Secrets to Success with Clean Eating: Weekly Food Prep and the Photo Food Journal

food prepFailing to plan is planning to fail.

When I created the Body Fuel System, it was in response to some of the biggest obstacles we all face when trying to stick to clean eating habits successfully and consistently.

Two of the biggest challenges are:

  • -Having good food we can eat readily available
  • Specific strategies that help us stick to our plan for a number of days in a row.

The BEST way to ensure your success is by setting yourself up for it in advance.

Two of my top success strategies include:
1. Food prepping specific food
2. Creating a “Photo Food Journal”

1. Food Prepping: A Sample Week and the Mentality Behind It

It is really easy to get sidetracked by ‘stuff’ and life, but if we can just remember to do our weekly prep and take food with us for the day, our bodies feel better, we get the benefits of all those nutrients, we improve our lean gains, and we optimize our ability to burn fat. Skipping meals only stresses out the body and triggers it to hold onto fat stores.

When I’m thinking about the food I’ll be including this week, protein is at the top of my list! I include some with every meal.

  • While I don’t advocate calorie counting, it is useful to familiarize yourself with amounts of protein in the foods you regularly consume – and balance them with carbohydrates, healthy fats and greens.

So my protein options this week are eggs – I hard boil about half a dozen keep the rest whole, turkey burgers, Buffalo Lasagna (made with zucchini noodles) and assorted nuts, hemp seeds and protein powders. I keep those on hand to top my oatmeal, throw in my green smoothies and protein shakes.

Next is carbs. I train hard, and nothing is worse than waking up in a hurry and not having anything ready to go, or coming back from the gym and being too hungry to wait to cook something. So I pre-make staples to have on hand like overnight oats and quinoa – and keep a good assortment of fresh, low-glycemic fruits around (that’s just this weeks options).

Healthy fats: I keep avocados, assorted nuts, oils (coconut, walnut, sesame, olive) on hand to include with my meals. The only time I don’t eat fat is immediately post-workout because it slows down how quickly I can replenish my muscle glycogen stores.

Raw greens: I do prep a few greens, like this weeks’ steamed baby bok choy, and some pesto to spread on the fish I’m going to cook fresh on Saturday. But the bulk of my greens I’ll keep raw and have as a side salad with dinner, with eggs and toast, and of course in the Green Smoothies I make daily.

  • I generally choose a day (when I’m running low on fresh foods) and decide what I want to cook and eat for the week (using the above guidelines) – make a list based on the recipes or plan I come up with, and then grocery shop, meal prep and stock up my fridge for the week all in about 2.5 hours.

2. Creating a Daily Photo Food Journal and Why this Strategy Works

One of the best tactics I’ve used to my dream body dialed in is to create Photo Food Journals of everything I eat throughout the day.

  • As an alternative to just writing it down, the act of stopping and taking a picture keeps me accountable for what I’m taking in. Then at the end of the day, I make a little collage of all the things I ate and save it (if you’re using a smartphone, download the instacollage app or similar) .

It’s one of the most effective strategies I’ve used for getting in shape and sticking to clean eating.

Here are 2 examples of Daily Food Journals I have made. The first one was an example from the week of food prep above, and the second is from a day when I was running out of groceries and had less options.

Food Journal #1

food journal

This was also a heavy lifting day, and I was very active and busy so I spaced out small amounts of complex carbs throughout the day – and had some protein with every meal.
On a not so active day, this would look a little different. Having good food on hand makes a big difference to my success!

