Mastering Meal Prep and Portion Control
Tips for Portion Control
When taking on a new way of eating or perhaps even a weight loss diet, the one thing that holds us back from successfully sticking with it, is cooking, portion control and meal prep. Having been a professional chef for 20 years, meal prep and planning was my main focus, and to say that I am efficient at it is a bit of an understatement.
Portion Control – What are Portion Sizes?
When you think about portion sizes think about what is the correct portion for you, and the easiest way to do that is to use your hand as a measuring tool.
Here are some simple guidelines for portion control to help you remember what will work for you.
- Fruit and Vegetables: 1 portion = 1 fist
- Lean Protein: 1 portion = 1 palm
- Whole grains: beans, legumes: 1 portion = 1/2 fist
- Healthy fats: 1 portion = 1 thumb
Meal Prep and Planning
Preparing your meals for the week can take a full day for some; so to help stream line that process, I have created a list of how I prepare several dishes at the same time.
- Plan your meals, and do all the shopping.
- When you are ready to get to the cooking, have the recipes handy and all ingredients on hand.
- Take all the raw ingredients for each recipe, and divide into separate piles.
- Any proteins (like a roast or turkey etc) that will require longer cooking times, can be prepped and put into the oven.
- Wash, chop and put your veggies into separate bowls for each recipe.
- Marinade, or prep any proteins you may want to prepare and put them back into the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
- Now begin the cooking process for each dish. If you do not have enough burners for all the dishes that you want to prepare, place anything that is not being cooked back into the fridge until you are ready to cook it.
- Once each dish is prepared, cool it thoroughly then separate into storage containers for freezing or for later in the week.
Multi-tasking Meal Prep Not Your Thing?
If prepping several meals at once is not your thing, but are still looking to get ahead with your prep work, consider some of these options.
- When slicing cucumber and tomatoes to snack on, slice some extra and keep them in the fridge for tomorrow or the next day.
- When you are washing lettuce for today’s salad, wash and dry a bit extra for tomorrow night’s dinner.
- When packing your lunch, gather all the ingredients for a salad and layer them in a jar, beginning with the dressing, followed by the veggies, nuts, cheese and finish off with the lettuce. When you are ready to eat, simply give the jar a shake and your salad is ready to go.
Practice Not Perfection
Don’t let meal planning and food prep get in the way of your progress. Try some of my tested methods listed above to help you stick to a healthier way of eating.
Written by Lisa Gervais, Infofit Instructor and Personal Trainer