meal prep

Posted 2 years ago

Meal prep – how to uncomplicate something that seems so complicated

We’ve all heard the expression “fail to prepare or prepare to fail” applied to the context of nutrition when it comes to physique goals.

Although a lack of preparation does not lead to imminent failure, winging your nutrition is likely to slow your physique progress quite significantly for a number of reasons.

Firstly, if you track your food as you go during the day, it is likely that it will come to lunch time and you’ll realise you’ve over-eaten on carbs already, you’ve got 1g of fat left for the day, but you’ve only taken in 50% of your recommended daily protein intake.

Secondly, making food choices as you go along the day can lead you to eat quite low food volume, which is not particularly helpful for satiety when dieting.

Thirdly, if you aren’t prepared and buy your meals pre-prepared from a supermarket or café, it is likely that you’ll end up paralysed when you realise how calorie dense some of those meals are. And trust me, you do not want to consume 80% of your daily calorie intake on a meal deal!

So, of course, meal prepping is far more useful and optimal to achieve goals. I know it can seem complicated and like a bit of a pain, but there really isn’t any need to complicate things. Therefore, here are my top tips for keeping meal prep simple, easy and efficient, so you can achieve your goals faster.

(1) Plan at least 2-3 meals for your day, and work everything else around it

For example, you may choose to input your pre-workout, post-workout and post-post workout meals into my fitness pal. Once you’ve established the total calorie and macro intake for those meals, you can implement some flexibility with your other meals and snacks around it.

(2) Start your meal planning by prioritising a protein source for each meal

When people wing their nutrition, they’re most likely to over-consume carbohydrates and fats, but under-consume protein. Therefore, by prioritising your protein source for each meal, you can then add in carbs and fats accordingly, based on your current macro split.

3) Frozen food and microwaveable food is ok!

Many people are under the impression that meal prep should require 5h in the kitchen on a Sunday night, putting together a culinary experience for their 30min lunch break at work. No. Make it easy for yourself! Using frozen food or microwaveable food is absolutely fine! You can cook your meats ahead of time, weigh them out into Tupperware, and then add in e.g. microwaveable carbs (potatoes, rice…), and add frozen veggies. With this system, it won’t take you more than 30min to whip together all your lunches for the week!

(4) If you’re short of time, use pre-weighed out food packs

Yes, it might not be ideal from a packaging-waste perspective, but if you find you’re short of time, do yourself a favour and use foods that have already been packaged and weighed out for you. For example, you can buy oat sachets which will save you time when weighing these out; you can buy small fruit packages, microwaveable rice packages, and pre-cooked meats too.

(5) Input it all into MyFitnessPal before the day

This strategy has been an absolute time-saver for me. Inputting all my meals for the week into MFP ahead of time means that even when I’m exhausted, I don’t have to waste energy making food decisions and I just go with what’s written in the app. This also gives me some wriggle-room, but for the most part, just saves me standing in the kitchen looking at the cupboard and wondering what I’ll eat. It therefore also minimises the risk of me slamming a quick, calorie-dense snack into my mouth!

Although this isn’t an extensive list, these are the strategies I use to make sure my nutrition is on point even in the busiest weeks, whether I’m dieting, maintaining or looking to push my bodyweight up.  These are also the strategies I implement with my clients to make sure they succeed and get results!

If nutrition is your main downfall when it comes to achieving results and you’d like some help, click here to complete a coaching consultation call to find out how I can help.

Clara Swedlund MSc MBPsS