The overarching concern regarding meal prep is the time required to build out a week’s worth of food. With our current home restrictions, there’s no better time to stay the course and prepare clean meals to hit your fitness goals.
We will provide a beginner’s guide to prepping your meals during these uncertain times of isolation. One thing is certain, there’s no better time to begin learning how to meal prep.
Ever wondered why you reach for a dirty 3 pm snack after a 5:30 am gym session, healthy breakfast, balanced lunch and an incredible display of will power all day?
Decision fatigue is a real thing and choosing to give in to temptation isn’t anything to do with your willpower it’s just human nature. We make 35,000 decisions a day and eventually, our brain becomes exhausted and starts looking for shortcuts, much like the cheat codes we’ve all used in ‘Grand Theft Auto’ or the ‘Sims’. As a result of our mental energy depletion, our brain leads us to act impulsively. So now the afternoon snack and post-dinner cupboard raid have been explained, the logical way to keep our macros on-track is to minimise the decisions we need to make when hungry and fatigued with meal-prep.
Why Meal Prep?
This doesn’t have to mean steamed veggies and rice, but by all means, if that’s your thing you do you boo. You can meal-prep literally anything and what better time to do this that in isolation. By planning your meals and sticking to your macros you will reach your goal of losing, gaining or maintaining body mass. Regardless of what your goal is, use an app such as “My Fitness Pal”, to determine what and how much you should be eating to get there. Meal prep is the superhero that will combat snacking and mindless eating. Take the what? and how much? decision away and only make the when? And pull out the pre-prepared masterpiece your better self-created. Let’s be real it’s easier to stay on track knowing you have a delicious meal on its way.
- Be prepared, don’t walk around the shops or farmer’s markets with all of Bieber’s intentions only to come away with a box full of veggies, but nothing to cook up in the kitchen.
- Map out your menu, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks! Let’s be realistic here you can’t forget the snacks.
- Include Lean protein; animal or plant-based, complex carbs and healthy fats to keep you feeling fuller for longer in every meal. Yes, Avo on toast will work just have it pre-portioned and ready to go in the AM.
- Keep it simple but not boring make the foods you love and want to eat and remember anything can be meal prepped.
- Batch cook a variety of cuisine so you’re not stuck with the same boring broccoli and rice abomination week on week. If that’s your thing by all means, but remember most things freeze!
- Let your food cool, but not too much to avoid condensation and a soggy mess in the container for future you to deal with.
- Be smart and buy frozen veg and canned goods to prep week on week, fresh isn’t always best, think soggy spinach.
- Take it as seriously as you gym work-out, blast the bangers and don’t stop until it’s done remember the 80:20 rule, you only get out what you put in!
Pro’s of Meal Prep
- You’ll have more decision memory for other things, work, study, Netflix, Instagram…
- Stick to your fitness goals.
- Cooking is therapeutic, for some and an afternoon in the kitchen solo, with a friend or partner can be a productive way to pass time and set yourself up for success.
- A couple of hours once a week will free up the rest of the week’s evenings.
- It’s cost-effective, even if you’re buying the best organic ingredients it’s more than likely you’ll save a bunch of money bypassing the limp lettuce and ghastly greek salad on your lunch break.
Con’s of Meal Prep
- They say it takes money to make money and the same goes for time, in that, it takes time to make time and meal-prep will cost you time. You’ll get it back and then some by not cooking from scratch. Long-term you’ll spend less time searching for the next fad and perhaps less time at the gym as you’ve got your nutrition under control and well nutrition is everything…well 80% if you go by the 80:20 philosophy.
What you’ll need other than the ingredients themselves
- Containers, depending on your budget glass, aluminium or plastic, use what works for you and with the microwave. Get creative and use what you’ve got; think jars for snacks, overnight oats and salad.
- Recipes, with the internet every person and their dog having a cookbook, there’s no shortage no matter your dietary requirements and preference.
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring jug
- Kitchen scale (not essential but takes the weight off your shoulders with portions.)
- Mixing bowls
- Baking tray/dishes
- Non-stick frying pan
- Chopping board
- Kitchen knives