By: Tatiana Britton BS, CPT, FNS
If you are a regular gym-goer, then it is very likely that you currently meal prep or have at least heard of the term. If you haven’t heard of it and/or are not currently meal prepping, it is a valuable tool in your health and fitness success, and you should begin implementing it now! Meal prep can ensure that you stay within your dietary guidelines (Macros, calories, Micros, etc), fight the temptation to go eat junk and fast food and is also a convenient way to have all your food ready to go for the week.
Although meal prep is super beneficial, it can become a tougher job than it needs to be. The best way to meal prep is to find out what works best and easiest for you and finding what foods you will eat rather than just letting it harden and mold in your refrigerator. Meal prep shouldn’t be hard, and it doesn’t have to be. To be successful with meal prepping, you just must do exactly that: PREPARE. With an easy check-list and the will to set aside some time, you can become a meal prep champ! Check out these 5 tips to make meal prep a breeze, so that you can be one step closer to achieving your health and fitness goals!
- Have a list of recipes
Google “easy meal prep recipes” and you will have an abundance of pages show up. Most of these recipes require very minimal ingredients so that when you go shopping you won’t have to purchase 800 items for one meal. My favorite meal prep friendly recipe is “Spicy Balsamic Chicken”. Google it and give it a try! Your chicken will stay moist and flavorful throughout the week and it is an affordable option. Pair it with some veggies and complex carbs and you got yourself a meal!
- Plan your meals and your meal prep time
Plan a timeslot where you are ONLY dedicated to meal prepping. For many people this is Sunday. I do all my meal prep on Saturdays because that is what works best for me. I dedicated a 2-3 hour timeslot where I only meal prep and get my week ready. This is also a time where you will plan your next week’s meals and what you will need to purchase for it. When you really get good, you can also use this time to get your house cleaning done! Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
- Have a grocery list handy
As mentioned in the prior bullet, having a grocery list ready to go will make your shopping trip seamless and also ensure that you do not end up coming out with a bunch of junk that is not on your meal plan. Create this list the week prior, to ensure you stay on track with your meals planned and can head right to the store at the end of the week. Bonus tip: don’t shop hungry!! I can guarantee you’ll come out making some decisions you’ll feel guilty about later (Little Debbie cakes, anyone?!)
- Invest in containers
When you become a meal prep professional, you’ll know it by your dishes at the end of the week; 90% of them will be plastic containers. You can order meal prep containers on Amazon inexpensively. They not only are microwavable and dishwasher friendly, but many of them also keep your portions in check. If you are meal prepping, you are most likely measuring, but this is still a handy feature. If you prefer to stay away from plastic containers, glass is also an option available online, just be aware that the cost will increase.
- Choose convenient foods
Even if you love cooking (that would not be me) you still probably do not desire to spend 10 hours on your Saturday or Sunday just making food. Keep it simple. Frozen is your friend! Many people think frozen vegetables are not healthy and it is not true. They are not only convenient but just as nutritious! They save you time in cutting, cleaning and cooking time. Many brands have steamable options which you pop right into the microwave and are ready to eat in 5 minutes! Yes, please?!
Those short on time, who hate cooking, who prefer convenience, can ALL find the little time to meal prep. You can even have your groceries delivered, so you can no longer use the excuse that you don’t have time to grocery shop. Technology has made meal prep easier, affordable and possible for any and everyone. Like I said, if you aren’t meal prepping now you should start! Even starting small, by just prepping your lunch will benefit you. If you can count on even just ONE meal that is guaranteed properly portioned and nutritious that is a win! Talk to a fitness coach here at Pulse Fitness gyms in Scottsdale if you need any meal prep recommendations or advice.