Fit 4 Life | Meal prep master tips
"Mi love food too much fi do that," she said, referring to my tendency to carry breakfast, lunch, snacks and, sometimes, even dinner, to work.
Somehow the myths surrounding meal prep refuse to die. From "The food doesn't taste good," to "Mi nuh have time fi dat," the misconceptions are many.
My co-worker is right about one thing, though. Controlling what we eat is one of the hardest things for modern humans to do. Between the dominance and ease of use of processed foods and the busy schedule of the average person, cooking our own carefully selected, natural foods just isn't very appealing. Unfortunately for us, controlling what we eat is also essential to preserving health and fitness.
Here are a few tips for those skeptical about preparing their own foods.
Simplicity is golden
Many people fail at meal prep because of the amount of work they give themselves by planning complicated - and sometimes expensive - meals for the entire week. No, you won't be able to cook rice and peas and curry goat with a chicken salad on the side every day or every week. Instead, base your meal prep plan on raw foods such as fruits and vegetables and easy to prepare recipes. You can then add more complex meals based on your schedule and budget.
Use free days wisely
Two-three hours on your day off can go a long way to easing meal prep stress. Use days off to plan and execute the bulk of your meal prep. Plan your meals for the next few days; plan for the rest of the week if you can. Make shopping lists and buy groceries. Prepare complex foods that can be stored for several days without losing their taste.
Plan, plan, plan
Meal prep spelt correctly is P-L-A-N. Effective meal prep demands planning, regardless of your goal. The base of that plan, however, must be a goal. Structure your meals to achieve that goal. Want to build muscle, add more protein and complex carbs; preparing for a 5k, add more fluids and healthy fats. Note, however, that you don't need to prepare every meal yourself - you probably won't be able to. The idea is to get as much right as you can.
Make grocery shopping a mission
If you decide to prepare your meals, grocery shopping must become a mission. Select your target foods, make a list, and go get them. Stick to your list. Avoid picking up additional snacks and foods that aren't on the list.
Give yourself breathing room
Trying to be too strict on meal prep could cause you to fail. It's OK to go out and eat - and drink - once in a while. It's OK to slip up now and then. As long as you follow the plan over the long term, it should yield success.