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You may have heard the phrase “you can’t outwork a poor diet” before. This is true. So many people waste hours at the gym giving 110%, but then turn around and eat crap all day. If this is you, it’s time to put an end to it. So, what, exactly, is meal prepping and why is it important? Meal prepping is simply preparing your meals in advance. This makes your meals as readily available as fast food, but allows you much healthier options. Meal prep is important and beneficial for many reasons such as:
- It sets you up for success in the gym, for both fuel and recovery
- You will eat healthier throughout the week
- Planning your meals will save you money since you will have a list of exactly what you need when you go grocery shopping. No more wondering and purchasing random things because you might want to eat them
- Prepping in advance (I recommend twice a week) will open time in the evenings that you might usually spend cooking dinner and cleaning up.
- Portion control! Meal prep often helps learn to develop better portion control. Having containers with set amounts of food and macro nutrients in them doesn’t allow you to over indulge with serving after serving. Pack up your food and eat what you have packed for yourself
Start by choosing which day or days you want to do your meal prepping. Personally, I prefer to do Sundays and Wednesdays, but everyone is different. If you are just looking for somewhere to start and get your feet wet with meal prepping, try just Sundays or one day a week so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Also, learn how to multitask. You can have something in the oven and a couple different things on the stovetop at the same time. As trainers, we constantly hear, “I don’t have the time.” We don’t know anyone who isn’t busy, yet many people make the sacrifice for the couple hours, one or two days per week. Maybe this means staying up an extra hour. Maybe this means getting off your Facebook account for a bit. If you want it, you need to make it happen. It doesn’t take endless hours to prepare food. Each meal doesn’t need to be a recipe. Season chicken and cook in one pan and heat up some veggies in the same pan. During that time, cook some lean (93/7) ground chicken or turkey in another. You can even be baking some sweet potatoes while this is all going on.
It’s also important to take some time before you go to the grocery store to sit down and choose which meals you want to make. Start by choosing breakfasts, lunches, or dinners. Browse through some healthy recipes. Paleo recipes tend to be a good go-to since they use only clean ingredients. Remember, dinners usually make great lunches the next day and that eliminates needing to make one meal.
Once you choose some meals, make a good grocery list and head to the store.
Need help? Iron-Oak Fitness has certified nutrition coaches that can guide you to make choices specific to your goals and put you on the right track.
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