Meal Prep Shopping

Meal Prep Shopping Lists - A How-To Guide

Common Problems with Meal Prep + Grocery Shopping

Sticking to a small grocery budget AND trying to cook healthy delicious recipes can be really difficult. So how do you manage a meal prep shopping list and what should go on that list? Before we get to answering those questions, let’s think about a Top 10 of #mealprepproblems you might encounter when starting out & creating your first meal prep shopping list.

  1. Meal prep can be expensive (if NOT done correctly)

  2. Not all ingredients stay fresh for long

  3. Some ingredients & recipes might not freeze well

  4. Your fave recipe app might generate 100's of ingredients

  5. Your partner might pick-up ingredients on the way home

  6. You might not cook all ingredients / recipes = food going to waste

  7. Meal plans usually contain fixed recipes so YOU need to scale ingredients to needs

  8. You may need to consider allergens (or avoiding intolerances)

  9. Shopping lists are easy to forget before visits to the store

  10. Keeping naughty 'nibbles' out of your shopping cart


How to Manage Your Shopping List

Now that we have identified the common pitfalls, let’s look at shopping solutions. One of the simplest tactics that we have seen used when meal prep’ing, is to set yourself a schedule of grocery shopping once or twice a week. You should be aiming to only buy fresh produce for what you need to make your meals for those coming few days. Set-up a pantry process for dry & frozen goods that can be bought in bulk and will keep for longer (we have suggested a possible pantry list for you below). Having a set planned schedule will prevent you and your partner from buying the same ingredients, will protect you from shopping when you are HANGRY after work (hungry & angry) and importantly reduce the amount of naughty treats you pick-up on your way around the store.

There are a variety of apps that can make grocery shopping painless, even services that will deliver your entire list or plan to your door for you. Find one that allows you to view and check-off items on all your favorite devices (iPad, iPhone, Watch), so you never need to remember bringing your meal prep shopping list to the store. There are plenty that save you from having to calorie-count to the nth degree. Be on the lookout for plans that have affordable common ingredients across a variety of recipes.

It’s often worthwhile to take stock of how much the grocery bills are in your household and finding ways to adjust variety vs cost to your needs at any given time. In the summer months, consider some rarer recipes or perhaps eating-out on a few more occasions. If penny-pinching, opt for more basic meals, with fewer ingredients. The important thing is to find something that works for you, time and time again. Find tools & resources to take the thinking away from the entire meal prep shopping process and establish a routine that is fun, sustainable and full of healthy flavorful ingredients, week-in week-out! That is what will see you succeed with your meal prep.


Using MealPrepPro

MealPrepPro is designed to address many of the common problems we highlighted earlier. As you may know, the app offers hundreds of delicious meal prep recipes to choose from, ready to be customized to your macros. But what you may not know is that recipes have had their ingredients standardized and condensed wherever possible. This is important so that you are not buying exotic and rare ingredients (like ‘lebanese cucumber’ for example) when the reality is you could get by just fine with some regular veggies.

The app can generate a meal prep shopping list in just a few taps, using 2 different ways for separate contexts. Some of you may only be familiar with one method, but both have their merits.

Method 1 – Multiple Meals

  1. Clear existing shopping list (all or checked items)

  2. Tap 'Create new shopping list'

  3. Select the days wish to shop for

  4. Tap 'Done' & breathe a sigh of relief! 🙌

Method 2 – Individual Meals

  1. Clear existing shopping list (all or checked items)

  2. Tap into the recipe you want to prep

  3. Review the ingredients list (+ allergen info)

  4. Tap 'Add 10 ingredients to shopping'

  5. Review shopping list + hit the shops! 🛒

By tapping the big red ‘CREATE MY SHOPPING LIST NOW’ button, I can choose which days I wish to do my shopping for. I tap ‘Done’ & voila – all items for those days are organized by aisle & recipe. All in one consolidated manageable list for me. 😍

By going into a recipe itself, I may also add-it to shopping list. If cooking as a one-off for the family, I can temporarily change the number of people or days to suit my needs. Tap ‘add to shopping’ and now I have one manageable meal in the shopping list for this week! ✅


