meal prep 101

You may have heard the saying, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Having a plan and taking the steps to prepare yourself for success is key to meeting your nutrition goals.  We’ve talked about the importance of portion control, and how to eyeball 100 calories. Today we want to talk about how get organized and how prepping your meals can set you up for fitness success all week long. 

 

what is meal prep? To put it plainly, meal prep is making some of your meals for the week ahead of time, so when you open your fridge, or freezer, you have healthy choices ready to warm up and eat.   For those of you that are already in the game, you know what it means when Sunday afternoon rolls around – #mealprepday! While Sunday doesn’t haaaave to be the day you meal prep, it’s generally the easiest day to do it if you work a typical Monday-Friday work week. Most people generally stick to Sunday and Wednesday nights for meal prep  - where you make enough on Sunday night to last Monday-Wednesday and then Wednesday night you make enough to last you the rest of the week. But honestly, whatever day works for your schedule works for meal prep.

 

For those of you that are already in the game, you know what it means when Sunday afternoon rolls around – #mealprepday! While Sunday doesn’t haaaave to be the day you meal prep, it’s generally the easiest day to do it if you work a typical Monday-Friday work week. Most people generally stick to Sunday and Wednesday nights for meal prep  - where you make enough on Sunday night to last Monday-Wednesday and then Wednesday night you make enough to last you the rest of the week. But honestly, whatever day works for your schedule works for meal prep.

 

In-Shape’s top five tips to meal prep success:

 

We spoke with Andrea Franco, one of In-Shape’s top trainers and nutrition experts for her top tips to meal prep and a few of her go to recipes.make a plan

Sit down and write down what meals you’re making for the week. If you work away from home, you might want to prep your lunch so you’re not tempted by the fast food around the corner. And if you work long hours, having dinner ready to heat up and serve will do wonders for your body and mind. Plan out three lunches and three dinners to get you started.

stick to your grocery list

After you’ve planned out your meals and checked they meet your nutrition needs and goals, make a list. When you get to the store, STICK TO IT. While those Doritos might be on sale, and you promise yourself you won’t dig into them until your cheat day, if they are in your pantry they will call your name. Keep to the list to avoid having tempting snacks on hand. If you really want them for your cheat meal/day, go buy them then.

cook everything at once

By investing a couple of hours all at once, it’ll save you time throughout your week. So, once you’ve planned your meals, picked up all the ingredients, get cooking. Roast all the veggies while you’re heating up the oven. If you’re turning on the BBQ to grill your chicken for one meal, make sure you throw the salmon for the other meal on too so you’re not wasting time. If all three meals you’re prepping have brown rice in them, make sure you cook enough for all three.

portion control containers and lunch bags

It might sound cheesy, but if you’re excited about your lunch pail/containers then you’re more likely to stick with it. This month at In-Shape, earn your spot in the Fit Club and, work out to win the perfect portion controlled meal prep containers. If you need more, check these out – they’re strong, don’t leak and the bowl shapes are versatile and work for soups, salad, burrito bowls and stir frys.

spices

Franco also recommends following the seasons to keep up the variety. Try different fruits, change up your greens and toppings for salads and make a new veggie. Head to a farmer’s market and you’ll be able to find seasonal produce that’s grown locally and tastes delicious.  You can’t really beat that, can you? You can even try subscribing to a produce box to force the hand and make you go out of your comfort zone – you never know you might just like those Brussel sprouts after all. 

Franco also likes to add seasoning to everything, “It’s a great way to add little to no calories but bring a ton of flavor and variety to your food.” So, stock up that spice rack and get shaking. 

ask a trainer about meal prep and healthy lunch options

“Try anything with beans or lentils to boost protein and add lots of veggies to get those necessary vitamins and minerals. They are filling and hearty and hold well enough to freeze to last you through the week,” she advises.

A few of her favorites include:

      • Lentil & Black Bean chili 
      • Minestrone w/ bean 

We hope these five tips set you up for success and inspire you to get prepping. Show us your meals with #InShapeAttitude and make sure to come in 12 times this month to win an awesome portion control meal prep kit!