We all know the keto macro mantra: limit your carbs, meet your protein, eat fat to satiety. We all do our best to follow these guidelines by diligently tracking our food- especially if we’re trying to lose weight. But did you know that the nutrition information listed on blogs and in cookbooks can be VASTLY different from what you’re putting in your mouth?!
The problem is that brands can differ in nutrition. Searching My Fitness Pal (or whatever food database you use) for “sour cream” isn’t really accurate, and we all know how we can consume extra calories by not using the food scale. But let’s be honest- when I get home from work at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is scan and track every little detail into MFP while I’m cooking and then do a bunch of math and try to figure out exactly what it is I’m eating. I do it (sometimes), but it’s really annoying, and takes a lot of the fun out of cooking.
Recently, I’ve developed a new method that I am really enjoying. It is similar to the idea of a meal prep day-and that’s basically what it is-except you don’t have to eat leftovers for the entire week. That works for some people, but I love a hot, fresh meal, so I shop and prep ingredients in one day, while at the same time calculating macros. This way, I get a fresh meal and do as little work as possible.
- note: I personally use My Fitness Pal (MFP), and I know a lot of other people do too, so that’s the example I’m using. I’m not sure of the functionality and features of other food tracking apps, but I’m sure they’re similar.
Step One: Plan
- Plan your meals, write them on a schedule, and make a grocery list. (There are apps that do all of this! Yay technology!). Typical first step in meal planning, right? No problem.
- While you’re sitting down and doing this, go to the My Fitness Pal Recipes section and put in the URL or enter the ingredients of any recipe that you don’t already have in there. You can do this on your phone or computer!
- Then, if you want to, you can go through each recipe and make a “food prep list” of ingredients that can be prepared before hand – i.e. “chop 1 onion and 1/2 pound okra for gumbo” – I find it helpful to include the recipe, you’ll see why in a moment.
Step Two: Prepare
- When you get home from grocery shopping, before you put anything up, get on your phone and open the MFP app and go to your recipes. One by one, edit them and scan the barcode of the exact product that you are going to use (so replace generic chicken broth with the Swanson or store brand or whatever brant you bought) – this ensures accuracy in your macros.
- Prep everything you can for the week- chop your veggies and meat, grate your cheese, etc. You could even prep spice blends, if you wanted. Portion them out for each recipe, weigh them, and go ahead and log it within the recipe (seriously- log x grams green bell pepper instead of 1 green bell pepper- this is vital with veggies in keto because of the carb count!). If you want to, label each container for which recipe it is.
Step Three: That’s it. Just relax and enjoy the time you just saved!
- You’re done! That was it! Now, you can come home and cook a fresh cooked meal with minimal dishes and a lot more enjoyment.
- BONUS! Every crockpot meal is now a simple dump-it-and-forget-it recipe! Nice.
- You don’t have to worry about weighing, etc. as you cook, because everything is already measured out. All you have to do is go to the recipe in MFP and add it to your meal!
- An additional bonus of this is that you know exactly what you’ll be eating for dinner- no guesswork. That way, you know how to plan the rest of your day- you might need to conserve carbs, or maybe increase your protein.
This method of planning puts the control in your hands with very little hassle and frustration. I have definitely enjoyed myself more in the kitchen since implementing this method. How do you plan for the week? Or do you prefer to be spontaneous? Let me know!