7 Meal Prep Tips Every Fitness Enthusiast Should Know
Whether you are an amateur or veteran fitness enthusiast, it can be hard to stay on top of a healthy meal plan.
Between delicious snacks and tasty meals, maintaining your health goals through proper nutrition can seem a little overwhelming.
However, with some help from the right meal prep tips, you will have meals cooked ahead of time that are aligned with your nutritional needs.
In this article, we outline everything you need to know - whether you're new to the world of meal prepping or just looking for some extra guidance in the kitchen, we will cover the meal prep tips every fitness enthusiast should know.
What Exactly Is Meal Prepping?
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, chances are you've heard of meal prepping. But what exactly does it mean?
Meal prepping is the process of planning/calculating according to your fitness goals, preparing and packing your meals ahead of time.
It allows you to save time by having several meals already cooked and ready that are in line with your fitness and health goals.
Benefits of Meal Prepping
Meal prepping can be a massive time-saver if done correctly. It helps you plan nutritionally balanced meals that fit within your calorie intake goals.
Doing so can help prevent the urge to snack on unhealthy food items or overindulge in high-calorie meals.
In addition, meal prepping can help you reduce food waste and save money in the long run.
By prepackaging your meals ahead of time, you can better regulate portion sizes and know exactly how much goes into each meal.
Find Your "Why?"
Sustainable change usually starts with a goal in mind. As mentioned earlier, meal prepping saves time/money/calories etc., but even then, there will be times when spending those couple of hours in the kitchen will seem like a chore.
Having a clear goal in mind before starting your meal-prepping journey can motivate you to stay on track and achieve success.
Before you start prepping your meals, determine what kind of results you want to aim for.
If it's weight loss, consider reducing your portions and selecting nutrient-dense foods.
If your goal is muscle gain, then eat more calories in the form of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
Once you know what macro- and micronutrients to look for, you can then determine the best meals that fit your needs and start meal prepping.
Either way, having a clear line of sight to your goal will help you make informed decisions and stay on track.
Now that you know your "why", it's time to head to the supermarket and stock up on all the necessary ingredients.
When it comes to meal prepping, fresh produce is great but optional.
Choose plenty of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates such as lentils, beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc. These foods should be the base of your meals.
Tips & Tricks
To get you started, here are a few meal prep tips to help you on your journey:
1. Label Containers
Labelling your containers is a MUST! Making sure you document what is in each container, when it was frozen/cooked, etc. is key.
2. Focus on Variety
It is easy to get into a food rut with meal prepping, so it's important to mix things up by having variety in your meals.
This will help ensure you are getting all of the nutrients needed for optimal health and performance. This also leads us nicely into the next tip…
3. Save Your Recipes
Having a bunch of recipes you know you can fall back on when inspiration is a little lacking, let's say, is another vital tool to ensure that you stay consistent (even when you reeeeeeally don't want to).
There are countless websites, books, blogs and apps that offer great meal ideas.
4. Prep Vegetables And Fruits For Snacks
It is not just your main meals that you should be prepping; you should be doing your snacks, too.
You can pre-chop and refrigerate or freeze a variety of vegetables and fruits to have ready when you feel the urge to snack.
5. Invest In Some Quality Kitchen Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier
If one of the reasons for your decision to meal-prep is that you are tight on time, it is imperative that you invest in some decent-quality kitchen gadgets/tools that will make your life easier.
Things like food processors, blenders and spiralisers can come in really handy.
- A slow cooker; these are incredible for so-called Dump Dinners, soups, stews - even healthy desserts, if you wanted that. Being able to "set and forget", until you need to start serving up is incredibly useful - it just allows you to get on with something else.
- A food processor or chopper-slicer-dicer gadget; this is a must, too - they make light work of vegetables in particular; you'll wonder what you did without one!
- Quality containers for the finished product; this is definitely worth investing in - that "leaky, lid doesn't fit or is missing" dance is never fun! Especially when you'll be doing it on a regular basis.
- A good-sized cooler bag; this is particularly important if you are planning on taking food with you out of the house. There are plenty available out there that will be able to fit everything you need and keep your food fresh.
6.Get The Portion Size Right
A large chunk of the reason for choosing to meal-prep is to ensure that you are able to easily and accurately measure out your portions.
This can help maintain body composition compared with when eating on the fly or at restaurants, where portion sizes can be inconsistent or much larger than you'd want/need.
7. Always, ALWAYS Have An Emergency Meal Plan
And finally, always have an emergency meal plan in case things don't go according to plan (such as running out of time).
This could be something as simple as having an emergency meal bar or a frozen dinner.
The important thing is to make sure you have something that you can turn to when life gets hectic.
Meal prepping with an eye on health and fitness can help you create a nutritious and delicious diet plan with minimal effort. It also ensures that you're not missing out on any important macronutrients.
When it comes to meal prep, it pays to ask about your health and fitness goals, create weekly meal plans according to those needs, purchase groceries in bulk to save expenditure and time, opt for nutrient-dense ingredients, and batch-cook for efficiency, and store meals adequately for maximum freshness.
Achieving your health and fitness goals is possible with well-planned meal prep – all you need is a clear plan, the right ingredients, and patience!
No task is too difficult or time-consuming if you break it into small manageable steps.
Start by identifying what you want out of your diet and create an individualised meal prep plan today.
Anything you'd like to add? Let us know in the comments!