Meal prep is a lifesaver.
It allows you to curate meals in advance, eat healthy and portion your nutrients and calories without worry. It’s effective and helps you stop worrying about what you need to eat every single meal.
If you’re investing in a home-gym, you’re likely already looking for every time-saving, versatile tactic to make the most of your time. From dumbbells to make your workouts effective, without sacrificing space, to reading these articles to make sure you’ve researched the best solution, this is the next step in making better use of your time.
Of course, it takes extensive planning, hours of your day and a truly ridiculous number of containers. But it saves you from having to decide between fish and chicken, or rice and couscous or even if you should bother eating – which you should, or you’ll overeat in your next meal!
Naturally, depending on your fitness goals, the foods you should consume change. In this article, we can’t quite cover every single nutritional plan. That’s more the expertise of a nutritionist or food scientist. Instead, we have some tips on how you might go about planning your own meals.
First, you should base your meals on what foods you actually like.
There’s no point forcing yourself to consume foods you hate just to bulk up or slim down. For instance, I despise eggplant. Despite being nutrient-dense and super versatile, I replace them with mushrooms or zucchini, to mostly the same effect.
If you engage in a meal plan, usually it’s not just a short-term thing. You want it to become routine, something that you don’t have to think about as much. If you start hating the foods in your meals, then the negative association stretches to the plan, and will quickly put you off.
Eat what you enjoy!
Second, always have other options or ‘emergency snacks’.
It’s the middle of the afternoon. You’ve already had lunch. But you’re hungry. You’re tired, and you need more energy. You stare at the delicious salmon in the dinner container in the fridge. You shouldn’t. But… you could always go across the road to the local 7-Eleven.
Sometimes you just can’t help the sudden craving. It’s always good to have your own snacks on hand that you know are healthy or follow your meal plan. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. From trail mix, an apple, crackers, nuts or even a smoothie.
Keep a snack on you!
Third, don’t be afraid to break up the routine.
Often, choosing a theme for a week is easier when planning and buying. It breaks up the monotony, and lets you try new things. But don’t feel like that’s the only changes you can make.
A key example is when choosing between three meals or six smaller meals.
For some, it’s easier to create three meals per day, of mild complexity. Meanwhile, for others, (like me), where cooking isn’t a natural talent, I’m more inclined to creating six small, super simple meals.
I might have a boiled egg between breakfast and lunch, or maybe small bag of nuts or small fruits with yogurt between lunch and dinner. If we’ve made a big dinner the night before, I’ll bring the leftovers for lunch and save tomorrow’s container for another day. That way I can stay on track, reduce waste, and try different things.
Mix it up!
Fourth, know what to avoid.
Cooking is creative. From trialling new recipes, or recreating your family’s special pasta, there are a lot of dishes out there. However, some dishes are just not good for you. I hate to say it, but ice-cream and fried foods are just the beginning.
So, when planning your meals, know what foods you shouldn’t have (or very rarely, at least) will give you room to explore your tastes.
You don’t necessarily need to measure every single milligram of fats, calories and sugars in each veggie, meat, and cheese, but knowing what foods to avoid or go ham on will help when building your plan.
Some foods to avoid include artificially sweetened soft drinks, processed food, pre-made salads and fast foods (fried foods specifically).
Finally, you’re not alone.
There’s a lot of mobile apps, techniques, nutritional articles, and dieticians who know a whole lot more than me. A quick Google search will give you tips and tricks on what foods are better frozen, the pros and cons of batch cooking over individual preparation, and millions of recipes you can try.
Not to mention that most of it is free.
If you are up for spending money, you can also try some programs like Hello Fresh or Marley’s Spoon and reuse the recipes they provide.
There’s a lot of ways to go about meal preparation, so keep an open mind and go wild.