So, you wanna get started with Meal Prep but can’t be bothered measuring food and counting calories?

Or maybe you’re already doing meal prep but want to make it faster, tastier and cheaper?

You’ve come to the right place.

Here at 3 Minute Meals, we’re obsessed with all things meal prep and we’ve developed an incredibly simple system that makes meal prep easy for absolutely anyone.

Our system is:

  • Easy : No counting calories, no constant measuring of food and no calculations required at all
  • Fast : under 90 minutes of preparation per meal
  • Cheap : less than $3 per meal
  • Tasty : restaurant quality and home cooked
  • Fat burning : up to 36lb of fat in 90 days using the system (as demonstrated by some of our clients)

The system follows the 80/20 principle which means we focus on the areas that make the biggest difference instead on focusing on the difficult tasks which make little difference anyway.

But before we get into the system, I want to address one important question…

Why Meal Prep? – 4 Reasons Why Diets Don’t Work

Before we get into the ‘how’ of Meal Prep, I wanna quickly go over why diets are impossible to follow…

1. Diets are Brain-Taxing

When your body wants to eat but your mind is saying no, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Do you think that our ancestors were counting calories and restricting their diet? Of course not – healthy eating is something that should be natural.

Most people fail at dieting because they are 0ver-thinking it and end up giving up – or worse, hurting their health by getting their nutrition completely wrong.

If you’re going to succeed at healthy eating, you need to make it easier for yourself. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up giving up.

2. Diets are Time-Wasting

Think about the last time you were on a diet. Every time you were at the grocery store or eating out with friends, you had to figure out how you can fit all the options into your strict criteria.

Is this low-fat? Does this have sugar in it? Have I eaten too many carbs already? – these are the questions you may be asking yourself and not only can this be exhausting, it takes a lot of time as well.

What if you could save all of that time spent thinking about whether these foods fit into your diet and just follow a few simple rules?

With Meal Prep, there’s no more thinking required. Just eat!

3. Diets are Expensive

When you follow a very specific diet, you’re more likely to resorting to things like:

  • Having to buy fancy ingredients for recipes that look tasty but are impossible to cook for the average guy, or
  • Having to buy small quantities of various ingredients for tons of different recipes

By following diets like this, you can easily end up paying more for spices than chicken breasts! And as these diets are hard to follow, you end up snacking and eating out anyways which eats your wallet and packs on the fat, completely defeating the purpose of the diet to begin with.

4. Diets are Unsustainable

Perhaps the biggest problem with diets is the widespread perception that diets are temporary. You might go on a restrictive diet and grind your teeth for a few months but then you go on holiday and it all falls apart.

Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice, there’s no end date. If you are fed up with your diet, it’s only a matter of time before you give up on it.

Do yourself a favour and don’t focus on these ridiculous dieting systems as you’ll end up frustrated and with little long-term sustainable results.

The Meal Prep Alternative

Meal Prep solves these major issues with dieting by providing you with ready-made meals, already created with your nutrition plan in mind – Think fast-food without the burgers and fries.

All that’s required is that you take a day or two to prepare meals in advance and then you’re all set for the week. And, the best part is that your diet will be so much healthier and less expensive than constantly eating out.

Sound good?

Awesome, let’s get into the system.

The 3 Simple Rules of 3 Min Meals

Nutrition can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be.

At 3 Min Meals, we stress only 3 major rules:

1. Maximum 15g of Sugar per day

It may sound counter-intuitive to say that sugar is the # 1 cause of weight gain (rather than “fat” itself) but this is the truth.

In fact, eating more good fats (eg olive oil, almonds, Omega-3, etc.) can help you lose fat faster because:

  1. It increases the feeling of satiety by slowing digestion
  2. It facilitates the assimilation of essential nutrients to burn abdominal fat, and
  3. It permeabilizes the cell membranes to allow you to burn fat faster

But sugar … Sugar produces an overproduction of the hormone called “insulin”.

Put simply, this hormone turns sugar into fat. The more you eat sugar, the more Insulin creates fats in your belly.

