In today’s world, most of us are constantly on the go with busy schedules. Due to this fast pace lifestyle, often times the meals we eat are whatever is available at the time, a grab and go packaged snack, or a meal which can be prepared in minutes from a box. This can lead to regretful food choices, high calorie intake, and lack of nutrient intake.
So how do we solve this problem without completely rearranging our schedule to include enough time to cook better meals? The answer is meal preparation. Meal prep is often associated with many forms of dieting, which has lead people to cast a negative light on this beneficial way of eating. In fact, meal prep is one of the best ways to help relieve the stress of figuring out what to eat for each meal each day, along with the stress that comes with the actual cooking process. Imagine a world of coming home from work each night and your dinner is waiting in the refrigerator. No prep time each night, no cooking time after a long day of work - you can just heat and eat!
Why You Should Meal Prep
The best part of meal preparation is the flexibility. Whether you consume a standard American diet, you are a vegetarian, or you are vegan- meal preparation works for everyone! You can also prepare as much food or as little food as you’d like.
This is great for portion control especially if you separate your meals into appropriate size containers. You can also prepare your food to give yourself variety. For example if you prepare different roasted vegetables, plain grilled chicken, or quinoa and keep these in your refrigerator separately, you can change it up for each meal with different spices and additions such as avocado. It is a simple way to give your diet variety while still covering as any nutrients as possible. Plus you avoid having to make several different recipes during prep time.
Most importantly, meal prep is incredibly beneficial for regulating what you are eating. It helps to avoid the fast food stops when there is not enough time to cook. Having these meals prepared will ensure you are consuming a well-balanced diet, and help you stay on track with your nutrition goals.
How to Have Weekly Meals Before Your Week Begins
Although meal preparation will create a stress-free week, this does require setting aside time on your weekends (or whichever day you schedule) to prepare these meals.
My best advice: plan ahead. Consider what recipes you would like to make and eat during your week. Create variety and consider the ingredients in each meal to ensure there is balance (protein, leafy greens, starch, etc.).
Once you have a plan, make your grocery list. Stick to this list to avoid buying unnecessary food items which may lead to unwanted snacking. Next, you can start cooking. Meal prep often means cooking large batches of food, but don’t worry about cooking too much. Your meals can be frozen, and often times this makes your future meal prep even easier because you can use these frozen foods.
Do yourself and your family a favor, invest in clear glass containers. This makes all foods visible in the refrigerator, and saves you from taking out each container to find the one you are looking for.
Why is Meal Preparation Beneficial?
You prepare what goes into your food, which means you control what goes into your body. Portion control is clear and easy. You will have food to come home to every night. You will have more time to relax or maybe fit in an extra training session. You will save money and waste less food: meal prep means leftovers are eaten.
Even better results from your training sessions at FitGuana! (Abs start in the kitchen)
By Deanna Virtue, FitGuana trainer & Certified Health Coach.