Getting serious about getting in shape means one thing: meal prep! Preparing your food ahead of time is your secret weapon to losing weight and sticking to your diet. We’re going to show you what this means and give you some healthy meal ideas to get you started.
Most of us have cooked up a big batch of some kind of meal or other, so you’re all familiar with the principles of meal prep. The main difference is, instead of cooking all your ingredients together, you’re going to cook everything separately. Why is this important? Because it’s a lot easier to count your macronutrients and eat balanced meals throughout the day. Which brings us to the first rule in meal prep.
Create A Meal Plan
Before you set off for the grocery store, make sure you know exactly what foods you need to buy. This involves creating a meal plan that covers each day of the week. This is probably the hardest part and it will help you to work with a nutritionist and a fitness tracker like MyFitnessPal.
In the meantime, here’s a tip to get you started. Break down your food into macronutrients and choose which foods fall into each category. Here’s an example:
- Proteins: eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, almond milk, Greek yogurt
- Carbs: whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes
- Fats: nuts, avocado, flax seed, extra virgin olive oil
- Sugars: blueberries, bananas, strawberries
- Veggies: cucumber, spinach, green beans, asparagus, carrots, red and green peppers, onions
Cooking in Batches
Once you’ve bought all your food, the cooking and prepping begins! The easiest way to batch cook your food is to throw everything in the oven. Place your protein on a cooking sheet and bake it at 350 degrees for half an hour to 45 minutes. You can add your sweet potatoes and cook them at the same time, although they will take longer. Veggies like asparagus can also be roasted in the oven, but others like spinach are best eaten raw or boiled.
Meal prep also involves preparing fruits and vegetables, ready to eat straight out of the fridge. This saves time on cleaning and chopping during the week when you’re super busy.
Once your food is all cooked and prepared, you’re now ready to start creating your meals. Here’s a very basic but easy-to-follow meal plan:
Breakfast (Meal 1)
milled flax seed
Mid-Morning Snack (Meal 2)
hard boiled eggs
Lunch (Meal 3)
Afternoon Snack (Meal 4)
Dinner – Turkey Fajita (Meal 5)
lean ground turkey
low fat cheese
red and green peppers
whole wheat wrap
Snack (Meal 6)
Preparing Your Meals
To give you an example of how easy this is, let’s look at meal 5 and turkey fajitas. You’ve just got home from a busy day at work and would like nothing more than to sit down to a home-cooked meal. It’s easy! Heat up a pan and stir fry your red and green peppers and onion that you’ve already sliced and diced. Add four ounces of your cooked, lean ground turkey and cook for a couple of minutes. Then take your fajita or wrap, add the meat and veggies, and some already grated cheese and chopped tomatoes and you have a healthy meal ready to eat in about 10 minutes flat.
You see how easy this is? When you have all your food prepared ahead of time, it’s super quick and easy to throw together your meals, and that includes the ones you’ll be eating away from home. With meal prep, packing your meals and taking them with you will ensure you stay on track and meet those fitness goals every day. It’s the only way to succeed and stay consistent. So give meal prep a try and stay true to your New Year’s fitness goals. You can do it!