommend just starting small. I think that’s the best thing for new people. I think that’s probably the best way for them to get started.
Use Simple Recipes For Keto Meal Prep
Cheryl McColgan: I think there’s so many awesome tips in there. I can’t wait to go through those and map them out again like one, two, three, four but I think you’re spot on with starting with something simple, something that you’ve already tried that you know that you love ’cause to your point if you make 10 servings of something and then you don’t like it. How awful would that be? And then you’re gonna end up wasting money. And then also, the very last thing you said about starting simple. I think most people would probably in their head think, Oh, I should do it for a week, because a week is this magical number in their head, but what if you did it for three days or four days or five days whatever is easy for you, and like you said, especially at the beginning, just start out small and see how it goes. Have you experimented with… This is something I’ve thought about buying for a very long time, and I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. But because your life is very full of meat as well. [chuckle] I was talking to my uncle about this a while back and he has a vacuum sealer, and he said it’s absolutely incredible.
Rich Howard: Oh yeah.
Meal Prep: How to Store
Cheryl McColgan: Because quite often, when you buy meat in the store… Now I always put it inside of a freezer bag, leave it in its original packaging and put it inside a freezer bag because they get so easily freezer-burned. But he said that does not happen with food vacuuming. So I’m just wondering, are there any things like that that you’ve experimented with or special kinds of containers that you try and keep the food longer or just any other tips in that sort of realm of actually keeping the food stay as fresh as possible?
Rich Howard: Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, fortunately, stored food, storage containers have come a long way. I grew up in the Tupperware. That’s where… That’s all you had was Tupperware. And it would stain. It would look gross, you couldn’t… In the dishwasher, they would get turned over and get filled with water. In the microwave you couldn’t do that. And so I just, I love using glass containers. They’re not the cheapest. They’re a little bit more expensive to buy, but the benefit is that they can go in the microwave super easily. They can go in the oven. They can go in the dishwasher and they’re more sturdy so they just hold food better. So I typically recommend glass meal prep containers, just for all those reasons. But they do tend to be a little bit more expensive. I think Pyrex has a decent… If you go on Amazon, there’s a 16-set of glass storage containers. I have never done a vacuum sealer. My father-in-law has one and he loves it. I just haven’t done it yet. I try not to freeze food as much, to be honest, because once it’s in the freezer, it just lives there forever and then in two years we’re pulling it out, it’s like, what? What is this? I tend to try to avoid freezing stuff if I can, but that’s not always the case, and then… Yeah, so that’s probably what I would recommend is glass containers.
Toxins in Plastic ContainersCheryl McColgan: Well, I agree with you on that one and for another reason besides all the reasons that you mentioned, is it’s also much healthier because plastic, particularly real disposable plastic ones like the ones that you buy in the grocery store that are just meant for… People don’t have to return them to you because they’re real inexpensive. Well, also that plastic can leach into your food, particularly if… Even when they’re microwave safe, I think that that plastic leaching happens. So that’s not something I’ve ever done a super deep dive on but I’ve heard enough people talk about it that I replaced my stuff with glassware a few years ago. So I do like to do that, and for people that do like to freeze things ’cause I’m a big… I like to freeze things. So if I make a big batch of chili or a big batch of soup I will freeze it and that way, it’s just like a couple weeks later, I take it out and that gives you more variety also with the meal prep. But one of the things that I…
Rich Howard: It definitely does.
Cheryl McColgan: Learned the hard way is just exactly what you said, taking it out like, “Is this chili or is this tomato sauce?” I don’t know what it is.
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: So a couple of things, if I do happen to use… I will use plastic Ziploc freezer bags for keto meal prep, so those you can easily write on. But for containers that you can’t easily write on…
Rich Howard: For sure.
Cheryl McColgan: I just use a post-it note and I just stick it on the top of it and that way it’s a lot easier to know at a glance what it is that’s in the container. Especially if it happens like you said, and it’s three or four months later. And your memory is not quite as good as it used to be, like mine. I might not know what it is, so…
Rich Howard: Yeah. it’s not hard to use a freezer like that. I just always forget to do the post-it, and so I’m like, “I don’t know what the heck this is.” And I also live in Texas, so we don’t… It’s hot here, 10 months out of the year. It’s almost December and it’s 80 degrees outside, and so I don’t tend to eat a lot of hot soup or chili.
