Beginner’s Meal Prep Guide for weight loss & muscle building 

Building muscle requires dedication not just in the gym, but also in the kitchen. A staggering 70% of adults struggle with time constraints that prevent them from eating healthy, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics [*]. This is where meal prepping comes in – a powerful tool to simplify your life, optimize your nutrition, and fuel your muscle-building journey. 

This guide dives deep into the world of meal prep, your secret weapon for building muscle. We’ll explore the benefits, guide you through building a personalized meal plan, and even offer time-saving hacks and budget-friendly options. So, ditch the excuses, grab your reusable containers, and get ready to fuel your muscle-building journey. 

What is Meal Prepping and Why is it Important for Muscle Gain? 

an lady enjoying healthy meal

Meal prepping is the practice of preparing your meals and snacks in advance for a specific period, typically a week. This involves planning your meals, purchasing ingredients, cooking in bulk portions, and storing them in individual containers for easy grab-and-go consumption. 

Benefits of meal prepping for muscle gain: 

  • Saves Time: Imagine waking up with pre-portioned, healthy meals ready to eat. No more scrambling in the morning or wasting precious post-workout energy on cooking. Studies published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that time constraints are a significant barrier to healthy eating for over 70% of adults [*]. Meal prep eliminates this hurdle. 
  • Boosts Healthy Eating: Let’s face it, convenience often equals unhealthy choices. With meals prepped and readily available, you’re less likely to succumb to fast food or unhealthy snacks. A 2017 study in the journal Appetite demonstrated that increased meal planning is associated with a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and a lower intake of sugary drinks and processed foods [*]. This ensures you’re consistently consuming the nutritious foods your body needs to build muscle. 
  • Ensures Adequate Protein Intake: Protein is the building block of muscle, and research by the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight for muscle gain. Meal prepping allows you to control portion sizes and ensure you’re hitting your protein targets every single day. A 2018 review published in the journal Nutrients concluded that consuming adequate protein is critical for muscle protein synthesis, which is essential for muscle growth and repair
  • Promotes Portion Control: Prepping meals in individual portions helps prevent overeating and mindless snacking. This is crucial for maintaining a calorie surplus, which is necessary for muscle growth while still staying mindful of overall calorie intake. A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Obesity found that portion control strategies like pre-portioned meals can significantly reduce daily calorie intake
  • Reduces Food Waste: By planning your meals and buying only what you need, you significantly reduce food waste. This saves you money and is better for the environment. A 2019 report by the National Resource Defense Council estimates that up to 40% of food produced in the United States goes to waste. Meal prepping helps combat this issue. 

Building Your Muscle Gaining Meal Plan 

meal boxes

So, you’re ready to ditch the excuses and build some serious muscle? Meal prepping is your secret weapon. Think of it as packing the perfect gym bag for your body. Here’s how to create a simple plan that fuels your gains: 

Step 1: Understanding Your Calorie Needs 

a person calculating calorie

Think of your body like a high-performance car. It needs the right amount of fuel (calories) to function at its best. Online calculators or consulting a registered dietitian can help you determine your daily calorie needs. This number factors in your age, weight, activity level, and fitness goals. 

Step 2: Protein – The King of Muscle Building 

few sources of protein

Here’s where things get exciting. Protein is the building block of muscle. Research by the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight for muscle gain. So, if you weigh 70 kgs, aim for 112-154 grams (about 5.43 oz) of protein daily. Meal prepping ensures you consistently hit these targets, preventing protein deficiencies that can hinder your progress. 

Step 3: Carbs for Energy & Healthy Fats for Support 

a plate full of quality carbs

Don’t neglect carbs and healthy fats. Carbs provide the energy to crush your weight training (or resistance training) sessions, while healthy fats support hormone regulation and overall health. Think brown rice, sweet potatoes, nuts, and avocados – delicious and functional. 

Step 4: Sample Indian Meal Plan for Muscle Gain 

This 7-day plan gives you protein sources and highlights key nutrients (protein, carbs, fat) for each meal and snack: 

Day 1: 

  • Breakfast (Protein: 25g, Carbs: 30g, Fat: 10g): Scrambled Eggs with chopped spinach and whole-wheat roti [Link to Recipe] 
  • Mid-Morning Snack (Protein: 15g, Carbs: 20g, Fat: 5g): Greek yogurt with berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds 
  • Lunch (Protein: 30g, Carbs: 40g, Fat: 15g): Grilled chicken breast with brown rice and roasted vegetables [Link to Recipe] 
  • Afternoon Snack (Protein: 10g, Carbs: 25g, Fat: 5g): Sprouted moong dal salad with chopped cucumber and tomato 
  • Dinner (Protein: 35g, Carbs: 45g, Fat: 20g): Baked salmon with quinoa and steamed broccoli [Link to Recipe] 
  • Evening Snack (Protein: 10g, Carbs: 15g, Fat: 5g): Cottage cheese with a sprinkle of cinnamon 

(Repeat with a variety of protein sources and healthy meals throughout the week). Or for more material regarding meal planning check out our website.

