Whether or not you’re fully immersed in the fitness world, meal prepping is a perfect way to improve your health. Working out in a disciplined manner will eventually call for meal prepping as a way to stay on top of your fitness goals. We even see people not immersed in fitness prepping meals for their week to save time. When you prep your meals in one session, you’ll be amazed how much time it saves you. In this blog, we cover the health benefits and advantages to planning ahead in and outside of your kitchen.
The processes behind setting up your kitchen, cooking food, break down and cleaning takes at the very least one hour a day—usually more if you’re a parent with children. At minimum, you’re allocating 7 hours a week when you can better allocate your time. Meal prepping is broken down into five easy steps: planning (and frequency), shopping, cooking and packing.
1a. Planning—when you take the guess work out of your daily routine for meals, you put yourself ahead of the curve. Use a written schedule that you’ll stick to when it comes to packing your meals. What would you want to eat and when? Decide and write it down day-by-day. Imagine reaching into your fridge, snagging your “Monday-lunch” and “Monday-snack” and heading out. No deciding required and no packing necessary; you’ve already done it.
1b. Frequency — exercising will naturally speed up your metabolism. If you’re used to eating three big meals a day, prepare to adapt to 5-6 smaller meals a day. Smaller, more frequent meals are healthier for your body and releases steady energy throughout the day. If you’re new to meal prepping, you might start with 3 larger meals, but work to course-correct to 6 smaller meals a day.
2. Shopping— bring your written plan with you to the grocery store. Follow your list to the letter and do not deviate. By only buying necessities, you’ll save yourself time and money. Make your first trip your baseline: take note of how much of each food you buy, its pricing and how long it lasts. A good rule of thumb is to overbuy slightly to ensure you have enough food and to avoid another grocery store stop during the week.
3. Cooking—Cooking will be trial and error for the first two weeks. If you’re new to meal prepping, start simple and eat chicken every day as your protein with different sides or flavors for variety. Once you get the process down, add in steak, pork, or another protein. If you’re a seasoned cook, then dive right in. Another rule of thumb is to make sure your week’s worth of food is balanced between complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and vegetables.
4. Packing—Keep at least 7 days worth of Tupperware or glassware on hand for two meals out each day. Mark the days and meals such as “Monday-lunch” and “Tuesday-dinner.” Refrigerate the first half of the weeks’ food and freeze the second half to preserve its freshness until you’re ready to eat those meals. Get to eating what’s salvageable in your fridge and start fresh with a new list, new schedule and more time saved!