Meal Prep Pantry List

Buying ingredients in batches and in bulk can often be more cost-effective. Here are a few ideas of items that you might want to have permanently stocked in your pantry or freezer, since they can keep for longer:

  1. Uncooked rice, quinoa & pastas

  2. Protein powder

  3. Frozen fruits & veg (berries, peas, carrots, broccoli)

  4. Canned items (tomatoes, tuna, chickpeas, corn & kidney beans)

  5. Rolled oats, nuts & nut butters

  6. Dried herbs & spices (cumin, cinnamon, onion & garlic powders)

  7. Oils (olive oil, coconut oil, low sodium soy sauce)

  8. Easy-to-forget items (sea salt, peppercorns, arrowroot starch, cornstarch, panko)


Meal Prep Equipment List

In addition to staying stocked-up, you may consider securing some additional equipment over time. This will make levelling-up your meal prep game that bit faster:

  1. Meal prep containers (BPA free)

  2. Spray bottle (for olive or coconut oil & reducing calories)

  3. Measuring cups & spoons

  4. Digital cooking scales

  5. Non-stick skillet & pan(s)

  6. Blender or food processor

  7. Quality knife or knife sharpener

As you will be preparing meals in larger quantities, you may need to make sure you have the proper kitchen gear, particularly any bigger pots and skillets. Look for a good non-stick skillet. Otherwise you will continue to use a whole bunch of oil to prevent your food from sticking to the pan. Not healthy at all! In addition, a cheap spray bottle that can be refilled will save you splurging on oil. A good quality chefs knife makes a huge difference but you likely won’t need it if you have a set already. Make sure to sharpen it from time to time with a sharpening tool. You want to be able to carefully and quickly slice through the food (not mash it up like a blender).

Lastly, to develop your ‘kitchen IQ’, you might want to invest in some digital scales and measuring spoons so you can accurately measure things out and stick to your calorie goal. When I started meal-prep’ing I didn’t rush out and buy everything at once – so don’t worry about adding to your collection over time.


Regardless of what pops-up on your grocery shopping list this week, remember that healthy & sustainable meal prep WILL save you money in the long-run. Furthermore, whether you are an avid user of the MealPrepPro app or not, find ways to simplify the creation and management of that grocery list over time.

Embrace the process, then both your wallet & body will too!


How to Manage MealPrepPro Subscription

How-To Manage / Cancel Your Subscription

About Auto-Renewable Subscriptions

MealPrepPro comes with a 7 day free trial for all new customers. After the 7 day trial ends, MealPrepPro requires a subscription, charged either on a monthly or annual basis. The subscription will automatically renew unless cancelled at least 24 hours prior to the end of the subscription period. Once purchased, refunds will not be provided for any unused portion of the term. You may receive emails from Apple prior to your subscription renewing for the next period. Your subscription can be managed and auto-renewal be turned off by going to your iTunes Account Settings after purchase, as detailed below.

Tip #1 - Deleting any iOS app will not cancel any existing subscriptions you may have for that app 🤓


Cancel inside MealPrepPro

If you decide that MealPrepPro is not working for you or is not worth the outlay – no problemo! Thanks for giving the app a try. We’ve added a shortcut to manage subscriptions from inside the Settings tab of the MealPrepPro app.

Tip #2 - To edit subscriptions in MealPrepPro, go to Settings tab, scroll down to 'Subscription' & tap 'Manage' 👌


Cancel on any Apple Device

If you no longer have access to the MealPrepPro app, you can also manage or cancel your subscription by clicking this link or by following these steps inside the Apple App Store app:

  1. Go to Apple App Store app.

  2. Tap your Profile picture in the top right.

  3. Select 'Manage Subscriptions'.

  4. Choose the subscription that you want to manage - MealPrepPro.

Tip #3 - Click this link from any Apple device to be magically ✨ taken to your current iOS subscriptions.


Refunds

Regarding refunds, we’re afraid we don’t handle payments on our end. Payments are handled directly between your device and Apple’s servers. We are therefore unable to process refunds. Furthermore, auto-renewable subscriptions are unfortunately not refundable, but if there was a problem with your purchase you are able to reach out to Apple via their report a problem page.

