In becoming a monstrous beast of a chick, you need to learn the cardinal boy scout code: Always Be Prepared. This doesn’t just work for the gym; having your headphones ready, your iPod charged, and your routine in your head. Being prepared also, and mostly, means what you’re putting in your body. You already know the credo: you can’t outwork a bad diet. Why would you spend all of that time lifting, training, and running, just to keep your work covered by layers of fat you gained from your last minute McDonalds trips?
If you want to see results, you need your meals to be easy and easily accessible. One of the biggest reasons people can’t stick to a “diet” is because they don’t keep good food around, and bad food is quick and easy. Today, I am going to help you overcome that hurdle. Today, I teach you the art of meal prep. Whether you’re looking to melt away fat or grow muscle, being prepared is essential.
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Step 1: Get the Food
You are thinking 1 of 2 things: I’m not a good cook or I want variety. I understand and I’m right there with you on both. So thats why I’m going to show you how to keep it simple, healthy, and easy. When you’re at the grocery store, start getting use to looking at labels. There is a difference between that 85%, 93%, and 100% lean turkey. And if you’re counting calories, you want to be mindful of them. For the sake of a concise article, we are sticking to the fundamentals:
Proteins: Chicken, Lean Ground Turkey, Beef (extra lean – Eye of Round Roast, Sirloin Tip), Eggs, Almonds, Salmon/Tilapia
Carbs: Oatmeal, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Quinoa, Asparagus
Extras: Peanut Butter (may I suggest PB2), Cottage Cheese, Avocado, Rice Cakes, Mrs. Dash Seasonings, Tupperware. A lot of tupperware.
Step 2: Cook
Once you get home from the store, you gotta set out on the daunting task of cooking enough food for 5 whole days. If you eat 6 meals a day, thats 30 solid meals you need to prep. Some of the meals, you won’t have to cook such as oatmeal, but you can prep for that too. It can take a solid 2 hours, but it will save you so much time and cheat meals later in the week. A great way to go about meal prep is to go half & half. Bake half of your chicken while you pan sear the rest. Broil half of your beef while you grill the rest. If you want to do anything fancy, this is the time to do it. Maybe take half of your chicken and stuff it with peppers and seasoning. Maybe you want to make a turkey patty made with quinoa and eggs.
You can get as fancy or simple as you’d like, as long as you pay attention to what you’re using.
Here’s an example of how easy it can be:
Ham and & Cups: Line the inside of a muffin tin cup with two slices of turkey. Break an egg into the cup, toss in some onions, peppers, salt & pepper, bake for 10 minutes at 350. Done and yum.
Step 3: Plan and Pack
Many consider this the fun part. Get your containers out, because its time to pack up all this food. I for one like to look at my week and plan out my meals so I won’t OD on chicken in one day. I also will plan meals on days where, if I need to cook something that day due to its shelf life, I have the time to do so. Depending on if you get fresh fish, you’ll have to use the fish earlier in the week. #MondayMealPrep is a thing, so don’t make plans, you have a date with the kitchen. If you eat more frequently, be sure to plan out your snacks and protein shakes as well. My plan will often look like this:
Once you have your meals decided on, you’ll want to pack in a way that you can just open the refrigerator each morning and grab your food. If one meal consists of quinoa, chicken, and avocado, pack all of those items in one container. That way, when you pull out a single container, you have the whole meal. If you’re planning foods with dressings, peanut butter (spreads), and nuts (individualized items), have smaller containers where you can measure those items out in advance too and pack them with your day’s food. Not realizing you’re using 2 tablespoons of PB instead of 1 can add up. The same with almonds (1 serving can be approx 25 almonds with 170 calories and 16g of fat!). One tip I find helpful, once I pack up my containers, I’ll cover with foil and write the contents and the day to eat on it. Stack everything in order of the week (Monday-Friday), then set out the things I can pack the next day (oatmeal, spreads, etc).
Things to Remember:
- Decide your daily caloric count and then divide across your meals. That is a good measure to how much food to have per meal.
- Know how much you’re eating: get a small scale so that you know for sure if you’re eating 4oz of chicken (1 serving) or 7oz.
- At the very least, eat 2-3 servings per meal.
- Each meal should consist of both protein and carbs. Your body can process your food much more efficiently if you give it everything it needs at each sitting. Only giving it carbs can send the wrong signal to your body, so make sure you have a complex carb and a lean protein for each meal.
Yes, this sounds like a lot, but it can be the difference between getting to that goal physique in 6 weeks versus 20. You think thats a wide gap? Trust me, thats how big of a priority you should place on food prep. Remember, if you’re not preparing for success, you’re prepping for failure…or something like that…