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Meal Prep 101

This is a 20-minute discussion on Meal Prep and how I really try to keep things simple. Download the weekly meal planner and food list below.

Summary:

  1. Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. I believe in large part, we all know what we need to do, it’s just a matter of doing it.
  2. The more we simplify our eating, the easier it gets and the less likely we are to make the wrong choices.
  3. Willpower is an exhaustible resource. The fewer decisions you have to make on the fly, the better. This is where planning ahead has major advantages.
  4. When stress is high or time is scarce, we are often not in a good mental state to be making healthy choices. By planning ahead, you eliminate the need to make choices at times when willpower may be limited or when otherwise we would turn to foods that are only taking us further from our goals.
  5. We need to create “rules” that give us a clear, simple outline to follow so we know exactly what we need to do.
  6. Cook in bulk. Pick a day when you have the fewest number of commitments and prepare food for most (or all) of the week.
  7. Make your cooking easy. Buy precut vegetables, or proteins that are already in individual portions.
  8. Always have “emergency foods” that can be ready in a moments notice. Foods that may not be perfect but are much better than skipping meals all together or going through the drive thru.
  9. The longer you wait to make changes in your life, the more difficult it will be. The timing will never be perfect. Stop waiting and take action!

What are some example “rules” you may consider?

  • I can’t have coffee in the morning until I’ve drank ___ ounces of water.
  • No TV at night unless I worked out that day.
  • I must burn 500 calories each day working out.
  • I must take 10,000 steps per day.
  • I must follow my rules 90% of the time.
  • I can only have alcohol 3 times per month.
  • I have to plan and prepare my meals for the week every Sunday.
  • No eating after ___PM.
  • No late night sweets, except on Saturdays.

The more clarity we have on what we can and can’t do, the easier it is to make the right choices. If you aren’t sure where to start, create one or two rules to follow and try to adhere to them for the next 2-3 weeks.

Once they feel like part of your routine, add something else in and repeat. Over time you will be amazed at how much these little changes add up!

What are my favorite “emergency foods”?

  • Protein shake– Convenient, simple and easy to take when traveling.
  • Protein bar– Right now (this changes from time to time) I prefer Quest, RXBARS, Premier Protein or thinkThin High Protein Bars.
  • Premixed salads– I buy these at Sam’s. I eat the entire bag. Great tasting, gives me some variety and most importantly- everything is in the bag so it is simple.
  • Broccoli– When I feel like testing my stomach’s elasticity, I load up on broccoli and eat as much as I want. While not as healthy, when I feel like I need something with a little more flavor, I add parmesan cheese to it.
  • Frozen fruit– This does the trick when my sweet tooth kicks in and I need a fix.
  • Jimmy Dean Delights– I prefer either 1) turkey sausage, egg white & cheese or 2) turkey sausage breakfast bowl.

Download the meal planner and food list:

Weekly Meal Planner

Food List

 

***DISCLAIMER: Regarding everything mentioned above, I am not a registered dietician. I am simply sharing  strategies that have worked for myself and my clients over time. If you want more specifics regarding a meal plan, talk with a registered dietician.***

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