It’s no secret that the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts partake in the world of meal prepping, and many confess that this is the secret weapon behind their jaw-dropping body transformations. Meal prep is without a doubt one of the most reliable ways to consistently shed pounds, week after week.
What is meal prep? It is a method of batch cooking your meals once or twice a week, portioning meals into Tupperware and stacking it all conveniently in your fridge. Every meal and snack is pre-planned, pre-packed, and ready to be eaten on-the-go.
This method works for delivering major fat loss results for a multitude of reasons:
- It eliminates mindless eating.
- It ensures that every bite is approved.
- It controls calorie and nutritional counts.
- It plans when the nutrients will be consumed.
In other words, every single factor is taken into consideration to produce optimal levels of fat burning and muscle toning. If results slow or reverse in a given week then the plan is reevaluated and tweaked until progress resumes.
How to get started… The thought of cooking all of your meals ahead of time probably sounds a little intimidating, but don’t worry, let’s break it down into 7 simple, doable steps:
Meal Prep Step #1: Outline a Plan
Before you ever step foot in the kitchen to start the process of cooking and packing your meals, it is important to get an overview plan of your needs. Having a professional help you with this portion of the process is key to making sure that you pack and eat exactly the nutrients and in the portions that will get you to your fat goals. Outline these key parts of your plan:
- How many meals will you eat each day? Most plans will include three main meals and three smaller snack meals.
- What key nutrients will be included in each meal? For a program focused on losing fat and toning muscle, you will need each meal to be largely protein, with complex carbohydrates in the first three meals of the day and fiber included in the final 4 meals of the day.
- What size will your meals be? This is where it’s important to have a professional help you outline the parameters of each meal to ensure that you are eating enough protein, fiber, fat and complex carbs. You should know in ounces how much protein to consume in each meal as well as a physical measurement for the complex carbs, fiber and fat.
Meal Prep Step #2: Find Pre-Made Options
Let’s be honest, even if you love spending time in the kitchen, it’s not practical to expect that you will make every component of your meal prep meals from scratch at home. This is where having a great deli in your local supermarket or having a couple of restaurants nearby to pick up some of your meal list from will make a huge time saving difference in your meal prep experience. Look for these:
- Roasted Chicken, Turkey or Pork
- Cooked Brown Rice
- Steamed Veggies
Meal Prep Step #3: Create a List of Recipes
After you’ve crossed some of your food requirements off due to the convenience of your local deli or supermarket, it’s time to make a list of the items left to make. Find simple, wholesome recipes that will fill in the remaining gaps in your meal prep meals. Make a list of all the ingredients needed to make the recipes. Recipes like:
- Sautéed Veggies
- Slow Cooker Lean Beef
- Slow Cooker Chicken
- Baked Sweet Potato
- Rolled Oats
- Baked Fish (see recipe below)
- Egg Muffins
- Hard Boiled Eggs
Meal Prep Step #4: Go Shopping
Take your list of ingredients and your list of pre-made foods and get shopping! It can be very helpful to do a quick cleaning out of your fridge before your shopping trip, in order to free up room for the fresh items you’ll be purchasing. Also be sure to pick up containers for your prepped meals as well as cold packs and an insulated lunch bag if you don’t already have these items.
Meal Prep Step #5: Start Cooking
Take a couple of hours to cook the recipes on your list, as well as chopping any veggies for salads. Allow everything to cool before moving onto the next step.
Meal Prep Step #6: Measure and Pack Your Meals
It’s time to create your daily meals assembly line! Line up your containers, pull out your food scale and find your measuring cups. Weigh, measure, and season each meal before stacking and placing in the fridge. You may find it helpful to group a day of meals together, in the order that you will eat them.
Meal Prep Step #7: Grab-N-Go
This may be the easiest step, in meal prep success, but it is the most important.
Remember to grab your meals at the start of your day and to pack with plenty of cold packs. If you fail to bring your meals with you then you won’t reap the benefit of all that effort that you put into creating the meals. A plastic fork and a stack of napkins is also good to remember!
There you have it, a comprehensive guide to making meal prep happen!