Easy meal planning and prep?

(Kimberly) #1

Modern life can be really busy. What we eat is often a balance between time, energy, cost and reward. A good recipe may well be worth extra time and effort, but it is something that many people struggle to do all of the time. Cooking eats into limited down time due to our society’s insane idea of how much we should work. In this place pre prepared food has filled in the gap much to the detriment of our health. In line with this idea many people chose to spend more time on food prep. I am looking for a balance between the two extremes. Small changes are easy, like switching milk for almond milk, and giving up bread in place of low carb tortillas. I don’t really need to lose weight (5’ 4" 128 lb), I like the idea and benefits of this lifestyle, but my first attempt went badly. I thought I had done my research and was prepared, but the insomnia and racing pulse are not things I can live with. What I did learn was that I think I can go higher in carbs, probably 40 grams. My goal is some weight lifting, a little cardio and to make small changes to my diet that are easy to implement and live with.

I do not really like the time it takes to cook. Cooking it not just the time in the kitchen, it is going to the store, planning and thinking about what to eat, and finally the time actually preparing the meal. In this vane I eat a premade breakfast burrito, which only needs microwaving, make a sandwich for lunch, have some fruit, cheese or nuts as a snack and then make a frozen pizza or something equally easy for dinner, and this results in around 60 to 120 carbs a day. I want to include more vegetables in my diet.

I don’t like a lot of the easy meal ideas that are often repeated for keto, I don’t really like cauliflower or avocados. Another struggle is that greasy food often gives me heart burn, so for years I reduced the amount of oil I cook with, so that is a habit that is hard to break.

I am looking for ideas that are not too snack-like for breakfast and dinner. Anything on a tortilla is easy, but even low carb ones do add up. Tacos and fajitas, and quesadilla all lend themselves to easy meals. High fiber pasta is not a terrible option if you can fit it into your macros. Al Dente Carba-Nada and Fiber Gourmet pasta do not normally make lists of keto friendly food, but are the sort of thing I think am looking for. I know why most people don’t eat them if you only have 20 net carbs. I am looking for ways to make this transition easy, and not terribly time consuming. I am not looking to be told that the ingredients are terrible, and not something you would eat. I am looking for a better option not necessarily the best option, something to balance my time and energy, small changes that are easy for me to implement and live with. For me turnips and radishes have been a better potato substitute than cauliflower. Precooked chicken is easy; finding sauces without added sugar is not too difficult this sort of idea.

A lot of people are selling meal plans and shopping lists and a lot of them do not look interesting, so I am trying to figure out how to moderately come close to macros, and make my own plan. For instance I could take a day and make up the dry ingredients for a baked good recipe that way on another day I could just add the wet and bake them up. That involves trying and finding recipes that I like, which has been really hit or miss, mostly miss.

So what are your favorite resources for meal planning and prep? What premade products do you recommend? I live in a city and have most of the more exotic stores that people living in smaller communities don’t have, though that is not to say they are not out of my way to go to. (I tried quest pizza and didn’t like it.) I am trying to figure out where my time and money is best placed to make my food choices easiest.

(bulkbiker) #2

That’s the joy of carnivore… grill meet meat… eat.
Zero prep for the most part…

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #3

I don’t particularly like to cook either, so I eat mostly raw food. I cook once in a while, but not much. Practically what it means is just keep on hand items that lend themselves to eating raw, rather than require cooking. Lots of stuff that if you only eat a little would be a ‘snack’ if you eat more can be a ‘meal’. Just make sure you get enough variety to cover all the nutritional requirements. Read labels very carefully! Stick to your overall macros and keep carbs sub-20 grams per day.

I won’t recommend the stuff I eat, since it’s likely pretty unconventional. But I’m sure you can look at the sorts of stuff you’ve been eating and snacking then develop your own specific plans. Don’t get discouraged by the ‘eat real food’ folks. They’re going to criticize pretty much anything that can’t be cut from an animal or has been handled by more than one human during its processing. Don’t let them fool you, everything is ‘processed’, starting with killing and butchering.

Although, as @MarkGossage says, grilling a piece of good meat can be pretty minimal cooking.

(Kimberly) #4

Thanks for the reply. For the time being to combat the insomnia I got the first time round I am planning on around 40 carbs which did work. Sub 20 while a popular recommendation is not a hard and fast rule. I am not starting from a place of a damaged metabolism and I don’t really need to lose weight. I am looking to some of the other benefits that this lifestyle offers.

(Kimberly) #5

:slight_smile: I don’t own a grill.

(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.) #6

We each manage as well as we can. :slightly_smiling_face:

(bulkbiker) #7

frying pans work just as well?

(Marianne) #8

Gurrlll, I feel your pain - I don’t like to cook or fuss that much, either. However, that being said, I’d get yourself a nice non-stick pan and make yourself some bacon and eggs for breakfast - or breakfast sausage. I used to do three of them in the microwave, straight from the freezer - 12 seconds then 12 seconds. Perfect. Honestly, the clean up is a piece of cake and it is probably the easiest thing you can do. Put some cheese on the eggs, if you like.

Use the same nonstick pan at night to pan fry a pork steak, boneless pork ribs (pork is our favorite), sausage, full fat cheeseburger, steak. For real, that is basically our dinner every night with a steamed veggie in butter or bacon grease. If the meat isn’t fatty enough, add bacon great. Or, fix yourself a loaded salad (hard boiled eggs, cheese, a couple cherry tomatoes, cukes, protein, etc., with full fat dressing. So many options that are so easy. Prepackaged cabbage with mayo, spices and vinegar and you have a delicious cole slaw. Tuna, egg or chicken with some mayo and you have a delicious entree. Chicken thighs are quick and easy to bake and so good, plus you can have them with dressing.

I look at the meals that people here make and I just drool - but it’s still not enough for me to want to take the time and effort, plus with many of these things, I fear they would be so delicious that I would binge on them.

Good luck. Find what works for you and just repeat and add new things as you go.


For the first part of the week I make one big cut of meat on Sunday (pork tenderloin, pot roast, etc.) and use it for all sorts of things for 3-4 days.

The second half of the week I tend to rely on:

  • frozen meats and seafood like shrimp, meatballs, and wings
  • or I pick up a big salmon filet (super easy to cook)
  • or a whole rotisserie chicken
  • or I buy smoked brisket at a restaurant or the butcher shop

I also always have eggs, bagged salads and fresh veggies on hand. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and asparagus hold up well over time for me and don’t end up being wasted.


My pantry list is mostly geared around lazy microwave recipes.

I do cheap and easy keto meal preps based on the proteins that are on sale in a given week. It’s basically a slow bake with a mix and match with meats and low carb veggies with a lot of spices.

I did one this morning with 3.5# of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (8 large ones) on top of onions, mushrooms, and Ro-tel HOT diced tomatoes. Note that 3.5# of boneless, skinless thighs have about as much meat as 8# of bone-in, skin-on thighs. So now I’ve got 8 large thighs in storage containers. Two large storage containers full of a spiced onions & mushrooms mix, and one medium container of chicken broth. That meal prep took me about 10 minutes to dump everything into a 9"x13" cake pan and then put into the oven. I came back about 3 hours later and transferred everything from the cake pan into the storage containers in about 10 minutes. Some went into the freezer, some went into the fridge.

For me, the shopping isn’t a problem. Walmart delivers. So it’s easy to get almost anything I want. A week or so ago, I loaded up on chaffles supplies – 5 dozen eggs and 5 pounds of shredded cheese. :slight_smile: