Everyone knows that getting Health is a mix of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating nutritional rich foods. However if being healthy and losing weight was as simple as “eat right and exercise”, the weight loss industry would NOT be the billion dollar earner it is today.
Fat loss and fitness is 99% mental. That’s right. It’s all about the mindset.
Now, knowing that, think about how the following situations would affect your mindset.
- Driving through traffic during your lunch-break while you are starving to try to find a decent salad somewhere
- Rushing around in the morning to pack a lunch, but realizing all you’ve got is the quick fix food items that are packed with sugar and fat..and have been in the cupboard for only God knows how long.
- All your co-worker are in the lunchroom with a damn pizza that is calling your name from across the room, and you didn’t pack a lunch.
- Talked yourself into an exhausting afternoon workout and now your stomach is screaming for lunch. With no time to make lunch you decide just getting something “not so bad” at that sub place down the road.
These situations can make eating healthy a obstacle. One that is a self sabotaging setup even if you drink enough water and workout like your life depends on it. In fact it's most likely the the number one reason for discouragements, yo-yo dieting, and giving up on it all together.
Meal prep is all about over coming the mental obstacles and the unexpected bums of getting healthy and feeling great. Okay it also the key to achieving your goals. This is the most important thing to do that will help you take control and kick the habit of not succeeding in the health goals you want. And most importantly, it’s a way to keep your mindset on the up and up!
If you’re prepare your meals for the week, every other part of your fitness and health goals will fall right into place.
OMG The Savings!
The beauty of meal prepping is that it keeps the focus of your day to day lifestyle on healthy lifestyle! This is also a way to add an extra layer to your fortress of willpower. However that is not the best news, You won't believe the money and time you will save by prepping your meals for the week once a week. If you do the math of how much you spend on each meal at a restaurant per-meal vs. how much it cost to make your own meals at home, you will be shocked at the money you save. Those clever $1 menus are not saving you money or doing you any favors.
Just think about how long you spend each day preparing meals and the clean up after wards. 15 to 45 minutes to prepare and cook each meal and then 15 to 30 minute to clean up. Now if you just add and little bulk to the preparation of your meals and cook 3 to 4 different meals all at once you will find a rhythm. It will take you an hour or 2 to get it all prepared and may be a hour longer to complete the cooking. If you are like me you will use your oven, stove and grill all at the same time so that you have many different flavors thru out the week. After a few hour your cooking is complete and instead of having to clean the kitchen 7 days a week after a cooking session you have just this clean up and it will most likely only take a few more minute than normal to clean it up.
The Dividing it All up
There are many ways you can choose to do the division of the food. There are 2 of us in my household and we eat different portions. My Husband is over 200lbs of muscle so he eats more and more often than me. (He tends to snack more often were as I don't snack at all really). So instead of putting it in containers that are ready to go I place everything in huge tub-a-ware with lids that are stack-able....my fridge gets packed to the max! I then measure the portions according to the size of our hands. Meats can be the size of your palm, Vegs you can have 2 palms worth if you are not having carbs and carbs should be half the size of your palm. I like to use my palm because it is with me all the time. If you wish to use measuring cups then that works too. I did this for a while but when I was not in my kitchen I would blow my eating out of the water (I LOVE FOOD)! So you can always down load a app to help you know what your measurements should be. Just figure your calorie intake and then figure out how many calories you want per meal. Then you can measure according to that.
They make so many different types of tub-a-ware that can hold a whole meal. They even make them so that the food is divided up if you don't like your food touching each other. If you are more of the single serving type of meal prep-er then this is prefect. Most of the tub-a-ware is even able to be thrown into the freezer so that you can have them last longer. Dish then into the tub-a-ware and you are all set. If you freeze them then you can take them to the office with you and by lunch you will have a defrosted meal ready to go without having to worry about it spoiling. Maybe you don't like the idea of having tons of tub-a-ware in the freezer and fridge. There is another way to store them, Zip-lock baggies are a great way to do single servings. It also allows you to pick and choose what entree and side you want for each meal. You have a little more freedom with your selection but the downfall is that the food wont look as pretty as it will in the tub-a-ware. Zip-lock baggie also give you the ability to write the contents and date made of the package. It all about what would work best for your lifestyle.
Now I don't really do the snack thing and if I do it more likely to be a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts or a organic/all natural snack bar. However you may need to have your snack stash...there are many ways to do this as well. I like to get the Pressed by Kind Bars which are Fruits, Vegetables, and Chia seeds pressed together. That would not work for my husband and maybe not for you either. Dale (My Husband would rather have a meat product or some kind of protein bar/shake. If you are the someone who needs a protein snack you may look into Zip-lock baggies that are snack size or the smaller tub-a-ware that you can place a healthy protein snack. The smaller tub-a-ware containers also are perfect for salads of any kind.
The Sweet Treat
The snack size options are also really good to put a sweet treat in for when you have the craving to run to your closest ice cream shop or corner store for the candy bar that is calling your name. Yes we all have those days where the sweet tooth rears it's head and wont go away! Having options that are healthy but satisfying are the most important things to have available! Just because you are eating healthier does not mean that you are banned from a treat once in a while. In fact I want you to make sure you have something that you crave in your kitchen. Try and find the most natural and healthy version of your sweet treat, then put individual portions in the containers so that you can crush the craving and not go out and stuff yourself silly with sweets.
The List to Stick To!