Tip #4 - If there was a problem with any app purchases, you can contact Apple via this link ✋


Deleting Your Account

If you wish to delete your account, you can do so inside the MealPrepPro app also. As a European company, we are GDPR compliant and will not unnecessarily retain any of your data. If you have any queries, you can contact our Data Protection Officer here. Before starting the deletion process, make sure that you have cancelled your existing subscription(s), using the methods detailed above.

To delete your account, follow the steps mentioned in Tip #5. Once you navigate through the steps and complete the request, all your data will be permanently and automatically deleted from our services and from the MealPrepPro app. You will receive confirmation of this instantly inside MealPrepPro and be logged out from the service.

Tip #5 - To remove your account, go to Settings, tap 'Account'  >  'Delete Account'  & complete all 3 steps 👍


Have Any Feedback?

Lastly, if you have decided that MealPrepPro is not suitable for your needs – we completely understand. It will be a shame for us to lose you, but we understand that the app is not for everyone. If you did find anything specific about MealPrepPro that was not helping you achieve your goals and you can spare just 2 minutes, then do please write-in and let us know. We love to hear you and will always consider your feedback to help improve the experience + hopefully help more people like you become meal prep pro’s!


How to Change Calories on a Meal Plan

How-To Change Diet & Calories Without Getting Fat

Factors affecting weight-loss or weight-gain

What to do when you have calories under control but are not seeing the results. How do you adapt your diet and change your calories without getting fat? Before we get to answering that, consider that there are many factors that affect our ability to gain or lose weight over any extended period of time. Including but not limited to:

  • TRAINING – frequency, intensity & volume

  • SLEEP – quantity & quantity

  • STRESS – from work, home & family

  • WATER – hydration levels

  • CALORIES – amount of food we are consuming

  • MACRO-NUTRIENTS – make-up of our diets

As you know already, with MealPrepPro we have the last 3 points covered. Calories, macros & water consumption are under control.💪 The app takes care of that for you. However just because you set things-up correctly on Day 1, does not mean that come Day 90 you should be maintaining the same exact diet as previously. Many of these variables could negatively impact ‘gains’ if we’re not careful. Our bodies need to be given the opportunities to adapt to these variables. In other words:

🕵️ We need to be constantly checking-in and recalibrating our plan, for continued results.


How to adapt your calories each month

Regardless of whether you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle, at the end of each 4 week period inside MealPrepPro, you should be reviewing your calories. You may choose to do this via 2 options (manually or automatically using your BMR), which are mentioned later. First, here’s an example of why it’s necessary:

⚖️ You may have found that on the keto plan inside MealPrepPro, you lost 2kg (~4½ lbs) over the last 4 weeks. Kudos to you! Your original calorie level was 2,000 calories but since you lost the extra weight and became a little less active in the winter - your calorie requirement dropped to 1,800 kcals. Meaning a 200 calorie surplus (additional calories that you should not be consuming). Make sure you pay attention to this, otherwise results may stagnate.

  • Continuing to over-eat or under-eat for a sustained period of time may compromise the very results that were achieved earlier in your plan.
  • Equally, if not seeing the results you had hoped for, you can tweak calories each month & enlarge/reduce your meal sizes accordingly.
  • Continued success is dependent upon listening to your body and adapting to it. Thankfully that is super easy to do inside MealPrepPro.

Changing Calories - Automatically

Option 1 - Auto Calculate

  1. Tap Settings tab of MealPrepPro
  2. Tap top-right cell 'Calories & details'
  3. Enter goal, activity level & personal info (this is kept ONLY on your device)
  4. Tap 'Done' & voila!

Changing Calories - Manually

Option 2 - Manual

  1. Tap Settings tab of MealPrepPro
  2. Tap top-right cell 'Calories & details'
  3. Unselect 'Auto calculate calories'
  4. Slide calories up/down to desired level
  5. Tap 'Done' & bingo!