The American Heart Association states that 6 teaspoons of sugar is the maximum for good health. But if you want to lose fat, you should not exceed 3 1/2 teaspoons which is equivalent to 15 grams.

2. Maximum 20g of Carbohydrates per meal

It’s becoming popular in the health and fitness industry to completely cut out Carbohydrates from your diet – you may have heard of the Ketogenic or the Atkins diet – but we advise that you include a little in each meal as a low level of carbs can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue (No energy, constant yawning, etc.)
  • Reduced brain function
  • Strong breath
  • Constipation
  • Increased disease risk

Basically, you need to eat carbs but you should limit the proportions

We advise up to 20g per meal, which is equivalent to a hollow of the hand or about 1 quarter of a cup.

3. Proteins and Veggies in Every Meal

The simplest of the rules is to make sure you include proteins and veggies in every meal. This will ensure an adequate nutritional balance throughout the day.

Both Proteins and Vegetables are essential for gaining lean muscle, burning fat and keeping your metabolism running. These should be the staples of any diet and should be consumed regularly.

The 3 Basic Nutrients you need in every meal

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At 3 Minute Meals, we simplify the process of achieving nutrient balance by focusing on just 3 basic nutrients. These are:

  1. Proteins (Meat, Fish, etc)
  2. Vitamins and Minerals (Vegetables), and
  3. Carbohydrates (Rice, Potatoes, etc)

While we could easily go into incredible detail about each nutrient and what it does for your body, you need only to know that incorporating each of these nutrients into each meal will ensure that you’re eating a very balanced diet.

Traditional meal planning will require you to calculate each of these nutrients by the gram and calorie but who really has time for that?

Counting Calories

Instead, let’s use a measure that is super easy and accessible – our hand.

  • 1 Palm Size of Meat or Fish
  • 1 Handful of Rice or Potatoes (or other high-carb alternative), and
  • 1 Fistful of Veggies

This is all you need to calculate to create a balanced, nutritious meal.

Want a little extra flavour?  – Don’t go reaching for the sugar.

This is where you can incorporate a small amount of a fatty ingredient like butter, nuts, avocado or egg yolk.

In fact, each meal should also incorporate at least a small amount of good fats and a good rule of thumb is to take an inch whatever fatty substance you choose and add it to the cooking process or place it on top of the meal after cooking.

Basic Equipments you will need

Basic Utensils

Basic Utensils

(This includes a spatula, knife,
tongs and a chopping board)

2 – 4 Large Bowls

Bowls

(30cm diameter or more)

A Medium Sized Cooking Pot

Cooking Pot

2 Cooking Trays

2 Cooking Trays

7 to 35 Containers of 750 ML

Tupperware Containers

(750ml is equivalent to 3 cups or 24 ounces)

Cook in increments of 7 meals

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The reason why you need 7 to 35 containers is because you’ll be cooking meals in increments of 7 meals per recipe. To start with, we recommend you just stick with 7 but as you get more comfortable, you can start to create 14, 21 or even 35 for the next weeks.

Take a look at the diagram to the left (above on mobile) and you’ll see it’s very simple.

3 meals per day, 7 days per week means that you’ll be cooking 21 meals for the upcoming week.

Simply follow this simple 5 step process:

  1. Start with Carbs. 
    If you’re cooking rice, put it on the stove or in the rice cooker and get that boiling. Do the same if you’re cooking couscous, quinoa or potatoes (alternatively, you can roast or steam your potatoes instead)
  2. Prepare your Proteins
    Use the cutting board and knife to cut your meat or fish into portions that are roughly the size of your palms and then pan-fry them along with any sauces or marinades in the recipe (feel free to roast or barbecue this as well).
  3. Throw in your Veggies
    You’ll be microwaving your meals later which will be enough to cook them so, at this stage, just make sure they’re cut up and throw them straight in.
  4. Assemble all meals
    No need to bring out the weight scales to perfectly measure the exact proportions of each meal. Just grab a handful of your carbs, a protein portion and fistful of veggies and throw it into a dish. Repeat this for each dish and balance out each meal as best you can (by eye).
  5. Put half the meals in the fridge and the other half in the freezer
    On average, the meals you create will last for around 4 days so you’ll want to put the meals towards the end of the week into the freezer instead of the fridge. As it approaches time to eat the frozen meals, take them out of the freezer and place them in the fridge to thaw slowly.

