3 Benefits to Meal Prepping:
Ever feel like you don’t want to cook because of the time spent in front of the stove? We’ve all been there. Fortunately there is a solution that can help you save time and that won’t leave you hungry. Meal prepping is a great way to save you from spending hours every single day in the kitchen. There are a few different ways to meal prep. A simple way to start out could be to pick a day (for me it is Sunday) and pick either a side dish or a main entrée that you can include and make many meals out of. For example; you may cook up a few chicken breasts and then over the course of a few days use them in different meals. This could include: chicken and rice, chicken and broccoli, chicken and a sweet potato. Whatever the mix, it will save you time having everything plotted out and just having to quickly throw in your protein or your side.
Not wanting to cook tends to lead to unhealthy food choices. Think about it, you had a long day; you get home and still have to cook. This may lead to you grabbing that frozen pizza or that tub of ice cream or worse, going out to eat! Eating out can be very expensive when you have to do it frequently. With prepping ahead of time, this will help you stay on track budget wise with fewer trips to your local burger joint or I-hop.
It is just common sense that eating more healthy foods will help you feel better. Don’t believe me? Try eating clean for a week and then making a trip to mc Donald’s for a Big Mac. You see, our bodies aren’t made to be hooked on over processed greasy foods. These foods are more of a convenience factor. It has been said you are what you eat, in my opinion this is somewhat true. With incorporating healthier foods into your daily diet, your body can get the nutrients it needs to run efficiently, but wait, there is more! With eating smaller portions more frequent throughout the day, your metabolism can increase and you can actually burn more calories. I invite you to try meal prepping. After all, our health is most important for us to be the best we can be!
3 Techniques to Help You Meal Prep:
Commit to grocery shopping:
Many people start out trying to meal prep with food they have around the house. Spaghetti o’s and pasta in a Tupperware container are not much better than your trip to a restaurant. You may start your meal prepping journey by heading to the grocery store to pick up some fresh food more suitable to meet your goals. Stay away from processed and canned food and try to shop the perimeter of the store to best accomplish that.
Keep it simple:
Let’s face it, we all love gourmet meals. With food prepping you are going to want to keep it simple with your food choices. You have your three food groups of Protein, Carbohydrates, and fats. Pick foods that you can prepare and store for up to three days that will still be tasty to eat.
See below for a few ideas for each food group!
Protein: Chicken breast, lean ground beef, pork, steak, lean lunch meat (turkey breast, ham, or roast beef- Usually pre-packaged)
Carbohydrates: Oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain tortillas (perfect for a clean made burrito) and wheat or whole grain bread.
Healthy fats: Avocados, Almonds, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil and coconut oil
Pick a day:
Having to make meals every morning for the day ahead may set you up for failure in the meal prepping world. The best way to successfully prep is to pick a certain day of the week that you can devote a bit of time to cooking meals for at least 3 days out. Like I said above with keeping the choices simple, have everything picked out ahead of time. I usually pick Sunday since it is easiest and I have a bit of time to devote towards cooking and prepping my week intake. Remember you will want to prepare your protein, carb and fat choices in larger quantities and transfer them into smaller containers for the week ahead. An example of this could be making 5 chicken breast at once paired with a large portion of mixed veggies in the skillet and then divided them up in your set portions for your meals.
by Dustin Holler, CPT, CES