Step 5: Make it Yours. 

a meal box

This is a starting point. Adjust portion sizes based on your calorie goals and swap ingredients you like. Vegetarians? Explore lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and paneer. 

Meal Prep Hacks for Muscle Gain 

You’ve got the meal plan, but let’s be honest, who has hours to spend in the kitchen after a long day? Fear not, muscle-building warriors. Here are some time-saving hacks to turn meal prep into a breeze: 

Time-Saving Techniques: Become a Meal Prep Mastermind 

a meal box
  • Batch Cooking is Your Best Friend: Cook double or triple portions of protein sources like chicken breasts or lentils to use throughout the week. This cuts down on overall cooking time significantly. 
  • Prep Like a Pro: On Sundays, dedicate some time to chopping vegetables, pre-cooking grains like quinoa or brown rice, and hard-boiling eggs. This sets you up for success throughout the week. 
  • Kitchen Gadgets to the Rescue: Consider using a slow cooker or Instant Pot for effortless meal prep. These handy tools can significantly reduce cooking time while delivering delicious results. 
  • Grocery Shopping on Autopilot: Plan your meals in advance and create a grocery list to avoid impulse buys and wasted time at the store. Utilize online grocery shopping services for added convenience. 

Storage & Reheating: Keeping it Fresh & Safe 

a person preparing an meal box
  • Storage Savvy: Store cooked meats, fish, and vegetables in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Leftovers beyond that timeframe are best frozen for longer-term storage. 
  • Reheating Reimagined: Reheat meals gently in the microwave or oven to preserve taste and texture. Invest in good quality containers specifically designed for reheating to avoid plastic leaching and ensure even heating. 

Keeping it Fresh & Exciting: No More Meal Prep Boredom 

healthy meal boxes
  • Flavor Fiesta: Experiment with different flavor profiles. Use marinades, herbs, spices, and sauces to keep your meals exciting. Think beyond salt and pepper – explore cuisines from around the world for inspiration. 
  • Texture Time: Incorporate a variety of textures in your meals for added interest. Think crunchy vegetables, creamy sauces, and fluffy grains to keep your taste buds happy. 
  • Leftover Love: Don’t let leftovers go to waste. Use leftover chicken or salmon in salads, wraps, or stir-fries. Get creative and give your prepped ingredients a new lease on life. 

Building Muscle on a Budget 

Hitting the gym but struggling to see results? Maybe it’s your wallet, not your workout. Building muscle doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here’s your guide to getting shredded without breaking the bank: 

Cheap Protein Power: 

bowl of lentils
  • Beans & Lentils: Packed with protein and budget-friendly, these are muscle-building champions. Explore varieties like kidney or black beans for endless recipe ideas. 
  • Chicken & Eggs: A classic combo for a reason. They’re complete protein sources (all the building blocks your body needs) and easy on the wallet. 

Sample Budget-Friendly Meals: 

Sample Budget-Friendly Meals:
  • Breakfast: Eggs with toast and fruit (protein: 20g) 
  • Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread with salad (protein: 30g) 
  • Dinner: Lentil soup with brown rice and veggies (protein: 20g) 

Grocery Shopping Like a Pro: 

a person preparing his grocery shopping list
  • Plan & List: Planning meals and creating a list helps avoid impulse buys and wasted food (and money.). 
  • Weekly Deals & Store Brands: Take advantage of store specials on protein and staples like rice and beans. Explore store brands – they can be just as good for less. 


In conclusion, meal prepping is a powerful tool that can simplify your life, optimize your nutrition, and fuel your muscle-building journey. This guide has equipped you with the knowledge to create a personalized meal plan, incorporate time-saving hacks, and explore budget-friendly options.

Remember, consistency is key. By following these steps and dedicating yourself to both meal prep and your workout routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your muscle-building goals.

So, ditch the excuses, grab your reusable containers, and get ready to see the results. 

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