This is really important to follow...NOT EASY BUT DO-ABLE! When you go shopping make a list and stick to it. Foods that you buy need to be as close to the natural thing as possible. When you read the label if you don't know what an ingredient is then most likely it is not good for you. This being said do your best. Foods that are not processed or altered are harder to find than you think so always check the sugars, fats and carbs of the package, these are going to be the fats that really affect your health goal. The list will be easier to stick to if you are not hungry or tired when you are shopping. Both of these will make it easier to impulse buy those foods that are not on the healthy scale. One thing that is always reliable in any store is the fact that there is a candy idle and a chip/soda/snack idle, and the bakery. Just do yourself a favor and avoid those idles. There is nothing there that is going to help to reach your goal.
OH BUT I WANT ONE!
If you just have to have chips corn chips and baked chip are what I spring for, nothing like a chip a salsa snack for movie time. Popcorn need to be plain or you can melt your own butter to put on it. The fake stuff is not anything near butter just chemicals and junk. I love me some bakery treats but as I have said it is not going to help me to reach my goal, but if I have to have something I tend to reach for a paleo cookies or treat you can find int he frozen foods area. The ingredient are all able to be read and as natural as possible. CHECK the calories, that will help you stick to the recommended serving.
Step by Step
1.Choose a day that works for you for meal prep. My meal prep days are Saturdays or Sunday. Sometimes those days get busy, so the next day that is available I do my meal prep. Remember you have to give yourself flexibility and permission to be human
2. Find your daily weak spots and prep for those. Consider the busiest times of your week, and prep for those weak spots. For some, this might be breakfast and lunch. For others this might be lunch and dinner. A common pitfall is lunch or snacks with coworkers. The donut tray at your office is nearly impossible to resist when you know you don’t have anything in the fridge, and you have to wait another two hours before you eat.
3. Make a menu and shop. Write out the ingredients you’ll need for the week to prep the meals you like. To get a vast array of nutrition, rotate the foods you eat every 3-4 days. Whether that means changing the vegetables, protein sources, carbs, or all three, this is when the zip-lock baggies are really handly
4. Cook, measure, and put away. This is the time to cut, chop, and put away. Prepare your meals and snacks. Consider your own personal needs, appetite, and schedule. To avoid getting overwhelmed, start with prepping one meal for each day of your week. Then you can start to increase the amount you prepare for the whole week.
5. Pack. Having a good cooler, set of utensils, and a little stash of floss and gum are some things you might also want to consider.
Another tip, pack a lemon with each lunch. Squeezing some lemon juice into your water, and drinking that after you’re done eating can help digest your food. This is optional, but I always do this. Plus lemon in water tastes delicious and is a get detox for the body.
6. Change up your food every week This will give you a vast array of nutrients. It will also make you want to stick with your meals that you have prepared. If you always have the same foods to eat you will be more likely to stop by your favorite drive thru. This is a lifestyle not a diet or a punishment. Be kind to yourself and make sure you look forward to the meals you have available.
There is no such thing as “one best food”, or even “best combination of foods”. There’s tons of really great foods, each with different but equally important benefits. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Be adventurous and shake up the menu every week. And if anyone ever tells you to eat nothing but “Blank and Blank food”, that person doesn’t understand the importance of a well balanced nutritional meal. meals should be colorful and flavorful!
Great Foods for Meal-Prepping
While you can prepare any foods you like on your meal-prep day, the following foods are particularly easy and delicious.
Salads I always love salads. I don’t just throw a little romaine in a bowl and call it a day. I use a vast array of fruits, vegetables, seeds, herbs and spices in my salads. Preparing salads on meal prep-ay will simplify your week. From there, you can throw a lean protein of your choice on top, pack a little side of dressing and olive oil.
Soups & Stews Soups and stews are great because they maintain flavor days after preparing them. They’re also pretty easy to make in a crock pot while doing other errands. Soups and stews are some of the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat. They are really easy to freeze for later. So make large amounts that way you can have more than a weeks worth. That way you can freeze them for the time when your meal-prep day get bumped to a different day and you need a quick meal.
Healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, and brown rice pasta are all thing you can trow into your soups or stews. They reheat easily, and are versatile.
Hard Boiled Eggs The lean equivalent of a drive-thru. It doesn’t get any easier, or healthier, than hard boiled eggs. If you peel them and place them in a baggie then you are able to grab them and go. You will be surprised at how many things you can do with hard boiled eggs. They work well for breakfast as well. Because let's face it we all have those mornings where we hit snooze too many times.
Fresh Fruits & Veggies Figure out what vegetables and fruits you LOVE, and put them in a snack baggie or tub-a-ware. Pack one of those in your cooler with your lunch. This will up the fiber content of your meals. As a rule, take whatever amount of vegetables you’re eating right now, and double it. Doing this alone will increase your metabolism, and reduce inflammation in your body. There are tons of fruits and vegetables to choose from. IF you go with what is in season then your options will always be changing. Variety is the spice of life.
Your favorite Lean Foods The best types of healthy foods are the ones you will eat. Don’t make the mistake of prepping your meals with things you can’t stand eating. For example, If you are not a fan of asparagus. And your meals were all prepped with asparagus, you'd subconsciously resist eating them. Don’t create any unnecessary barriers.
If you are looking for more information then check out our other articles. We have supplements that will help you to reach your healthy goals and so much more. We love to help you in anyway possible so give us a call at: Sara 806-672-6298 or Dale 806-640-2090.