When you’re serious about your fitness goals (whether they’re strength- or weightrelated), often a first The step is to get your diet in order. You want to get enough protein support your muscles, fruits and vegetables for health, carbohydrates for fueland a total amount of calories that supports your activity and goals without undereating or overeating.
If you’ve ever gotten to the end of the day and realized you’re nowhere near your daily goals, you get the idea of planning your meals and even preparing them (“preparing”) ahead of time. A bodybuilder who eats the stereotypical chicken and broccoli for lunch every day may be bored with his meals, but he also knows how much protein he’s getting without even thinking about it.
But eat-preparation has its drawbacks. maybe you will bored with your meals. Or maybe you won’t even make it that far and will tire yourself out just from the mental and physical effort of cooking an entire week’s worth of meals at once. With that in mind, here are some beginner tips to make the process easier with your sanity intact.
Make a breakfast to go
Before we start preparing anything, let’s get started planning. Most of us are fine with eating the same breakfast every day, and there’s a good chance you already have a few favorite dishes that you can throw together quickly before you’ve fully woken up.
So your first step is to come up with a breakfast that fits your macros and is easy to prepare. We’re taking baby steps here, so don’t worry too much about preparing ahead of time. Just make sure it will ready when it’s time for breakfast.
For example, maybe your breakfast is yogurt and fruit. This is easy enough: Bhave a yogurt and buy some fruit. In the morning, you can join the two. Or you can make something the night before grab on your way out the door. i like to do Birch muesli two servings at a time, as each one requires half an apple. So Sunday night, I will prepare jars for Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night I will make another pair.
Save the takeout containers
When we start packing dinners and lunches, we’ll need something to put them on. While cute bento-esque tupperwares might look nice, you might decide you don’t actually want all those split containers. Or the boxes you buy may turn out to be the wrong size once you start filling them. Save money and time by selecting one or two types of to-go containers that you get a lot of, and save them whenever you get them. I like the rectangular plans and the round one-pint soup containers. (You can also buy them in bulk if you need them fresh.)
Take one meal at a time
After getting into the habit of eating the planned breakfast every day, the next step is to choose a second meal. For most of us, it will be lunch That way, take care of your first two meals and still be able to make any dinner plan you like. (It’s okay if you never progress past this stage.)
I also recommend, at least initially, no planning seven days at a time. Since I work Monday through Friday, I like to prepare weekday meals and then leave it to the weekends. (It usually includes my usual breakfast, some sort of leftover meal, and often a takeout or two).
For your first foray, I recommend finding a recipe that makes three servings. Two of these recipes will get you through the work week with one to spare. You can even alternate the two meals.
An important food safety tip: MDishes prepared for Sunday will not be in the best shape on Saturday. I recommend choosing one of the following strategies:
- On Sunday, make a dish and share it for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday meals; then on Wednesday night, make another three-serving dish for the second half of the week.
- On Sunday, make your two dishes so you can alternate. Put three of the meals in the freezer. Then, on Tuesday or Wednesday, take them out of the freezer to start thawing them.
Try a recipe before you commit
Ready to start making the first meal? Hold on: Dif you choose a recipe really like? I’m not asking if it looks good pictures. The ideal meal prep recipe is something you’ve not only eaten in the past, but also have an idea of how well it reheats.
This means you can stay off recipe websites for now. Choose an old favorite; you can experiment later. And if you’re ever tempted to do, say, a month’s worth of food on meal prep day, definitely Try this exact recipe in a week’s batch first.
This is honestly my most important tip. When I first started meal prepping, I would spend all Sunday afternoon shopping and cooking. My feet would hurt and my other household chores would be unfinished. No time or effort was spared, just moved.
Since then I have improved. One of my favorite meal preps is to buy two bags of Trader Joe’s chimichurri rice and a pound of ground beef, heat them up properly, and combine them. The job is done in just 15 minutes, and now I have four lunches for the week that fit perfectly into one of these round soup containers. I care that Mr. Joe get half the credit for my culinary art? I do not.
If you’re going to make everything from scratch, make it easy. Buy frozen vegetables as they are already chopped. Get a rice cooker if you find yourself using rice for many of your meals. If there is a special homemade sauce or seasoning want to use, allow yourself to one labor intensive item and make sure your other tasks are simple.
For example, most items in the animal and plant kingdoms can be thrown into a pan and roasted. I’ll buy some frozen fish and cool or frozen vegetables, and then roast a tray of each with the appropriate seasonings. (Olive oil and garlic salt are perfect for broccoli or, to be honest, any vegetable.) Chicken fillets marinated in May they are another protein option that goes with anything and can be made in bulk. Thanks to the extra moisture, they reheat very well.
You get the idea: MMake a lazy meal, don’t make more than you’ll actually eat, and pack it into containers you already have around. Don’t expect everything to be perfect at first; you’ll perfect your workflow over time.