Meal prepping is not just for bodybuilders. Really, it means you are someone who plans your meals out for the week ahead. You either prepare them in advance or are prepared to make them with ingredients you brought with specific meals in mind. This eliminates the guessing game of eating and is no different from anything else in life: without a goal, you won't know what to aim for. You get stronger by having a workout plan with measurable goals. You get healthier by knowing what you're eating and how much and a calorie range in mind.
By now you've probably realized that you can't out train a bad diet. You may also be trying to make gradual small changes to said diet. You may not know where to start or what to cook. Meal prepping to me used to mean brown rice, chicken, and broccoli every single day. This is not a way to live and definitely not realistically. We will take a common sense approach to this as the average person lives a busy life and doesn't have time to make a complicated meal. Here are some of the benefits of meal prepping:
By making a list of what you eat and only eating that you will eliminate unnecessary snacking, and money spent on things you don't need.
Some people love cooking, it's their favorite part of the day. This was not the case for me. I loved my time more than anything so cooking was what I looked forward to least. I prefer to set aside time on Sunday, watch a podcast or show, and get my cooking out of the way for the week. Coming home from work and not having to stress about what I was going to eat was liberating.
By cooking your own food you will know how much you're eating. There is no added sugar or fat. If you want to have a snack or eat out one day you can figure out where to cut calories from your normal meals and fit it in.
Neat-o, But How Do I Do It?
Simple, you find easy whole foods that can be made quickly, or in bulk. You follow a simple rule I tell all my clients. Each meal should have a lean protein, healthy fat, and some kind of fruit or vegetable. Breakfast can be made quickly in the morning or overnight. Lunch, unless you're eating a deli meat sandwich, will also need to be made in advance. Dinner is the most complicated meal and one I focus on the most when meal prepping!
BUT, Make Sure You Know Your TDEE
TDEE means (total daily energy expenditure). It tells you how many calories your body burns each day. Make sure you know this so you know how many calories all your meals should be. This can be found here.
Okay, Now Show Me Some Meals...
Oatmeal + granola + fruit
Omelette + Veggies + Meat
Smoothie Bowl + granola + chia seeds
Rice Cake + Banana + Almond Butter
Mixed Greens Salad + Chicken + Sauce
Ground Turkey + Rice + Side of Asperagus + Sauce
Lasagna with Ground Beef + Cauliflower + Marinara Sauce + Turkey Pepperoni + Cheese
Turkey Wrap with Deli Turkey Meat + Tortilla + Hummus + Spinach
Stir-fry with Vegetables + Chicken + Sauce
Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef + Rice + Onions + Marinara Sauce
Chicken Soup with Chicken + Potatoes + Carrots + Broth
Salmon + Sweet Potato + Green beans
Carrots + Ranch
Banana + Peanut Butter + Rice Cake
Well Now What???
Now you get to work. Set aside time during the weekend to go shopping. Only by what you need. Prepare your dinner and lunch for the week. Place it in containers, and go to sleep ready for the week. You don't have to cook boring food. Get creative here, this is meant to be fun! Just remember the magic rule: Lean protein, healthy fat, and a fruit or vegetable. Of course your can always reach out to me if you need help setting up an eating routine that works for you!