1. Overnight oatmeal with 2 T pecans, 1 T currants and 3 T hemp seeds
2. Post workout Green Smoothie
3. Lunch- aka Second breakfast: 2 eggs, egg whites, 1 slice gluten-free toast with butter, steamed bok choy (if I was away from home I would have eaten some of the hard boiled eggs I have ready to go).
4. Small protein shake – just raw chocolate Protein Powder, almond milk.
5. Dinner: turkey burger, 1/4 cup quinoa, 1/2 avocado, shallot slices and cucumber “bun”.
(The little pic is a sample of my food prep)

Food Journal #2

food journal2

This journal’s intake was a lot of leftovers and pre-grocery shopping food, but still a well balanced (though non traditional day – which is just fine):

1. Overnight oatmeal with hemp seeds, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon
2. Gluten free toast, butter, eggs and egg whites, sautéed chard, spinach and garlic
3. Sashimi, avocado, vegetable rolls from Whole Foods when I was there mid-day buying groceries (knowing I had to take a photo of whatever I ate kept me on point with my choices!).
4. Leftover chocolate protein pancakes, bacon and banana.
5. Power bowl: hemp seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, walnuts, dark chocolate pieces, raisins – it IS a good idea to have a couple healthy snack ideas.

What about you? What does a day in your life in food look like?


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For more details about achieving your dream body, specific recipes, weekly grocery lists, daily menus, weekly food prep steps and the science of the nutrients explained in the most understandable way, read more about Betty Rocker’s Body Fuel System.



  • Andrew

    Awesome pictures! Made my mouth water so much, lol! Going to grab something to eat right now!

    Unfortunately, as opposed to what you describe in the post, I never have a plan and don’t eat as correctly as I could.

    However, I like the techniques described, going to try this out! Thanks!

    • BettyRocker

      You nailed it – I was never as successful with clean eating either until I started prepping and having a clean eating plan. I go off track every now and then, but knowing I can always come back to something that works helps me a ton!
      Thanks for saying hi.
      Betty Rocker

  • Tammy Fuller

    I LOVE the idea of a photo food journal. I’m going to do it!

    • BettyRocker

      Awesome Tammy! It works so well for me, and I like it even more than just keeping a written food log. You’ll have to let me know how that goes for you!

  • KeKe

    How often do you drink? I’m 26 and found it very difficult to not indulge in my tequila and soda or wine a few times a week! I live in a beach town! I eat quite healthy and workout regularly.. But don’t want alcohol to be the cause of weight gain or aging.

    • BettyRocker

      Dear KeKe,
      This is such an important question. I will be totally honest with you: I rarely drink. I used to drink A LOT. What I discovered in researching the Fuel System reinforced my desire to stop drinking. The sugar in the alcohol does contribute to weight gain, aging and throws our hormones out of balance.
      It also boiled down to every bad thing that has happened in my life, between relationships, behavior and decisions – every bad thing – alcohol was somehow involved. That was a big wake up call to me to stop using it so freely.
      My results speak for themselves. I definitely feel little to no desire to drink these days, and have no problem socializing without it. My skin looks awesome and clear (which can be influenced by many factors, alcohol is certainly just one) and I never have hangovers.
      Your choice is personal, and I am not one to tell anyone how to run their social life. One strategy that has worked for me in the past when I was still drinking was to save it up for once a week, rather than those 3-4 times a week cocktail hours. I would still go out, but I would drink soda water or water and save it up for one night. Kind of like we have the NSA day with food.
      All the best, and thanks for asking.

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  • Michelle

    HI BETTYROCKER :’), I follow you on instagram along with other fitness junkies… and almost every single person meal prepped for the week. I always had this lingering question… wouldn’t the food spoil, especially food like chicken? What are your tips in keeping them fresh.

    • BettyRocker

      Hi Michelle,
      This is a GREAT point and a GREAT question. It is possible to prep for an entire week, you just have to be super strategic. In the Fuel System for example I have you prep the more perishable items to eat in the first 4 days. By day 5 you still have staples left and you do minimal prep of things that you will have frozen, etc. That’s the way I do it at home and that’s what I think works best. Doing those big preps are great when you’re first starting out, because it helps you appreciate food and the time it takes to prepare it all. But as you gain confidence in your ability to throw simple, healthy dishes together it won’t seem so daunting and you can lessen the amount of prep you do and start to really enjoy some cooking. I love cooking – I sometimes procrastinate about it because it seems so time consuming but once I start, I am always SO happy doing it and so happy eating :)
      A little insight into what I’m doing this week: because my greens keep really well for 5 days I do a big mixed greens salad with super greens and other veggies, plus my green smoothie set ups. I usually cook a couple protein options and all my carbs for the week. I like making breakfast so I don’t do any prep around that, and my snacks and protein shakes are no brainers.
      It’s important to remember that we each have slightly different needs for how much food should be ready to go.
      Thanks so much for your awesome question, and for following me!

