Getting in shape means cleaning up your diet and avoiding those menacing sugary temptations. This becomes a whole lot easier if you have your meals and snacks for each day pre-prepped. Whether you are trying to pack on muscle, or lean up, meal prepping is the most efficient way of controlling your diet and ensuring you are consuming the right foods at the right time.
HOW TO MEAL PREP MORE EFFICIENTLY
COUNT YOUR MACROS
Depending on your body goals, you will have your own specific carbohydrate, protein and fat measurements. It is essential you calculate exactly what food sources will give you those measurements. If you need to consume 160g of protein a day, what does that translate to in numbers of chicken breasts or tuna?
SUNDAY IS PREP DAY
Do all of your cooking for the week on a Sunday and pack it into portion-sized containers. This may seem like a hassle on a Sunday, but it means you don’t have to worry about cooking all week. This will reduce the temptation of grabbing a takeaway or going out for fast food just to avoid cooking in the evenings.
KEEP ENOUGH INGREDIENTS FOR A BACKUP
I do the same thing every week. I make my chicken salad on Sunday, and by Thursday, I am sick to death of eating the same thing. For this reason, I always keep enough ingredients to make a teriyaki salmon dish to give myself some variety and stay on track with my diet every day of the week.
Even if you are using the same base protein and vegetables, it is easy to get a little more variety of flavour by making alternative sauces. If you are making a chicken and vegetable dish, why not make a healthy masala sauce for Monday, a fresh tomato sauce for Tuesday, a lemon and herb sauce on Wednesday, a pesto based sauce on Thursday, and a Greek yoghurt based sauce for Friday. One dish, but you have a variety of distinct flavours.
USE FOODS THAT FREEZE WELL
Not everything retains its flavour once frozen, so make sure your ingredients will freeze well. Avoid watery vegetables like mashed potato and pumpkin, and starches like pasta. Instead use noodles, rice or quinoa, and broccoli, carrots and beans for vegetables.
BUY PRE-CUT FOODS
Your Sunday prep day is already enough of a chore, treat yourself by taking a couple of shortcuts and saving time. Buy pre-cut items where possible to save time on dicing and slicing.
INVEST IN GOOD CONTAINERS
With all of your weekly food sitting in containers, you don’t want budget containers that split or leak. You want to keep your food fresh, so the container should be totally airtight. Equally, if you are carrying it around all day in your bag, you don’t want the smell to follow you around or a leaky container ruining important school or work documents. Get good containers, you are going to need them.
MAKE A GROCERY LIST AND STICK TO IT
If I am planning a dish to make for the week, the last thing I need on a Sunday when the shops close early is to find I am missing a key ingredient. Make a list for the week and stick to it. Not only is this more practical, but it helps fight off those moments of weakness in the supermarket when you are staring down the chocolate aisle.
With meal prep, the more preparation you put in, the more you will get out. I found that once I had prepped every meal of the day, including pre-portioned bags of nuts as a snack, not only did I have more time to relax in the week, but I was rarely hungry in the middle of the day and was much less tempted by cakes and cookies lying around the office.
Take these tips on board to streamline and enhance your meal prep and keep striving to reach your goals.