Kevin Curry started his Fit Men Cook social media presence nearly 10 years ago, and since, he has been known as the meal prep master. His website boasts mouth-watering recipes from Low-Carb Cajun Style Okra Seafood Soup to Apple Cinnamon Ginger Coffee Cake Muffins to Zaalouk, a Moroccan-inspired tomato and eggplant spread. And don’t even get us started about the stunning recipes from his 2018 cookbook Fit Men Cook: 100+ Meal Prep Recipes for Men and Women. Plus, his entire website, Instagram posts, and many of his products are available in both English and Spanish—to make his healthy meals accessible to more readers.

But what makes Curry’s approach to meal prep and wellness different than every other food blogger or social media influencer? Curry walks the walk and pivots when he sees an opportunity for self-improvement.

From cooking as a single person or a small household to offering expert insight on choosing foods that will help you achieve your goals (whether that’s weight loss, bone health, or a sharper brain), ahead, the social media maven shares his top tips.

Plan for your goals

      Meal planning isn’t just making a list of recipes that sound tasty and going to the store to buy the ingredients. Sure, you want recipes that will get you excited to eat, but you also have to keep your personal goals in mind when making meal choices. Curry says before putting pen to paper, consider if you have weight loss goals, dietary restrictions, or are training for a fitness goal you want to reach.

      “Start out with ‘what do you want to eat’ and compliment that with ‘what are your goals,’” Curry says. From there, spend 30 minutes a week choosing recipes from your favorite website or cookbook that will help you achieve those goals.

      For example, in a recent Youtube video, Curry challenged his entire family to collectively lose 100 pounds by the time of the 2022 Superbowl. Together, they followed a Mediterranean-style diet that made vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits the star to not only drop pounds, but to promote a healthy brain, joints, and overall wellness, he told Prevention.

      “Not only is the Mediterranean diet good for brain health, but what I love about it is it’s a lot more plant-forward,” Curry says. “Rather than a miracle recipe, you’ll become a lot more plant-forward in your diet to help you out with mobility, brain health, and overall feelings of goodness.”

      Try a mix and match approach

      If you need to adjust for multiple tastes, preferences, and goals in a smaller household—say, you’re a vegetarian and your partner likes a good amount of animal protein—Curry has some advice.

      “I do this practice called mix-match meal prep. Where you’re not making full recipes like a casserole, but you’re going to make spicy chickpeas, a batch of chicken, roast some vegetables, and then two grains or root vegetables,” he says. Once you’ve made your seasoned individual items (he emphasizes the need to add flavor, spice, and salt to these elements in advance) you can then make a few sauces, like a salsa verde, guacamole, buffalo sauce, or vinaigrette, to include in your meals. Now, you have individual prepped elements and sauces to mix and match.

      From there, you have multiple elements that can help you build out different types of meals throughout the week that fit everyone’s needs. He explains, one person may want to make a bowl with the roasted veggies, grains, chickpeas, and some tahini on the side. The second person may want a stir fry and can take the roasted vegetables and the chicken, crack in some eggs, and mix in a peanut sauce.

      “The whole idea is to have different things that are prepped that you can mix and match throughout the week and day and make completely different meals,” he says. “If you stop doing full recipes and just focus on doing individual items, it’s much easier to accommodate different dietary styles.”

      And this works as a single person or a duo, he explains. For example, he prepped grains, vegetables, and chicken one week and was able to make an Italian-inspired dish with chicken, orzo, and marinara sauce, and then the next day he used lettuce, chicken, and a peanut sauce to make an entirely different meal.

      Cook twice a week

      Yes, really. Every meal prep book you read or article you click on almost always suggests doing a big prep once a week, but Curry finds that it’s not an ideal experience for the average person.

      By the end of the week, you’ll likely find yourself burnt out and tired of the leftovers you’ve made. ​​“My approach to meal prep is just to do it in ‘microdoses,’” he says. In this version of meal prepping, Curry chooses one day during the weekend and one weekday to meal prep in smaller quantities—only for two or three days at a time.

      “When you do it like this, you can actually condense your time in the kitchen. We’re talking two hours maximum, and you’re only prepping for about three days at a time,” he says.

      Stock your kitchen

      To set you up for success, Curry is sharing a checklist of essentials you should have on-hand before delving into meal prep.

      ✔️Containers. A solid glass container will do the trick for foods you’ll want to reheat, and a stainless steel lunchbox is perfect for keeping food cold to avoid spoiling.

      ✔️Skillet. A good cast iron skillet can get heavy—especially when filled with food. Curry prefers a carbon steel fry pan for a lightweight option that can withstand high temps and is easy to clean.

      ✔️Muffin pan. Especially when cooking for one or two people, Curry says a muffin tin is a must for frittatas, meatloaf, and general portion control.

      ✔️Sharp knife A really good, sharp knife is going to make the entire process move quicker and save you from an accident (dull knives cause worse injuries than sharp ones).

      ✔️Measuring equipment. A good set of measuring cups and spoons and a food scale are great for someone starting out in the meal prep game and help you learn serving sizes.

      ✔️Fridge staples. Curry says bell peppers, celery, and onion (the holy trinity) are a must-have for any Cajun recipe,

      ✔️Seasonings and spices. The right spices and seasonings and some salt make or break a dish.

      ✔️Meal finishers. A squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of scallions, or a touch of fresh garlic are essentials.

      ✔️Canned goods. He always has full-fat and light coconut milk, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, chickpeas, and refried beans to complete meals.

      And there you have it—a Curry-recommended method that will have you prepping like a pro in no time!

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