  • Marisela

    Hi Betty,

    I love the idea of food prep, but I’m always at a loss as to how to go about it. I’m currently part of an emergency response team through AmeriCorps St. Louis and food is usually based off of the group and what meals we plan on making. Mainly dinner. Breakfast and lunch are group based as well, but more simple things like oatmeal, fruit, bagels and lunch is usually PB+J or lunch meat sandwiches. If we want anything else/more for our meals, we are responsible for buying it since it is not in the budget.
    I am very close to becoming a full vegetarian. I mainly still eat chicken and turkey, but not very much of it. I’m also slightly lactose intolerant, so that limits my dairy intake as well. I know I need more calcium.
    I don’t have a lot of food budget right now, so I don’t know if I can afford protein shakes or any of that other supplemental recommendations for clean eating. The work we do when we are not on disaster is very physical and outdoors, so getting in workouts is not a problem. I just struggle with the diet aspect of it. Any recommendations? I do have thyroid issues, so my metabolism is never really where it should be if it was ‘normal’.

    • BettyRocker

      Honestly Marisela, I recommend you get the Body Fuel System. The first half will give you a ton of insight and suggestions about what foods you need to include in your daily diet, and the second half has full vegetarian and pescetarian options. Creating a grocery list for a week of food that is balanced and nourishes your body is not always an easy task. I’m not sure I fully understand what you are asking me here though – if you have to eat and prepare meals with the group, are you trying to find ways to customize and tweak it?

  • Jackie

    Hi BR,
    I have my first sprint triathlon in 3 months and so my training has gone from 2 times a week to 6 days a week. I’ve really amped it up about one month ago after moving to Boulder, CO and joining the local Anytime Fitness (which has been a huge motivation because it is smaller and the owners say hi everyday and remember my name). With it being National Nutrition Month, there are flyers offering nutrition classes, but I cannot afford them.
    Like many others, I was a super athlete in high school, worked out in college, and let it all go down the drain when I hit my 3rd year of college and followed by time-consuming, late-night pizza-eating, grad school. ANYWAYS, I have been staying motivated at the gym, getting in the right training for the race, combining cardio, stretching, and weight lifting… and I feel stronger but am not losing fat. I am confident that it is because I cannot seem to stay consistent with my diet/body fueling. A few days I will be a healthy-eating machine, and then a few days later, I am giving all attention to cookies, chinese take-away, and chips. It is a constant cycle of the past 5 years. If I want to be amazing in my race, I need to fuel my body right.
    Well, $47 bucks is not cheap for me, but my health and this race is important, so I am going to step it up and buy the body fuel system today and give it my attention and dedication. I deserve better than this. I am a strong, smart, woman – hell, I am a badass. I am lactose-intolerant and primarily a pescetarian (I only eat meat that is natural and organic which is super expensive, so I only indulge on the weekends ha). Thank you for your wonderful website and I hope the body fuel system helps me tackle my nutrition. Wish me luck and I will comment on progress next month! (Wow, I can’t believe I wrote a public comment like this; I never do this normally haha).

    • Betty Rocker

      I applaud your dedication to you health and fitness. I am guessing that the only things that were missing for you were understanding how to balance the nutrients your (very) active body needs, causing you to crave carbs – and a slightly harsh self-restriction mentality which for me always makes me rebel eventually. Developing consistency isn’t just about eating clean, it’s about having balance within that. I think you’re going to love the program and get a lot out of it – not just in the next 4 weeks but for the rest of your life. I encourage you to make adjustments to the portion sizes and vary the foods to suit you. There are plenty of options and it’s a great place to start. But ultimately you are your own best expert on what your body needs. It will change and fluctuate and it’s important to be open to not having an “exact” formula every single day and with every single meal. Your body is smart, it will tell you what it needs – we just need to learn the language to understand it. Hugs to you!