Before we talk about tips for Meal Prepping, let’s get some (in my opinion) overused phrases about Nutrition.
“You can’t outtrain a bad diet.”
“Abs are made in the kitchen.”
“A healthy outside starts from the inside.”
“The greatest wealth is health.”
While I don’t disagree with any of them, I kind of roll my eyes at the catchiness of it all. With that being said, they’re all true.
Fitness is totally great and you should find something you enjoy that allows you to move your body regularly. But the ultimate tool in your arsenal for a healthy you, your best you, is if you have a handle on good nutrition.
I’m not telling you to eat boiled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli 3x a day. Eww. No thanks. I’m saying that you understand that good nutrition is based around eating real, simple, minimally processed foods and that you eat that way *most* of the time. Did you see that? MOST of the time. I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule and that if you make good decisions with regards to your nutrition 80% of the time, you will reap the rewards. Plus, it’s really hard for us here in New Orleans to say “no” to all of the wonderful food this community has to offer, and you shouldn’t have to either.
So let’s get to the heart of this article. Meal Prep!
Prepping, or at least going into each week with a plan for the majority of meals will make it a lot easier to stay on track 80% of the time. Not only that, but it will help save money in the long run, reduce stress, and help you reach your goals faster. While all of the following are different approaches to meal prep, the thing they have in common is that you are creating a plan and not just winging it day to day. Not planning generally leads to you eating out 1 or 2 times a day and I don’t care how awesome the choices you make when you’re going out are… preparing and eating food that you have purchased at the grocery and was made in your kitchen is ALWAYS your best bet.
Bulk Prep Once or Twice Weekly
This is the most common approach people think of when they hear the words, “meal prep”. It involves going to the grocery on Saturday or Sunday (with a plan) and bulk cooking for the week on Sunday. Those that are really efficient will not just prepare lunches for the week, but also snacks and breakfast. Sounds like work? It is when you start. But the more thought you put into it beforehand, the easier it is once you start. And if you can handle multi-tasking and chopping while knowing what’s going on in the oven, then this is for you. AND if making a weeks worth of food sounds boring, then do 2 mini-preps a week, one on Sundays and one on Wednesdays.
Plan by Using Leftovers
This is my own personal approach and I love it. It has worked the best for me because I got overwhelmed with planning a week in advance. And even when I managed to get my meals for the week prepped in 1-2 hours after going to the store, I personally felt like my Sundays were gone. So I started planning dinners throughout the week and then just getting a little extra of everything. Then, after dinner every night, I have leftovers for the next day. I used to hate eating leftovers, and then I started making meals I truly enjoyed, and suddenly I was looking forward to eating it again for lunch. So after dinner, before putting everything away, I take 15 minutes to put my leftovers in my fancy, adult glass tupperware and set aside snacks and whatnots for the next day. It’s 15 minutes. Without fail. And it always leaves me feeling prepared and ready for the next day.
Buy Bulk Protein and Freeze
One of my favorite grocery stores sells chicken for $2/pound on Tuesdays. Taco Tuesday who? And even though I rarely go to the grocery on Tuesdays, when I do, you’d better believe I buy a whole lotta chicken. What does one do with a whole lotta chicken? Freeze it! This is more of a dinner trick, BUT if you get home from a long day with not much food in the house and no leftovers, you can always count on having a healthy option. And if you have an instant pot, there’s really no excuse.
Swap With Friends
I have only heard about this, but it sounds pretty great if you like and trust your friends cooking. Find a handful of friends that are also interested in meal prep. On Sundays, or really whatever day you choose, you each make a dish and make enough to feed 5 or so of you. Then save one for yourself and give the rest to your friends, they’ll do the same. Suddenly you have a variety of meals and it was probably a lot less work on your end.
Meal Prep Service
Ultimately, the more meals you cook in your own kitchen, the better. But 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, and countless commitments through work and life can make that hard. If it is just plain hard to get meal prep done on your own, look into a meal prep service! There are some that deliver frozen meals nationally and you can also find some locally through a simple google search. We personally love and work with Chomp NOLA. You order your meals by Thursday night and they deliver them to us or one of their other locations by before-the-sun-is-up-o’ clock on Monday. They are delicious, super clean, and after making your lunch on your own, they are the next best thing.
Try something out! See what works for you. You may come up with a plan that is totally unrelated to any of the ones presented to you in this blog. But the key is in the word, “plan”. No matter what you do, when it comes to nutrition, the best thing to do is come up with a plan of attack. So, go forth. Experiment and find what works for you. Happy prepping, krewe!
Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or a seasoned pro looking for something new, we’d love to meet you! And guess what? Your first class is on us. Click HERE to schedule your FREE Jumpstart Class and let us show you what makes Roux Fitness different!