It’s the beginning of the year and millions of people have made the resolution to start eating healthier but don’t know where to start. One of the most important things I tell my clients is the importance of meal prepping. Most of us lead pretty busy lives and don’t always time to cook so we end up grabbing something on the way and that something usually isn’t good for you.
Many may ask what meal prep is. Meal prep is when you spend one or two days a week cooking and packing all of your meals into containers to be eaten over the next few days. What you prep is up to you. Some people want to prep all of the meals while others may only prep a few meals.
- Plan it. If you aren’t on a meal plan set by a trainer or a nutritionist you must make one on your own. Having a list of all the ingredients you need for the upcoming weeks meals is very important to make sure you have everything you need. It’s easy to get distracted at the grocery store so you could end up getting things you don’t need or forgetting crucial ingredients to your prep. Most people plan to cook 3-4 days at a time because it’s a little easier to cook and maintain the shelf life of the food. Make sure you plan for time to grocery shop and cook so you aren’t rushing through it.
- Prep it. Cut your time by cooking a few different items at a time. Instead of baking chicken then your sweet potatoes separately put them all in the oven together. While the big items are baking you can chop fruits and veggies for your breakfast, snacks or to cook with your meals. Having a large space like a table or counter with your plastic containers ready to fill when the food is ready is a great way to cut time. Also remember seasonings are your friend! Healthy food does not have to be bland. Go easy on the salt, all you need is a dash or two; a lot of people tend to over salt their food when they don’t have to. Seasonings like garlic, onion powder, paprika, black/crushed pepper, thyme, cumin and others are a great way to get yummy, flavorful foods without the extra sodium.
- Pack it. Once the food is ready put it in your containers and you’re set. All you have to do from there is eat your meals on time. Grab an insulated lunch bag or cooler bag to keep your meals fresh during the day. Planning and prepping will mean nothing if you didn’t bring what you packed. Bringing your meals with you is the only way to guarantee you are going to eat what’s on your plan.
There you have it! I hope this helps you understand meal prepping a little better and hopefully you implement it into your routine even if it’s only a few meals like breakfasts and snacks. Every little bit helps and these small steps will yield big return in regards to your health and fitness goals. Happy New Years!