Are you looking to get that tummy down a couple of inches for beach season? We understand how daunting the task is. After all, if it were easy, we would all have chiseled abs and toned arms and legs.
So, you get all excited about your new gym membership and your well-planned HIIT routine. You chose HIIT because you heard that it torches calories, but nobody ever tells you that it tends to spike hunger.
Being busy, you’ve made a habit of grabbing the nearest candy bar near you. Meal prepping and eating healthy, which is the pillar of any weight loss or performance goal, seems impossible for now.
Or is it?
Meal prep does not have to be rocket science. In fact, by the end of this article, you will be meal prepping like a pro in no time!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DOING MEAL PREP?
There is the old saying:
You can’t out-train a bad diet.
This is very true. The fact is that it does not matter how many laps you have done, nor does your break-neck HIIT or CrossFit session do enough to counter the pizza or donuts you just had.
One way or another, a bad diet saturated with processed carbs and sugar sabotages any goal. Whether it is fat loss or improved cardiovascular endurance you are after, you need to eat clean. Starving is not the answer either.
You know the benefits of eating healthy. But, of course, part of the challenge is preparation.
You thought preparing one healthy meal was tough? Consider the prospect of preparing all your meals for a week ahead!
Preparing multiple meals in one go may be incredibly intimidating. Still, if you look far ahead and focus on the following benefits, you’ll realize that meal prepping is a must and is something that can be very rewarding.
How long does it take you to cook?
Making your meals as you need to consume them can be time-consuming, if not inconvenient. Making your food for the week in one afternoon can allow you more time for your other responsibilities.
So, instead of spending an additional ten to fifteen minutes of your lunch break cooking, you get to grab your food, simply reheat it, and enjoy.
HEALTHIER FOOD CHOICES
Your fitness goals aside, would you rather spend fifteen minutes whipping up stir-fried broccoli and chicken? Or would you rather just grab that chocolate bar from the vending machine a few feet from you?
You are likely to grab whatever food is readily at hand, especially when in a time crunch. But if you already have healthy meals prepared, you have less reasons to reach for anything else or call for take-out.
MORE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT YOU EAT
Knowledge is power when it comes to fitness, especially when it comes to nutrition. Think of meal prep as your way of taking control of your food and, in turn, being in control of your body.
Since you are the chef, you know exactly what goes into eating. You will know the exact portions, calories, and macros — all the information essential to a nutrition plan.
MEAL PREP FOR BEGINNERS: HOW TO CREATE QUICK AND HEALTHY MEALS FOR A WHOLE WEEK
Yes, a week. Not a month. Why? Because it is more manageable and prevents food waste.
Follow these simple steps to start preparing healthy meals ahead of time:
STEP ONE: MAKE A LIST OF THE HEALTHY STUFF YOU LOVE TO EAT
Healthy can mean different things, but the idea is, to begin with a list of things you like to eat. This will have you looking forward to actually eating healthy and make it something you can stick to for the long-term.
An easy way to determine “nutritiousness” is the Great-Grandma Test. Imagine taking a certain food product to your great-grandmother. If she can identify what it is, it should go into your meal prep recipes. If not, think of something else you like that will fit the bill.
STEP TWO: SCHEDULE AN ENTIRE DAY OR TWO OF MEAL PREP
Really, it shouldn’t take you more than a weekend. Most people, including seasoned athletes, prepare their meals on a Sunday. Why? Because it is the least busy day of the week.
It may be different for you, but the idea is to schedule your meal prep on a day when you are not working or training.
STEP THREE: SHOP AND KEEP IT SIMPLE
You are a beginner at meal prep, so you do not want to get caught up in the details of which fruit gives what micronutrient.
Keep things simple when you shop. Stock up on meats, vegetables, and natural carbohydrate sources (remember the Great-Grandma Test).
STEP FOUR: COOK
You want to prepare dishes that you actually like. Deprivation and willpower can only get you so far. Often off the rails.
The internet is a fountain of meal prep ideas. Go online to find that chicken meal prep recipe your friend has been raving about!
FINAL STEP: PACKAGE SENSIBLY AND STORE
Let’s talk about the environment for a second. The United States rivals countries like the United Kingdom and China when it comes to plastic disposal. So, do your part and choose reusable containers.
Also, most reusable containers like Tupperware do not get damaged from extended use.
EATING HEALTHY IS NOT AS DIFFICULT AS IT SEEMS
With meal prep, eating healthy will become a walk in the park for you.
All it takes is preparation and a willingness to put in the time on the weekend for the whole week.