A common question at LeanFit is people wondering how to ‘meal prep’ effectively.
Nutritionist Lindsay Webb lists the benefits and the steps of approaching your weekly meals in the kitchen.
If you have a question for Lindsay you can leave it in the comments below or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
QWhat are the benefits of ‘meal-prepping’?
AEffective meal preparation can be the difference between eating nutritious meals all week, and falling off the wagon, again.
My number one tip for successful meal prep is to dedicate a few of hours once or twice a week to the kitchen. Depending on what level you take things to, meal prep can take anywhere between 1 to 4 hours. Keep in mind however, that you make up for this in the time you aren’t cooking throughout the week.
Why meal prep?
Meal prep can look very different for different individuals and families. I am very aware of the fact that when my husband and I eventually have children, we probably won’t be able to eat pre-made meals out of Tupperware whenever we want. Then again, maybe we will. Whether you prep 100% of your meals throughout the week, or simply make up lunches for the week, preparing your meals helps you stay on track. It provides you with nutritious meals without the mid-week hassle, and helps you reach your health and fitness goals.
How do I meal prep?
As mentioned, there are many ways to meal prep and certainly no right or wrong way to do it. My husband and I do next to no cooking from Monday to Friday. We are too busy, and frankly, too lazy after a long workday. It also ensures we have healthy lunches made for every day of the work week, which usually stops us from eating out. An added bonus is that this is a great money saver.
Here’s what my meal prep looks like for an average week:
- 2-3 proteins (i.e. turkey burgers, chicken breasts, and salmon filets)
- 3-4 veggies (i.e. roasted Brussels sprouts, steamed broccoli, and roasted beats)
- 1-2 starches (i.e. baked sweet potato and rice)
We make larges batches of each of the above foods and then portion them out into glass containers. Create large Tupperware towers in the fridge, and voila, 10 meals for two!
Others may wish to simply prep a few items and throw their meals together daily. For example, you can cook your proteins ahead of time, and then prepare daily veggies to pair with it. You may not like the idea of eating the same things over and over, or be grossed out by the idea of leftovers several days in a row. For this group, two smaller meal preps might be more fitting. For example, Sunday and Wednesday become mini meal prep days.
Additionally, some people love to come home after a long day of work and decompress by whipping up something delicious in the kitchen for dinner. For this group, perhaps just prepping lunches is the way to go. That way you save time in the evening (or morning) by already having lunches prepared and are still able to enjoy cooking a delicious meal at night.
At the end of the day, do whatever allows you to stick to the plan and make your life easier. There really is no right or wrong way to meal prep. It’s all about creating nutrient dense meals that help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Whatever that looks like for you, make the time and make it happen.