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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep | Perfectly Cooked Chicken

One of the questions I get asked most regarding bikini contest prep is, "How do you prep your food?"  And I'm not surprised. With everything we have going on in our lives, cooking healthy meals from scratch everyday can be a daunting task, and practically speaking, nearly impossible.  I did a lot of that for my first bikini prep and it was such a time suck- not to mention I felt like I spent as much time cleaning the kitchen and washing dishes as I did exercising and eating! 

For bikini contest prep, I eat five meals a day about 3 hours apart.  I have found that I have the most success sticking to my meals when I prep them in advance and put the whole meal into one container that I can just pop into the microwave to heat up and I'm good to go.  (I don't put the plastic in the microwave- I empty the contents onto a plate and heat about 2 minutes).  

My meal prep is incredibly easy.  Eating this way takes way less time than preparing several different meals for lunch or dinner.  All you really need to do is buy a big package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and grill them at once on the grill.  My husband and I both eat about two chicken breasts a day (or meatballs or some other lean protein), but for this post, I'm sharing how we make our chicken.  We cook 12-16 chicken breasts at a time, and I have found they are good refrigerated for four days, sometimes five.

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken


I typically make (for me) 12 meals at a time and they last 4 days.  That's 3 of these meals daily for 4 days.  My first meal is a protein pancake and my 5th meal is a cup of Muscle Egg.  This kind of eating is what I call 'no brainer.'  You have a meal plan for what you're going to eat and you just do it, without stopping to consider, "What do I feel like eating?"  I decide every few days what meals I'm going to prep and then eat them until they're gone. When I've stuck to the plan, I see the greatest results. 

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

The twelve meals in the first photo above were made from the few ingredients below.  I usually splurge on free range, organic chicken and save on store brand veggies.  

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

HOW TO PERFECTLY GRILL CHICKEN 

On the grill (we use a gas grill, but you can use a grill pan on the stove), turn the fire to medium to medium high heat.  For my "contest" chicken, no oil was used, just a sprinkle of Tony Chachere's Salt-Free seasoning.  If you don't mind the calories, put a little olive oil on the chicken to keep it from sticking to the grill and to keep the chicken moist.

We have a grill with a lid and close the lid, cooking the chicken for about 10-15 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.  When it's done, remove from the heat and cover with foil.  Let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes.  This chicken always turns out moist and juicy.  If there's one think I can't choke down, it's dry chicken!

How to Perfectly Cook Chicken


How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

Each meal gets five ounces of chicken.  Even though I can pretty much eyeball how much 5 ounces is, I still measure with my digital scale to make sure the measurement is perfect.  I love this scale because it's under $20, and you can switch the measurement from oz to grams just by pushing the "unit" button.  I've been using it for two years and haven't even had to change the batteries yet.  Also, it cleans up easily.  

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

COOKING POTATOES

After washing the potatoes, I towel-dried them, poked them a couple times with a knife, then microwaved them all at once for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.  They shrink when cooked, so they only averaged 3.5 ounces.  I eat 5 oz. of potatoes each meal, so I have to cut them to make enough ounces. At the end of my last prep, I was down to 4 oz. so these little guys were pretty close. 

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

I use my Gladware that I found at the grocery store and then begin assembling.  These containers only hold 3 cups, so if you're putting larger quantities of food, you'll need something bigger.  I like them because they stack easily in the fridge (and they're cute!)

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

I add big handful of romaine lettuce, a few tomatoes OR a cup of frozen green beans for the veggies.  The frozen veggies are fine in the fridge and 1 thawed cup cooks perfectly in 2 minutes.  Now, if I'm doing the romaine salad, I'll also add a cup of small carrots to it. 

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

Then add the pre-measured potatoes and chicken.

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

Even if you're not on bikini prep, as long as you have chicken already cooked in the fridge, you're good to go for so many quick, easy meals, especially salads.  But, if you do want to slim down or trade a not-so-healthy meal for a quality one, adding a few of these for lunch or dinner is a great way to go! 