Step-by-step Walkthrough

Now that you know the simple theory behind easy meal prep, let’s now demonstrate an easy-to-follow example from start to finish.

Choosing our Recipes

Let’s assume you’ll be creating 14 meals (2 for each day). 2 Meals a day means two different recipes and today, we’re going to be creating Our tasty Beef Patties with Mustard and Aneth Seasoning.

For our sides, we’ll make it easy for ourselves by using a frozen mix of vegetables and handful of brown rice for each meal.

Create your Easy Meal Prep Menu

Screenshots from the ‘Create Your Menu’ section of our app

Shopping List

Shopping ListTo generate a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the week, you’ll can either take your own recipe and write down the list of ingredients and quantities for 7 meals or you can use our app to generate it for you.

Using the app, you simply click on the ‘Shop’ tab at the bottom of the screen and start ticking off your ingredients as you spend time at the grocery store.

For our tasty Beef Patties with Mustard and Aneth Seasoning recipe, we’ll need

  • 3 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 tbsp of Dried Dill
  • 2 tbsp of fennel seeds, and of course,
  • 2 pounds of Ground Beef

Incorporated into the shopping list is everything else we need for sides as well including

  • 2 cups of brown rice, and
  • 1 kilogram of frozen vegetables

Cooking & Storage

Cooking InstructionsAs we discussed in the cooking theory section, you want to cook the parts of the recipe that take the longest to cook first. For us, that’s going to be the carbs.

For those of us who are using the app, the cooking method is generated automatically by pressing the ‘Cook’ tab at the bottom of the app. Once we arrive at the cooking instructions page, we can just press on each part to expand the full instructions.

#1: Boil the Rice

  1. Boil the water in a sauce pan. Rice expands, so use a saucepan large enough.
  2. When the water has come to a boil, stir in the rice, and bring it back to a gentle simmer.
  3. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Don’t take off the lid while the rice is cooking — this lets the steam out and affects the cooking time. Start checking the rice in 20 minutes.
  4. When done, mix in some olive oil, salt and pepper.

#2: Grill the Meat

  1. Fire up the barbecue. If you don’t have one, preheat your oven to 375F / 190C.
  2. Peel and chop the garlic.
  3. Throw the garlic in a bowl with mustard, fennel seeds, dill, lemon juice and 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. Mix everything together.
  4. Add the ground beef and mix with your hands. Divide into the appropriate number of patties.
  5. 5. Put in the oven for 15 minutes or grill on the barbecue.

#3: Add the Veggies

Nothing to do, just add them to the meal

#4: Wrap it Up

  1. Spread your food containers on a large surface like a table.
  2. In each container, divide equally proteins, carbs, and vegetables.
  3. Put about 4 days of meals in the fridge, and the rest in the freezer, so your meals stay fresh.

That’s it! Good work. You’ll just prepared a week of delicious meals.

Go Forth and Enjoy your Ready-Made Healthy Meals

3 Min Meals ScreenshotMeal Prep is one of those activities that can be either super-simple or incredibly complex.

At 3 Minute Meals, we believe that making meal prep easy to follow is the ultimate way for you to enjoy it and stick with it.

We’re tried counting calories and macronutrients and quite frankly, it sucks!

Chances are that you’ll give up even before you start because you know already that you don’t want to be that guy or girl measuring your portions with a scale and a nutrition manual.

In order to make this whole process as easy as possible, we highly suggest you download our free app and get started today.

If we all prepped our own meals using this easy to follow system, the world would be a much healthier place and that is our mission here at 3 Minute Meals.

Click here to check out the app and start preparing easy and nutritious meals today!