If you hadn't noticed, you can change your calories at ANY TIME, via either method, as often as you like, without it affecting the meals that you have hand-selected for your plan. The recipes scale up & down to your calorie needs automatically. 🎉 Just like magic! 🥳


How to accelerate & prolong your results

As you will have noticed from the GIFs above – there can be a huge variation in calories when you change your goal from ‘losing weight’ to ‘gain muscle’, or vice versa. After every successful 12 week block and progression towards your goal, you should be switching things up. That means, changing your goal. 😮 Yes I know, that sounds crazy – but believe us when we say – it works! Many professional athletes, actors, males & females cycle between 12-week blocks of ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’. i.e. losing weight + gaining muscle.

e.g: So you have been on a mission to lose weight for 3 months now:

  • Month 1 you lost 3lbs (1.3kg) 👏
  • Month 2 you lost 2lbs (1kg) 💪

  •  Month 3 - nothing changed 🤦‍♀️

  • But you are now near target weight 🏅

Rather than changing your calories again, consider changing your goal to ‘Gain Muscle’. This will force your body to adapt to new stimulus and will help it overcome stagnation, after being in a calorie deficit for 3 months. Don’t worry about getting fat or gaining too much muscle (a common worry for ladies), your body will become conditioned for weight loss next time around. After 12 more weeks, you can return to having ‘Lose Weight‘ as your primary goal, and repeat once more in cycles.

e.g: So you have been pumping iron, aiming to gain lean muscle for 3 months now:

  • Month 1 you gained 3lbs (1.3kg) of muscle 💪
  • Month 2 you gained 2lbs (1kg) of muscle too 🙌

  •  Month 3 you gained no new muscle 🤦‍♂️

  • But still close to target of 6lbs of extra muscle 🏆

Rather than changing your calories again, consider changing your goal to ‘Lose Weight’. This will force your body to adapt to new stimulus and will help you shred any extra fat you had gained by being in a calorie surplus. It will also likely make gaining muscle easier next time around. After 12 more weeks, you can return to having ‘Gain Muscle‘ as your primary goal, and repeat once more in cycles.


If you have a query related to this or any other specific needs, please do feel free to say hello & Contact Us. We’re particularly keen to find out how we can help you achieve your goals this year. 💪


MealPrepPro - How to Customize Meal Plan

How-To Customize a Meal Plan to Your Needs

Customizing Meal Plans

So you have your new mighty MealPrepPro meal plan. You have input your target calories and you’re all set with your delicious recipes that you have hand-picked from the app. But then, a question pops-up that begins with “how do I..?” 🤦‍♂️

  • How do I add extra meals to my plan?
  • How do I eat my own snacks?
  • How do I start intermittent fasting? or skip a breakfast?
  • How do I cook for my entire family?
  • How do I manage my allergy? and avoid certain foods?

How Meals Plans are Structured

Before we get to answering those questions, let us start by sharing how we arrived here today. MealPrepPro was designed with simplicity in mind. We spoke to nearly a dozen nutritionists, dieticians & personal trainers early on to establish how many meals per day the average person eats. The same question was then put to the community. The overwhelming answer we heard…4. Four hearty meals in the form of a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner and a snack. Great, we thought – let’s build a meal prep app with 4 fixed meals. ✅

That being said, as we stand today, we know that 4 is not the magic number for everyone. Over the past year we have heard from many people who are looking for greater flexibility from their plans. That may mean eating 2-3 meals a day, or it may mean splitting them up into 5-6 per day. It may also mean the equivalent of 8+ meals a day if you have an extra mouth or two to feed at home.

There are solutions inside MealPrepPro for these for your circumstances. 👏 To understand, we need to look at how your calories each day are allocated. If you haven’t checked out our other post on how to edit your calories, we’d recommend to read that also.


Standard / Keto / Plant-Based / Vegetarian / Pescatarian

If you have one of the balanced macro plans, e.g. Standard, Keto, Plant-Based, Vegetarian or Pescatarian, your calories for each day are split as follows: 30% for Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners, 10% Snacks.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snack

High Protein / High Fat / Low Fat / Low Carbs

If you have a customized macro plan, e.g. High Protein, High Carbs, High Fat or Low Fat, your calories each day are equally distributed between all meals: 25% for Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners & Snacks.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snack


Customizing Your Meal Plan

Now that we know that how the plans are formed, let’s tap on any of the below headings matching your situation.