Cheryl McColgan: Right. Yeah, so the things that might be more amenable to freezing, you’re maybe not eating as much. But yeah.
Rich Howard: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Cheryl McColgan: That totally makes sense. Well, anything that we haven’t talked about yet? Final thoughts on keto meal prep, because like I said I’m sure some people are gonna be listening to this that are going into the new year saying, “I’m gonna be healthier and I’m gonna spend less money. And I’m gonna maybe try lower carb, or Keto.” Or some different way of eating where if they had more of a plan, they might be more successful. Any final thoughts or tips around that kind of stuff?
Variety in Meal Prep
Rich Howard: Yeah, absolutely. A couple of things that I would… Just a general advice. I don’t know how many tips I’m about to let loose. But I think one is I would definitely have variety in your meal-prepping. And so I have four to eight meals that I just kinda go to things that I always cook. I don’t do the same thing, I don’t do taco meat every single week. But it might be like, “Hey, the first week of the month, I’m gonna meal prep taco meat for my lunches.” The second week, it might be, I’ll grill some burger patties and I’ll eat it with spinach and some sriracha mayo for lunch every day. The third week it might be, I’ll do some Greek chicken on the grill and I’ll eat in a wrap or something. So having some go to meals, so you’re not eating the same thing every single week. But you’re not having to have… You’re not having to cook 19 different recipes a week. I think it is helpful to have some go to simple things like that, and then kind you of rotate through.
Rich Howard: You also don’t have to cook everything that you meal prep. I think one thing that’s really helpful for me is just cutting veggies and fruit on Sunday. And so for us, we eat a lot of sliced bell peppers, and so just having them already sliced and de-seeded and ready to eat makes us tend to go for that in the fridge that much more often. ‘Cause we’re not having to get a cutting board and knife out and do all that. I think having some food… If you do wanna eat more fresh food each night, one thing you could do is just, hey, put your chicken in the marinade. And then each night you just pull out a few pieces and you grill that on the spot.
And so you don’t have to have everything for keto meal prep. If it’s Thursday, by that point, the food you made on Sunday might not be as good as it once was. And so I think having some food just prepped that you can easily cook on the spot, particularly veggies that you have to chop. I find that to be really helpful. I think you can also use… These days we use a Crockpot and we love using that because we can just dump stuff in before we go to work, come back in eight hours and it’s good and ready to go. I think that’s a great way for people to save time in their meal prepping.
Save Money With Meal Prep
Rich Howard: So we’ll often, when we keto meal prep, we’ll do something in the crockpot. Just dump it all in and let it go. And then we’ll prep a few other recipes for the week. I think that’s just one way to kinda save time for us that we’ve done. The other thing I would say is, I think buying in bulk is one way for people to save time and save money, ’cause you’re not having to constantly refill things and… The challenge is you tend to kind of not always use it all. And so for people who are starting meal prep or they’re starting off the new year and they want to finally eat healthy and save money on food. Start with what you already have in stock in your pantry or in your fridge or in your freezer. You’ve probably got plenty of food that you can go ahead and just cook and start to eat. I would definitely do that and just kinda clean out your pantry, clean out your freezer.
Rich Howard: And so those are just some random tips that I would have for keto meal prepping. My site has a ton of meal prep recipes that people could check out whether they’re Keto or Whole 30 or low carb, a variety different kind of diet-based meal prep recipes. I think I have one article, that’s 50 recipes that are each serving is less than two bucks a serving. And so that’s more like, if you’re really trying to save money it’s been super helpful for a lot of people. So I recommend that as a resource. If they go and Google and search cheap meal prep they could find it there. But yeah, I think that I would just encourage people to give it a try, don’t give up, don’t start too much at once. And just let this be a small habit that just helps you… Helps them save time and money.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, I just wanna piggyback on one thing… Well, two things that you said.
