Now that you have created a habit of being at the gym on a regular basis, WHAT’S NEXT? 

Nutrition, is the key building block for any athlete to help them reach their goals. I would say 80% of new members that I meet with goals are to look better, and be leaner. Exercise is one variable to help us in that goal, but remember the old saying ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN? It is so true! If we want maximum results, we have to put just as much work in the kitchen as we do in the gym.

You may say, “But, April, you have no idea how my day goes!” I understand there are so many obstacles that can and will get in the way of eating healthy if you let them such as: work, home, kids, sports games, chores, tv, stress, and simply the craziness of every day.  How can we overcome all these obstacles? 

It’s simple, take all the guesswork out of it!

If you’re prepared when there’s no time in the week and your hectic life gets in the way, your results will be much greater.  How many times have you gone to the drive thru because of lack of time to cook? Believe me, I am right there with you! If we meal prep properly it can be easy as just grabbing it from the fridge!

My goal today is to simplify this process, give you some ideas on how to start meal prepping. Before I keep going, if you have the funds available and you want to take all this work out if it, hook up with Simply Prepared; they meal prep healthy, balanced meals and can deliver them directly to you – ready to toss in the oven!

This won’t be a complete guide and if you have any food allergies please take those under account before following this. If we can make meal prepping fun and is easy we can make it a habit! Here is a 4 step guide below to get you started!

STEP 1: CHECK YOUR CALENDAR.

How many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will you need for the upcoming week? Start by figuring out what meals you’ll need to prep for—factoring in things like dates, meals with clients, and travel. Knowing exactly when you’ll need meals and when you won’t helps you plan more efficiently and avoid wasting food.

STEP 2: MAKE A MENU.

Once you know how many meals you’ll need for the week, it’s time to decide what to eat. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

The protein should come primarily from lean options like chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, eggs, or Greek yogurt. For fat, think good sources like olive oil, canola oil, avocado, and nuts. And try to keep your carbs complex instead of refined. Brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, and whole wheat bread or pasta all work.

Get creative. Prepping a couple of ingredients in bulk is easier than cooking different ones for every night of the week. But eating the same stuff over and over is boring, so think about how you can utilize core ingredients in different ways. For instance, you can cut beef sirloin into cubes to make beef stew, slice it into thin strips for stir-fries or fajitas, or grill it like steak. Bell pepper and zucchini can be eaten raw with dip, tossed into salads, or added to stir-fries.

Take advantage of leftovers. There’s no rule that says you have to eat something different every day. One easy way to cut down on meal prep is by doubling your dinner recipe and bringing half for lunch the next day.

Keep it simple. You don’t have to cook like you’re on Top Chef. The less complicated your meals are, the easier it’ll be to prep them.

STEP 3: GO FOOD SHOPPING.

With your meals lined up, it’s time to make a grocery list and head to the store. Aim to do your big weekly shop on Saturday or early Sunday, so you have time to prep your ingredients before the work week begins. To get in and out as fast as possible, organize your grocery list by section (produce, meat, dairy, etc.). That way, you’re less likely to forget stuff or have to waste time backtracking.

BREAKFAST EXAMPLES:

Kodiak pancake mix (Crunchy pb butter my fav) @ Publix or Target
Turkey bacon (less fat than regular bacon)
Dave’s Killer Bread or Ezekiel Bread (found in the freezer section)
Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt

SNACK EXAMPLES:

0-0-0 Greek Yogurt, Fruit, prep packages of nuts, low fat cheese sticks, pretzel rods (with no fat), rice cakes, protein shakes

LUNCH/DINNER EXAMPLES:

Simply Prepared is a great option for fresh, easy, healthy dinners!
Check out  http://www.skinnytaste.com tons of healthy recipes with macros
Stick to leaner meats: Chicken, fish, lean steak cuts
Pre-make large batches of rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables

STEP 4: PREP AND PACK YOUR FOOD.

It’s worth blocking out time on the weekend to get your ingredients ready for weekday meal assembly. “Once the week starts, there’s a greater chance that the prep just won’t happen,” Roussell says. Here’s how to do it efficiently.

Prep your ingredients. No matter what’s on the menu, you can always find a way to prep it ahead of time.

Proteins: Roast, bake, or poach poultry, meat, or fish.

Produce: Steam or roast vegetables in a big batch, bake potatoes or sweet potatoes, and wash and chop raw fruits and vegetables for salads and snacking.

Grains: Simmer a big batch of rice that’ll feed you all week long.

Other components: Make sauces, dressings, or dips, and any other items on your list.

Assemble what you can. Toss hearty grain or bean salads, layer a casserole so you can pop it straight in the oven, and put solid ingredients for individual smoothies in zip-top bags so you can quickly throw them in the blender.

Store smart. Pack food in clear glass or plastic containers so you can access them easily and know exactly how much you have. (Refrigerate cooked ingredients you’ll use within 2 to 3 days; freeze the rest and thaw them later in the week.) Divide single servings of finished dishes into individual containers for easy portion control.

Pack up to-go meals. Things like wraps, sandwiches, and leafy salads can get soggy if they sit in the fridge all week. If you’re having those things for lunch, assemble them the night before.

There you have it – 4 simple steps to making healthy eating a bit more achievable, even on the busiest days!

You simply can’t out work a bad diet – but you can certainly out eat a good workout. Invest some time to set yourself up for success this week!

Need more help??  Schedule a Hungry for Help Consult today and let us give you some free guidance!