Every now and then I’ll meet someone who is frustrated because they workout




……but they still can’t seem to lose a layer of belly fat.

And I empathize with them – but I want to be like



There are lots of reasons why you should give your body some downtime and I go over them here in How To Not Exercise but the main thing I want to cover here is that you are misallocating your time if your goal is to get rid of  fat.

It would be much better to take one of those days off and do my Meal Prep Power Hour.

If you spend this one hour in the kitchen you are going to be WAY more likely to make good food choices throughout the week.


And, dudes – it is way more efficient to just not eat crap than to eat it and then try to work it off with exercise.


If you don’t believe me- check out this fun converter, where put in your weight and it will calculate how much exercise it would take YOU to burn off some dietary decision you made because you didn’t have any healthy food prepped.

Which is where I learned that if I go to Starbucks and get the Cinamon Dolce Creme with Whip, I would need to go for a 75 min bike ride to work it off and

time for that

So I’m going to give you an exact timeline on the most  awesomely EFFICIENT hour you can spend  if you want to ditch the belly fat. Here’s a sample prep menu that will set you up for healthy lunches, easy dinners and healthy snacks:

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Hummus + veggies
  • Salad bar + dressing
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Protein energy balls




Step 1: Sweet potato prep:

Sweet potatoes are a great choice for a carb- they have a relatively low glycemic index, tons of fibre and are a great source of vitamin A

Pre-heat oven to 350, wash and chop sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put in the oven for 55 minutes.

sweet potatos

Step 2: Get quinoa cooking

You want to switch up your grain choice every week for maximum nutritional diversity but the reason quinoa is such a big deal is because it’s not actually a grain, it’s a seed (that’s why it looks like it ‘sprouts’ when you cook it). This means that it has a lower glycemic index, is higher in protein AND fiber and contains awesome hard to get nutrients like magnesium. It’s also gluten-free, for those that have trouble with gluten.

On the stovetop, mix 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water or veggie broth, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally until the water is absorbed fully.


Step 3: Get your hummus on

I know there are 30 varieties of hummus at your grocery store but chances are that they are all made with some nasty cheap oil so you are missing a chance to absorb some of the good, anti-inflamatory fats you would find in good quality olive oil (see my Costco post for more on olive oil quality)

Throw hummus ingredients into food processor and let it whirl. (I go for classic)


Step 4: Salad bar time!

I know I know. You don’t win friends with salad. The trick is to make it as varied and delicious as possible so you aren’t all like:



First make sure you have a selection of salad toppings that you love. Think avocado, seeds, olives,  some cheese if you are down with dairy. (The fat from cheese isn’t as good as the fat from the others but hey – if it’s the spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down, that’s cool.)

Buy a selection of greens (whatever works – just switch it up every week or so). If not pre-washed, then tear it up into bite sized bits, wash it, dry it and package it.

Chop up peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, anything you’d like and put into mason jars or tupperware for quick grab & go ability. Make sure to leave some in sticks for hummus dipping.


Step Five: Homemade Dressing

It is not easy to find salad dressing at the grocery store that isn’t full of cheap oils and strange additives. Skip it and make this: it’s the one we use in the 28 Day Transformation Challenge and  I’m obsessed with it:

Grab a mason jar and mix in:

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic

1 tbsp dijon mustard (or honey mustard if you like more sweetness)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove


I swear this dressing makes me over-react to salad like there’s a Shutterstock sniper camera on me during lunch:


Step Six: Boil the eggs

By now the quinoa should be done, so you can put that away and use the same pot to hard boil some eggs for the week. Boiled eggs are the perfect little portion of protein that will go a long way towards keeping you satisfied.

Fail proof method: cover eggs with cold water, once water is boiling, turn off heat and set a timer for 12 minutes.


Step Seven: Protein Power Balls

These will keep you going and satisfy your sweet tooth while packing in some protein and healthy fats.

While eggs are going, rinse out food processor well (you don’t want your protein balls to taste like garlic). Add:

¼ cup protein powder of choice OR hemp hearts

¼ cup nut butter

¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 tbsp maple syrup

pinch of sea salt

Pulse until it clumps together. Roll into small balls (this should make about 8) and store in the fridge for a quick hit of energy pre or post workout. If you have kids, you might want to double these!


Step Eight: Package and clean up!

Eggs should be done, run under cold water – once they have cooled you can store in fridge.

The sweet potatoes should be just about done too. Let cool before you package or they will end up soggy.

Step Nine: Celebrate!


Once everything is stored in the fridge, kick back and relax with the satisfaction that you just spent a very productive hour towards getting fitter! And bonus: you don’t even have to shower (unless you are as messy a cook as I am 🙂


Like this post? See the expanded version in Oonagh’s new book, Healthy As F*ck.

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