Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Meal Prepping 101
Meal prepping is not just for serious or elite fitness professionals. People use meal prepping for a number of reasons ranging from weight loss, weight or muscle gain, budgeting and time purposes. Planning and preparing your meals for the week to come is the ideal way to stay on top of your nutrition, never having to worry about what you're going to eat, which often leads to poor food choices. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get into a routine, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner. Here is some basic tips to help you get started with food prepping.
First, let me discuss the key benefits to food prepping so you'll be convinced it's a great idea:
1. Keep You on Track: Meal prepping will take the guess work out of what you will eat for each meal. When you're busy at work and you have to rush in a quick bite to eat, it's easy just to grab something fast and inexpensive. Unfortunately this typically means fast food, something unhealthy from the cafeteria or out of the vending machine. Always having healthy meals and snacks ready for you will help keep you on track with your nutrition goals.
2. Save Time: Food prep day will be a little time consuming, especially in the beginning when you're getting in to the swing of things. But it will surely make up for it during the week. Rather than having to scramble to get meals together each morning, afternoon and even evening, you will have everything you need ready to go in your refrigerator.
3. Save Money: Buying and preparing everything you need for the week in one day will help cut down or even out, those weekday trips to the grocery store. It will also keep you from going out to lunch or buying snacks during work. All those trips eventually add up so having food ready for you will certainly help save you some money each week.
4. It's Fun: The task may seem daunting at first, having to spend a couple of your weekend hours making food. But believe it or not, it will actually become quite fun. It will give you the opportunity to learn about proper nutrition, try new recipes and even get your family involved! Put some comfy clothes on, turn on some music and make a party out of it! Feel free to even dance around your kitchen while cooking!
So now you're convinced you are going to start weekly food prepping, here are a few items you will want to make sure you have ready:
1. Tupperware Containers: Have some large enough for whole meals, as well and medium and small sized containers for smaller meals and snacks. Be sure to use BPA-free containers that can be put in the microwave and dishwasher. Be sure to have enough to fit a week's worth of meals.
2. Recipes/Menus: Make a menu of what meals you would like for the week. Consider trying a new recipe each week so you do not get bored with your meals. Pinterest is one of my favorite resources for new and healthy recipes.
3. Measuring Cups/Spoons: Portion control is essential for proper nutrition and weight management. In order to keep portions in check, you will want to make sure you have measuring cups and spoons.
4. Food Scale: Another great way to stay on target with portion size, especially with foods like meat, is a food scale. This is optional, but certainly helpful.
5. The Food: Each week, once you have planned your menu, make a list of everything you will need to purchase. Compile a grocery and be sure to buy everything at once so that you will be prepared. There are several items you can buy in bulk to save money and time.
Now you're ready to get started food prepping, here are some things to consider:
1. Chose the Day: Pick a day when you have a good solid hour or two to devote to cooking and storing food. I typically do my food prepping Sunday afternoon while my sons nap, then finish up the rest of my prepping on Monday during nap time. It can be time consuming but systematizing your cooking will certainly help.
2. Plan Your Attack: This is where a system comes into play. Obviously some things will require more prep than others. You can plan out your prepping so that you can get several things done at one time. For example, you can get your meat baking in the oven, while steaming your veggies and boiling rice on the stove top, all while measuring out snacks. Multitasking will help cut down on the time.
2. Keep It Simple: Especially in the beginning, you will want to make sure to not overwhelm yourself with tons of new foods and recipes. Stick to the basics, lean meat, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Consider one new recipe each week and rotate your meals so you do not get too bored with your food.
3. Trial and Error: This experience will continually be trial and error, especially initially. You will learn what works best for you, what recipes you like and don't like and how to go about getting it all together. Keep an open mind and keep trying new things. Before you know it, you will have the whole process down to a science and be a food prepping pro!
4. Don't Give Up Too Soon: Do not get discouraged if struggle in the beginning. Like I said, it will be time consuming at first. If you're not trying new recipes, you will get bored. On the flip side, you may get tired of new recipes not working out. Hang in there, you'll get the hang of it and it will most certainly pay off if you keep with it.
5. Don't Stop On Holidays: Do not let travel, company and holidays sabotage your healthy eating. When your schedule is out of sorts, it may be difficult to find the time to keep up with your food prepping but do the best you can to try and keep on track. It's actually even more so important during these hectic times to make sure you have a nutritional plan to help from overeating, poor food choices and to ward off those extra pounds that often creep up. If you do find yourself off track, don't beat yourself up, get right back to up when you return to your routine.
If you have additional questions regarding food prepping, nutrition and fitness, feel free to contact Coach Christina directly. Be sure to follow Christina on Instagram and CWSC Performance on Facebook for more nutrition and fitness tips, as well as motivational quotes!