Proper nutrition and eating healthy are the best ways to change your body. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit the gym; you’ll never see results if you’re replenishing your body with unhealthy choices.
It’s easy to fall prey to fast food with a busy schedule. That’s where meal prepping can make your fitness journey so much simpler. But what is meal prepping?
You see the Instagram posts with the foods in the little, plastic containers and hear the conversations from the super-fit people at the gym; but what truly goes into the act?
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Clear up the confusion around meal prepping and learn how to set yourself up for eating success by following the best practices below.
Meal Prep Steps for Success
Step One: Educate yourself
If you want to eat clean, you need to know what clean eating is. This can vary person to person but the most basic definition of clean eating is consuming real foods. These are unprocessed, natural and non-packaged foods. Learn to read nutrition labels and control portion sizes. If you have questions reach out for help with Elite Sport & Fitness Nutrition Services.
Step Two: Decide on a prep day
Look at your schedule? Is it all over the place or do you work a 9-5 with weekends off? Look at your current schedule and decide on a day where you have nothing to do. For some people, Sunday seems to be a fabulous day to get it all done; while others may find Wednesday works best.
Step Three: Plan out a list
Once you’ve decided which day you are prepping make a list so that you aren’t completed overwhelmed at the store. Look up recipes you can make in bulk like crockpot proteins and large batches of grains. Buy items in bulk you can store and freeze for later use.
Step Four: Food storage
Do you have enough containers in which to store your meals? Do you want to store your meals in plastic or glass containers? Do you want the containers that have little dividers in them? Do you have containers of different sizes to hold different types of foods? How about little plastic baggies? What about a lunch box/bag that will hold all of your meals if you have several meals with you each day? If you’ll be out at the store anyhow, make sure to pick up some of these items if you don’t already have enough at home.
Also know where you are storing all of these containers – fridge or freezer? Before you start cooking, make sure you have the space to put it all. Let your space dictate how many meals you prep.
Step Five: Cook
Like everything else, you need to have some kind of prioritization with your cooking. Can you be multitasking while something’s in the oven? You may want to get up and get it done in the morning. Or you may want to do it in the evening of Sunday night so it’s as close to fresh for the week ahead as you can get it. Do what works for you, there is no right or wrong way.
Step Six: Pack it up
Pack, separate, combine, mix–get it into its storage container however you’d like to gather it together. For each meal, try to combine a protein, a vegetable, and a carb. (This is why you see a lot of chicken, broccoli and brown rice/quinoa packs.)
Pack snacks like plain Greek yogurts with wild blueberrries., almonds or fresh fruits.
Step Seven: Assess after each week
Assess what works for you. Did you love one food on Monday but by Wednesday it didn’t taste so good? Or did you have enough food – too much?
And yes, maybe during the week you saw an Instagram pic of something you’d like to try…do you have the necessary items to make it? Each week it’s all one big cycle and starts anew.
Check back next Thursday for simple food prep recipes and more tips and tricks.