Look out kitchen, let’s smash some serious goals - outside the gym this time.
Step one, don’t go to the shops without a plan!
Sort of funny isn’t it? The hardest part of prepping your meal is the prep required to prep your meal. Cue Xzibit joke… If you don’t know who that is, don’t worry. Let’s just stick to what you came here for. MEAL PREP!
Once you have determined how many meals you need, think about what you really like to eat. Get excited about the process and cook yourself things you would like to eat at a restaurant. Instead of boring old boiled chicken and broccoli perhaps try pasta dishes, stir-fry or everyone’s favourite at the moment, burrito bowls. Check out Apoketheory for some fun poké bowl inspiration. Now you must have seen the professionals on Instagram: the hard-core athletes who line up a week’s worth of meals on a kitchen counter, snap a picture, and proudly tag it #moregains, #fitfood, and #goals. But who has the time to do that except professional bodybuilders, right? You’re doing just finegoing from meal to meal without planning! Or are you? Here’s the thing: Meal prepping doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing battle with draws full of Tupperware and some spare in the back shed that many people portray it as. Even if you just prep your most problematic meal of the day (Ours is always lunch), and your post-workout meal, which can be nothing more than a snack or a protein shake. That’s a big win both for your nutrition, time saving and your good ol’ hip pocket.
Prep all in one go
Often once the ‘hard part’ or the shopping as we like to call it is done. Most people put their feet up on the couch, switch on some telly and ignore all of that healthy nutritious food just sitting in their fridge and pantry. The trick is to get ALL the prep work done, that’s right folks you heard it right. As in shop, prep, cook and store all in one fell swoop of your garlic crusher. This way, you’re going to have a much more successful prep attempt. For instance, as soon as you get home from the store, immediately wash and cut your veggies, light up the stove, and start cooking. Start with the prep for one meal and one snack a day. Once you have mastered that add another meal to your juggling act. This way the prepping won’t become too daunting a task and you might actually achieve your goal of being one of those meal time preppers you see on Instagram.
Make meals you’ll be able to eat
When you’re planning your meals, consider the resources you have at work. If your workplace doesn’t have an oven, avoid meals that need to be heated. Instead, prep cold salads, stir-fries that hold up well when served cold, simple finger foods don’t hurt either. If you do have access to a microwave, the culinary world is your oyster. Just make sure the containers are heatproof. It’s best to use actual bowls made of thick plastic, ceramic, or glass to heat up things like soup. But be careful taking these containers out of the microwave: Use your noggin on this one, they can get hot!
Think specifically about your post-workout nutrition
One of the best reasons to meal prep is to get your post-workout nutrition right. In addition to standard meals and snacks, take any post-workout supplements you take into consideration. Within 15-30 minutes after exercising is the time you want to soak up all that nutrition like a fat lizard on a rock on a summers scorcher. FYI - your muscle fibres are the lizard and the meal is the sun rays. This half an hour window is also the time the hunger pains attack and usually in full force. Having a solid, healthy meal on hand is essential at this time!
We find that splitting the meal into smaller obtainable goals makes it easier. Baby steps people, baby steps. Chug your shake and eat your protein bar or cookie. Here’s a shameless plug for the best protein bars we have to offer. Then, an hour or two later, have your full meal. This allows you to eat on the go, because who has time to sit around for half an hour after a gym session. We all have places to go and people to see!
Keep your meals cold when you’re on the go
Standard lunch boxes or bags are fine if you’re carrying a single meal with you, but if you’ve got three meals, two snacks, and supplements, a basic lunch box won’t cut it. Many companies now cater to meal preppers, with extra zips, pockets and shaker holders built into their bags. Or just do what we do and carry a separate bag you bought from K-Mart with your meals. Why complicate things? This might seem like overkill to someone new to prep, but plenty of fit people swear by them. Why? They make your life and your prep easier. If you’re going to get serious about prep, it may be an investment worth making.
Think five days out
Some meal preppers like to get a whole week ahead. Others like to limit it to 2-3 days, and prep twice a week. This is up to you and how organised you want to be. The golden rules with prepping come with mixing and not mixing the right foods. For example all the cooked chicken, goes into one container. Rice, separate. Veggies, separate again. Have you got any yoghurt? You better believe that bad boy needs to be separate. This is a simple rule but often over looked as people seem to forget that once mixed all these elements will not last as long.
Just get started!
Who else here learns by doing? Well we certainly do! Get a plan, a few solid containers and something to throw them all in that won’t get lost in the back seat of your car. Now, get the shopping done using your planned shopping list, slice and dice up those veggies. Don’t let the iceberg lettuce touch the chic peas! Remember separate containers.. And you are on your way. Don’t forget to fill your life with some inspo! Check out hellonutritarian
on Instagram and follow the hashtags like #mealprep, #mealprepsunday and #mealpreplikeaboss for plenty for the good stuff.