How to Simplify Meal Prep for Healthy Living
Successful Lifestyle Changes Start with Planning
Making lifestyle changes can seem overwhelming, and most people don’t know where to start. Hiring a personal trainer with a nutrition certification to help with initial planning will make a big difference in your ability to set up a successful workout and nutrition plan. Just remember that a big part of your success is ensuring that you are following a convenient meal prep program, so you don’t end up feeling stressed out and de-motivated.
Once you have met with your Personal Trainer and you have developed a plan that works with your lifestyle and healthy living goals, there are several steps to bring your program to fruition.
Here is the Beginner’s Guide to Simplify Meal Prep for Healthy Living
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
The number one step in learning how to simplify meal prep is making a schedule and sticking to it! Establish how many meals you need to prepare ahead of time and whether they will need to be quick fix meals or those you can spend more time on. Creating a meal schedule that lines up with your work and gym schedule will help you to stay on track and decrease frustration. You will need pre-made dinners or crockpot dinners when you are going to the gym after work.
Create a Nutritionally Balanced Meal Plan
The goal of creating a menu is to ensure you are consistently making good choices. Creating nutritionally balanced meals can be tricky; ensure you have someone with knowledge about macronutrients that will help with your menu. The appropriate balance of macronutrients will depend on your goals, current activities, body type and health conditions.
Making a List and Checking it Twice – Have a Plan
Once you have made your meal plan, make a quick check through your kitchen to see what you already have on hand, then put the rest on an organized list. Make sure you put everything into categories that make sense in relation to how your grocery store is set up, so you get in and get out quickly! Wandering around the grocery store, especially when you are hungry, leads to impulsive purchases.
Choose ingredients that are readily shared across several different recipes to make your grocery trip less onerous. Your recipes should have similar main ingredients. Make sure you purchase various spices and herbs to add some complexity and different flavours to your meals. Boredom with your menu can lead to unwanted trips to fast food restaurants that will have you falling off of the proverbial wagon!
Make sure you have a definite place in your kitchen where you have your menu posted, especially if you are sharing the meal preparation with your significant other or family members. Pre-planning your weekly meals will also allow you to create a clear grocery list and avoid the pitfalls of purchasing food that won’t help you to achieve your goals.
Pick a time to go to the grocery store when you have time to take food home and start to prepare it before you put it away.
Meal Preparation and Storage
When you get your fresh vegetables home, wash and dry them, then chop them up or seal them in the appropriate bins to keep them fresh and ready to use.
It’s always good to have some rice pre-cooked for the days when your time is tight especially when you are using the whole grain variety which can take up to 45 minutes to cook.
Use your imagination with your recipes, take a family pack of chicken breasts (or thighs and legs) and season and roast them ahead of time so you have a solid protein source to throw into salads, stews or soups! It’s also a great idea to marinate and freeze some of your protein to make sure you have pre-built-in flavour. Fish is usually best when cooked fresh for taste and texture, however, the good thing about fish is that it cooks up quickly!
Many meals such as casseroles, stews and soups can also be made ahead of time and put in the freezer. These “make-ahead” meals can be pulled out in a pinch, if you know your day is going to be tight.
When planning these “make-ahead” ingredients, proper storage is a must to ensure food safety. Purchase glass containers with lids that seal entirely, plastic can be used, but is not preferred, and it must be BPA-free.
When You Simplify Meal Prep, Success Follows
Taking some time to simplify meal preparation increases your chances of succeeding with your goals immensely! You need to realize that you can’t out train a bad diet! Just remember a little time out of your weekend preparing your meals, means that the rest of your week will run smoothly!
Arm yourself with knowledge! Infofit has a 24- hour online Sports Nutrition Course which is perfect for anyone who wants to learn 110 fundamental sports nutrition principles essential to achieving and maintaining optimum health, performance and longevity. This course will clarify many of the conflicting nutrition information that currently circulates the health and fitness industry. You will feel empowered with the most up-to-date knowledge to make better food and supplement choices.
Cathie Glennon – BCRPA/SFL, Rehabilitation Specialist, Pharm. Tech (Level 3)