The easiest way to eat extra meals in your plan is to divide one of your meals into 2 or more portions MealPrepPro. e.g: If on the ‘Standard’ plan – you may choose to divide your breakfast – 30% of calories – into 2 portions, making one a mid-morning snack. On the ‘High Protein’ plan, you may instead choose to split your snack, which is 25% of your daily calories – into one mid-morning & one afternoon snack. You can do this by eye or using the “how to portion” functionality within the recipe:

Note: We expect to add more options within the UI in future, to allow you to see more/less than 4 meals in your plan on any given day 😎

Perhaps you wish to skip breakfast in the morning or are looking to start “intermittent fasting” for its known health benefits. The MealPrepPro app can be cater to that. To adjust the plan, we need to understand how many calories are coming from the meal that you wish to skip – in this case breakfast. Let’s say for example you are on 1,600 calories with the ‘Standard’ plan – so that’s 30% of daily calories or ~500 kcals from your breakfast.

With this in mind, you need to increase your calories by 30% to still hit 1,600. In this instance, go to the Settings tab and set your calories to 2,300 (which means after you skip breakfast you’ll have around 1,600).

You can then ‘skip’ the breakfast each day. Or by tapping on one of the breakfasts, choosing ‘swap‘ and then tapping on “Eating out”, marking all the other days as eating out. Voila! 🙌

You can already add your own recipe creations when you tap ‘swap’ and then ‘your recipes‘. Right now, you can add a title and the headline nutritional information. In the future, we expect to expand this and allow you to build your own recipes with specific ingredients and steps inside.
You will however need to be careful with calories and macros, as the rest of the plan won’t adjust automatically to the increase/decrease in calories and will continue to be based off the allocated macros. For example let’s say a snack was contributing 200 kcals to your plan, but you replace it with a 400 calorie snack. Your plan will not automatically reduce your calories to keep you on track for your goals – so do be mindful of those naughty ‘extras’  👀

So you added your partner to your plan, you are in the grocery store and you feel like you forgot something. The kids! 😱 Just like in the film ‘Home Alone’, we unfortunately left the kids behind. Thankfully, we will be adding support for additional family members to your plan later in 2019, but for now you can achieve something similar by inflating your partner’s calories.

Most families eat together at breakfast and at dinner. This on the standard plan amounts to 60% of their calories for the day – 30% for Breakfast and 30% for Dinner. Knowing this, we can artificially inflate your partner’s calories to serve-up an additional portion or two for the family (via the Settings tab):

In this example, your partner is set to 1,800 calories and is joining for those 2 meals. If you bump their calories to 3,000 – that provides 1,200 (40%) extra for the child in the family.

Simply tap the “how to portion” button inside the recipe and the app will do the calculation for you to find your own portion size. You will then be able to divide the partner portion 60/40 as we split it above – so that everyone gets to enjoy a taste of meal prep success! You still get to stay on track for your own nutritional goals & you can easily portion the rest of the meal for your loved ones too.

In an update towards the end of 2018, we allowed you to add allergens to your plan inside MealPrepPro. When selecting a new plan (via ‘Dietary Prefs’ in the Settings tab), you are able to select from a number of allergens. MealPrepPro will hide any ingredients & recipes that are incompatible with those allergens. This will reduce the recipe options available to you – so try not to add too many or be too fussy. 😆

Where ingredients may/may not contain the allergen selected, the app displays a warning sign. We added this because many brands and manufacturers prepare their products differently and we can never be sure if they do or do not contain allergens. Tapping the warning sign will bring-up further information about that allergen:

Note – By 2020, we hope to expand this functionality further to allow you to add specific ingredients that you dislike, to the same effect. 🤓

The above solutions, we do recognize, are not perfect. We hope that later in 2019 we will be in a position to allow you to select the number of meals (& which meals) you wish to appear in your meal plan. You will, we hope, be able to add more than one partner to your plans. We are committing to building the perfect meal plan for your needs.

If you would like us to provide support for any other specific needs, please do feel free to say hello & Contact Us. We’re particularly keen to find out what we could do for you to make your meal prep easier (but we’re not washing your filthy dishes) 😄