Quick & Easy Contest Meal Prep & How to Perfectly Cook Chicken

If you'd like to read more posts like this, check out my Fitness Tab at the top of my blog or these posts: 

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30 comments:

  1. Thank you! This was a great, easy explanation of how you plan your meals. This will definitely help me come August when my son and I return to school (he goes to kindergarten and I return as an elementary librarian). I am always looking for lunch ideas!
    Good luck with your bikini prep! Keep us updated!
    "The Busy Brunette"
    http://thebusybrunette.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Glad this is helpful! It's so much easier to have something waiting in the fridge than have to think about "what to eat".

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  2. This is a great meal prep guide, I would love to see one on your meatballs though! I'm thinking of swapping out a few of these meals for my regular lunch/dinner when I head back to school this fall. It'll be so easy to toss these in the microwave at whatever school I'm doing my practicum in!

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

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    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I'm crazy for those meatballs. I do a post soon!

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  3. I wish you could come to my house and teach/train me!
    I'm 52 now and while not overweight, everything is shifting and changing a little. It bums me out! I have to re-look how I do everything now if I don't want to start gaining weight at this stage of life. I used to be able to eat whatever, whenever, but not now:)
    I really like this idea of the meal prep.
    Thanks so much and I wish you all the success in the world. I hope you win!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Kathy! I appreciate your encouragement! I used to be the same way- could eat anything and not notice- no more!

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  4. Hi Megan-love following all these posts...thank you for keeping us in the loop. Even for those of us not doing an actual competition, these are all great tips for cleaning up our eating. I am glad you are combining the fitness here! I wish you continued success on this journey! Lisa B xo

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  5. I loved this post! I'm allergic to potatoes so I'll have to switch those out (maybe sweet potatoes or squash?) but it's such a great idea to cook prep a bunch of meals at once and eat throughout the week. I'm definitely not a bikini prep candidate but what a better alternative to just "Hmm what can I have for lunch today?"

    Thanks Megan!
    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Com
    XO, Jaclyn

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    Replies
    1. I eat sweet potatoes too and quinoa and rice.

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  6. Loved this post! I'm always trying to simplify my meal prep and this is perfect. Thanks!
    Megan @ www.elizapoppyco.com

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  7. Wow, that is all so smart!

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  8. This was great to read!!.. do you get bored eating the same things??... how do u do that

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I do get bored. I just change it up every so often. It's more mental than anything though. And it's not forever. :)

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  9. This is awesome thanks for sharing. Just make sure you don't microwave those containers!

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  10. Love this post! I need someone to just spell it out for me, no guesswork :) I am so glad to see you still include potatoes with your meals, looking to start trying this to slim down this Summer. Best of luck in your contest, you got this!

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  11. This is great!! do you put any type of dressing on the salad and tomatoes? The chicken looks so good!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I forgot to put that! I use Maple Grove Fat Free Cranberry Balsamic dressing or anything sugar free.

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  12. I agree with the reader above, I would love your meatball recipe too! Also, do you use any salad dressing or just eat it plain? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Will definitely have to do a meatball post. And yes, any sugar free dressing is good. I also like Maple Grove Fat Free Cranberry Balsamic.

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  13. dumb question... do you microwave the romaine? Is warm lettuce weird? Just wondering :)

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    Replies
    1. Ah Morgan, you're right! I definitely do not microwave the salads! Those are eaten cold.

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  14. Agree. So handy making a lot of food at once.

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  15. What are you using for dressing on your salads?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Libby! I should have mentioned that in the post. I use any sugar free dressing and specifically, Maple Grove Fat Free Cranberry Balsamic. :)

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  16. I need to find a vegetarian version of this. It's so difficult to find meal plans that are easy and taste good w/enough protein for vegetarians. :)

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I read every one! I try to answer questions in the comment section since many readers are "no reply" and so everyone can benefit from the response- so please check back. :)

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