Welcome back! It’s time for meal prep. Today I will walk you through the food prepping process that will keep you on track and barreling straight toward your fitness and weight loss goals this year! If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, you might want to start here, and here and then make your way back.
As a former personal trainer, I am here to tell you that this one, simple step, is what causes most people to fail to reach their goals. So much of your success is wrapped up in this 45 minutes or less, each week. Not for the rest of your life- but for now- you need to do this, to get where you want to be. If you are over 40- this is crucial to your success. Exercise alone, is not enough. Nutrition is key. Make a plan and make it work.
Here is a scenario:
Helga is out running errands. The post office takes WAY longer than it should and there is a major traffic jam on the way to pick up Jr. from his weekly worm farming co-op. Helga had envisioned herself back at home eating a salad by now, and is SO.FREAKING.HUNGRY, it’s taking every bit of her will power not to to tell Jr just to shut.it.- as he prattles on excitedly about his fun time at the worm farm. Helga wants to be a good mom so she decides that she will just swing by the fast food joint, and get a salad for herself and a box of Fat n’ Happy for Jr. Five minutes later, she finds herself half way through a gray meat burger and scrounging her chipped, manicured hand around in the bottom of a greasy, salty container of fries.
Don’t. Be. Helga. Have a plan.
One of the best tips I have is to cook in bulk. It will save you so much time during the week! So, you can either plan meals just for yourself, or cook in bulk to pull from for your entire family. Get your groceries and lets prep that sh*z!
How to meal prep
1. Cut up all of the vegetables that you will be using for your personal meals (lunch and breakfast; or cook enough to pull from for your whole family for the week-they need veggies too!) and place them in a steamer, or a steamer basket in the bottom of a pot. Get them steaming and cook to your personal preference. You can also steam in the microwave by placing the veggies and enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl, in a large microwavable bowl with a plate on top. Microwave on high for 5-8minutes and let sit until they have reached the desired doneness. Set aside.
2. Get out the proteins you will be using for your meals (lunch) and prepare and cook them to your liking. Grill it, roast it, sauté’ it……..whatever you like and however you like (no deep frying).Use seasonings liberally and healthy fats (oils and butters)more sparingly.
3. Get out your starches. Cook some rice and/or your potatoes however you like, again, season liberally, use fats very sparingly.
4. Assemble your foods on the counter and get out your storage containers. I’ve updated this since it was first published because these are now my favs and they’re from Amazon. I only prep my lunches, since I eat almost the same breakfast every day,( more on that here) and our dinner is a family affair, (but is also- quite shockingly- made up of proteins and vegetables). So, that’s 6 lunches.
I personally like to keep my steamed vegetables in a large container and dip from them for every meal, for myself as well as for my family.
In my lunch containers, I put the amount of food to keep me around my calorie/ nutrition intake that I calculated here. This equals out to roughly 4 oz. of protein and 3 oz of starch….or about 1 cup of protein and about 1/2 cup of starches.
Using your own numbers that you calculated here, subtract 250 calories if you are trying to lose weight and put that number in as your calorie goal into My FItness Pal. This will help you know exactly how much to put in each of these containers for yourself. Stack them up and place them in the fridge. You are ready for the week!
As lunch time rolls around, pop out your lunch. Grab a scoop of your steamed vegetables. You can add some fresh salsa, a tablespoon of cheese and/or guacamole and wall-la! It’s a damn good lunch! Alternatively, you can add some good quality honey mustard, or fresh spaghetti sauce,topped with parmesan cheese. Just be sure to log it all into your My Fitness Pal and make adjustments as you go through the week with amounts, to try to hit close to your goal number. There are endless combinations here, and I will have lots of tips and examples. Also, follow me on Pinterest where you will find a board dedicated to recipes.
Belinda is out running errands. The post office takes WAY longer than it should and there is a major traffic jam on the way to pick up little Scarlet from her play hour at Mensa International. Belinda had envisioned herself back at home by now, eating her power lunch. But not to worry, she has her lunch packed with her, as well as a homemade, nutritious snack for little Scarlet. Belinda is a good mom, so she stops at the park to eat an impromptu picnic lunch while little Scarlet chatters away about her future dreams and plans of becoming a real estate mogul, building a cosmetic empire and eventually running for President of the United States.
Be Belinda. Have a plan.
The stories are for fun, but the planning is for real. It isn’t hard and it will save you from getting off track. If you find yourself dining out for lunch (NOT fast food! Remember Helga!), you won’t go wrong with meat and vegetables (not starches ie, fries).
Skip the bread, the chips and the soft drinks.
Most restaurant menus contain salmon and veggies, or steak and salad or chicken and veggies, these are all good choices and will keep you full steam ahead on getting in shape!
Next time, we will start talking about activities and exercises. Don’t worry- we just start where we are. I’ve got you. You can do this!
Begin with your nutrition and take the week to get the hang of logging in your food and getting rid of the junk. It is SO IMPORTANT to learn what your caloric intake should LOOK like. Get a visual! Be intentional! If you screw up,no worries- brush it off and hop right back in.
Here is a list of the “Getting in Shape” Posts in order, if you need to go back: