Whether you are seeing it all over social media or hearing your fellow co-workers in the City rave about their meal prep company of choice, it seems hard to avoid the meal-prepping trend. It seems time-consuming to prepare the food at home and expensive to order from a meal prep company in London. The truth is when done right meal prepping can actually save you time and money whilst also accelerating your fitness goals.
Below are some things to keep in mind before hopping on the meal prep train.
Why Meal Prep?
Meal prepping is the concept of cooking food ahead of time to store for meals throughout the week. You can prep large batches of meals, specific to your dietary requirements at once so that you can easily grab pre-prepared food from your fridge. Meal planning has multiple benefits to consider.
Portion control: Keeping your meals separated and stored into individual portions helps you stick to pre-planned portions and avoid overeating.
Achieve Fitness Goals: Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass, calculating your micro and macro-nutrients and factoring these numbers into your food prep will determine the likelihood and speed to which you will achieve your fitness goals.
Save time: Set aside a day on your weekend or block of time to prep your meals for the week. In the long run, this will cut back on the time normally spent cooking and washing dishes each day.
Save money: Knowing exactly what you are going to eat for the week gives you a game plan to avoid impulse buying when you go into the grocery store. Also, having all your meals ready for the week will do away with the temptations to waste money on fast food in a pinch.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
We have all experienced an epiphany moment where we feel hyper-focused on getting our lives together. All at once we are motivated to stop procrastinating, start working out and drop junk food. Then, we become overwhelmed by taking on too much at once and completely give up. To avoid this, start with what you know is manageable for you.
Consider preparing versatile ingredients you can prepare in bulk and mix and match. For example, focus on one protein (chicken is usually easiest and can be seasoned in many different ways), roast a big batch of assorted vegetables, and cook multiple servings of two carbs such as brown rice and legumes.
These low effort ingredients can be paired in a multitude of different ways to avoid getting sick of the same thing every day. Alternatively, you can search the web for two simple recipes you really want to try to get you into the groove without being too overwhelming.
Remember Your Food Groups
When meal prepping you want a balance of foods that are not only going to provide you with the proper vitamins and minerals but also actually fill you up. A big mistake people make is falling off the wagon because they are restricting too many calories and essentially starving themselves.
A simple rule of thumb for designing balanced meals is to follow the following breakdown of food groups:
- ½ fruits and vegetables: provide important vitamins and minerals
- ¼ proteins: important for bone and muscle health
- ¼ complex carbs: as opposed to white bread, pasta, and rice complex carbs such as brown rice, whole-grain products, beans, and legumes provide sustainable energy for the body to run on
It is time to sort through that mess of a Tupperware drawer! Technically any sort of Tupperware can be used, but certain types make meal prepping all the easier.
Storage with individual dividers prevents the problem of food running into each other and creating an unappetizing mess. Also, check if your storage containers are BPA free. If so, they can be placed directly into the microwave. It isn’t necessary, but shopping for new containers can be a fun little motivator to get started. You can also get creative and colour code breakfasts, lunches, and dinners or by days of the week.
As you adjust to meal prepping you will start to understand why it is so popular. The internet is filled with meal prep recipes for beginners, there are bound to be at least a dozen that look good to try!
Preparing balanced, fresh meals ahead of time may even leave you with enough time throughout the week to visit the gym. For more structured regimens, check out our personal training programs at https://www.embodyfitness.co.uk/.