One of the biggest challenges our clients face when trying to lose weight is nutrition. You know what to eat and what portions you should be having, but in practice for most people, life sort of gets in the way. Sound familiar? When life gets busy, our go-to solution for food is to grab what’s easy, which is usually fast food, take out, or whatever junk is available (i.e. pastries at work). There’s a better way. That is meal prep. Meal prep will not only save several hours of time during the week, but will take the thinking out of healthy eating so you can relax AND stick to your nutrition plan every day. In this blog, we’ve outlined all the steps you’ll need to get started with meal prep.
Step 1: Plan Your Meals
Take out a notebook and write down three go-to options you can use for each meal, including breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. Each meal should include
- Carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, grains, and starches)
- Protein (meat, dairy, alternatives like soy)
- Healthy Fat (nuts, oils, etc.)
Make sure that these are mostly whole foods instead of processed items, which tend to contain a ton of preservatives and are often high in calories for their serving size. And don’t forget to include how much of each item you’ll need for your meal. To find out how much total calories/macros you’ll need each day, try an online calorie counter such as MyFitnessPal or a macro calculator like IIFYM. Once you have your list solidified, choose which ones you’ll eat for every meal next week.
Pro-tip: Aim to have one to two servings of fruit or veggies at each meal in place of or mixed in with heavier carbs (such as breads or pastas), so you can enjoy bigger portions, get plenty of nutrients and fiber, and reducing the chances of over-indulging in high calorie options.
Step 2: Create Your Grocery List
Base your grocery list off of what you need for the meals you selected. Make sure to include the main ingredients as well bulk pantry items, such as spices, cooking oil, etc. Then, once you’ve completed it, take a picture with your phone just in case. The last thing you want is to arrive at the store only to realize you forgot your list at home….doh! Been there 😉
Step 3: Go Shopping
If possible, go shopping before the weekend hits so you have everything available when the time comes to prep. It’s important that you
- Eat before you shop – Avoid going to the grocery store when you’re hungry and more likely to grab an item to curb your cravings, which is usually something sugary like a candy bar.
- Stick to your list – Deviating from the list can throw you off your plan when the time comes to prep or eat your meal, so leave the “just in case” items (like that frozen pizza) behind.
Pro Tip: Shop on a weekday morning. Most people are at work, so the markets are free and clear for you to run in and out in no time!
Step 4: Prep Your Meals
Set aside a block of at least 3 hours to prepare your meals. This will include slicing, chopping, cooking, and portioning. A few tips:
- Prep for your most challenging meals – If you’re good with lunch, but exhausted come dinner time, prep your dinners. If breakfasts are generally rushed, prep those.
- Cook protein for the entire week – Protein is easy to store. Just make sure to have freezer bags handy if you end up with extra.
- Portion right away – divide out your week’s worth of meals in containers that are ready to grab and go. Have measuring cups and a scale on hand to make sure the numbers are on point.
Three hours might sound like a lot in one day, but trust us when we say that it will save you an hour or two each day. For more suggestions on meal prep, check out our Digital Learning Experience with Eric from Lean Feast on YouTube.
It’s time to take responsibility for your eating habits. If you commit yourself to mastering meal prep now, you’ll be setting yourself up for success for the future. Can you commit to starting right away? Let us know in the comments.
Stronger for Today,
The Method3 Fitness Team
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The Method3 Fitness blog is updated weekly. All content is designed to improve the way you move, eat, and think so you can achieve your goals and live stronger for today. Check back here each week and LIKE our Fan Page, to stay up to date on the latest tips, strategies and methods to get fit, lose fat, and build confidence. Ready to get started with us? Click here for a complimentary goal strategy session!