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: The first thing is, I forgot to give background on how I actually came to know about you. And it was because I was looking at some sites linking back to my site, and I saw this MealPrepify for keto meal prep. And I went over there and you had linked to one of my recipes for something, so that was really cool…
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: Number one. Then I started looking through your site and I do think it is such a great resource. And I think the fact that you’re pulling from different recipes from all over the web, from all different creators, that’s really useful. But the other thing I wanted to piggyback on, you mentioned the ground… Prepping ground beef for the week or something like that. And I think…
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Rich Howard: Yeah. Same.
Variety With Meal Prep
Cheryl McColgan: Not have to think about anything and to easily manage your weight, easily manage your macros. But the thing that I thought of is, so for people that might say that’s too boring for them ’cause I know that there are those people out there, they don’t wanna eat the exact same thing every day for lunch. But for example, you could do… Let’s just use the ground beef for an example. Say, the one day you have taco Tuesday, and maybe the next day you take ground beef and you put it in a pepper and put some cheese in there with it. And then the next day, maybe you make it into a taco salad. There’s ways that you can still prep without having…
Rich Howard: Repurpose. Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: The exact same meal. And like I said, for me, it wouldn’t bother me. But I know that some people are thinking that they don’t wanna eat that same thing. And it might seem overwhelming ’cause they might have to start thinking, “Oh, I gotta prep more things to make more variety.” But really you could use the same ingredients and just use them a little differently and use different spices and use some different side items with it. So I think that’s one way to shake it up a little bit.
Find Recipes for Meal Prep
Rich Howard: Yeah, absolutely. So for us, we make grilled chicken almost every week and it’s just simple, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, put it on the grill. But we eat that on everything. From tacos, to salads, to wraps, to… If I just need like… I got back from the gym and I just need 30 grams of protein to hit my numbers for the day, I’ll just eat three or four slices. And that’s been one of our go-tos, really simple, it doesn’t take a long time things to kind of cook.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, no, that’s perfect. So tell everybody where the best places to find you online are and your website and any other details like that, where you can be most easily accessible.
Rich Howard: Yeah, absolutely. Well, again, my website is mealprepify.com. So just meal prep, I-F-Y, dot com. And they’re welcome to email me, rich AT mealprepify DOT com. I am not super active on social media because of grad school and baby and work, life. Yeah, but I actually don’t mind email. I know a lot of people hate their email, I don’t mind it. So if anyone wants to reach out or has any questions or, “Hey, I’m looking for recipes on… Fill in the blank.” I would love to help. I’m starting to put out a lot more recipe content and a lot of more diet-specific and calorie-specific, and so… I know for a lot of people, if they get a meal plan from a doctor or from a nutritionist that says, “Eat 500 calories for lunch.” They’re like, “I don’t know how to do that.” And so I’m starting… It’s not there yet, but hopefully by the new year, I’ll have a bunch of, “Hey, if you need lunches for 500 calories, here’s a list of 20 of them.” I’m starting to put out a lot of that. So hopefully, that’ll be helpful to your listeners whenever this goes live and it can be a resource for keto meal prep for them. But otherwise, just check out the website and email and would love to connect with people and see how I can help.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah, awesome, that’s wonderful. And also, keep in the back of your mind for other little resources, I do have a cookbook coming out. So for people… It’s Easy Weeknight Cookbook. And so like you’re talking about for people…
Rich Howard: You do?
Cheryl McColgan: Who don’t have a lot of time. Yeah. Then that’ll be a good resource as well because I’m with you, if it’s got 20 ingredients or something, that’s entertaining every once in a while. But just for me on weeknights and with the kids going off to practice and all kinds of different stuff, it’s like whatever is quick and easy for keto or keto meal prep is what’s happening in our house.
Rich Howard: Yeah.
Cheryl McColgan: So hopefully, that will just be another little resource for everybody that can help out in that way, even if it’s not meal prep. But several of the recipes, you could definitely do meal prep. There’s one in the a crockpot, there’s a couple of other ones. So anyway, that’s coming out soon.
Rich Howard: Absolutely. Well, that’s awesome.
Cheryl McColgan: Yeah.
Rich Howard: Well, let me know when you publish that and I will definitely share it.
Cheryl McColgan: Cool. Awesome. Well, thank you again, Rich, for all of your wonderful information. I am so looking forward to getting the transcript from this and making the… There were at least 10 amazing tips in there that you gave everybody so thank you so much and we’ll keep in touch.