9Round Fitness Blog
Meal Prepping: 9 Tips to Help You Prep Like a Pro
Failing to plan is planning to fail – Alan Lakein. This is especially true where successful meal prepping is concerned. Not only can a week's worth of meal prep eat up an entire afternoon, but if done wrong, it can turn you off from the idea completely. Try winging it on the fly and you'll likely end up with mismanaged macros, forgotten veggies, or worse, dinner at McDonald’s. We’re here to keep that from happening.
For many people, meal prep has proven to be the key to reaching their fitness goals. When someone finally gets the hang of it, their results almost invariably go through the roof. Unfortunately, the whole process can prove overwhelming to the inexperienced, and even sometimes to meal prepping veterans. But meal prep doesn't have to be something you dread. Here are 9 tips to help you become a meal prep pro!
1. Make a Plan
Make a list of your favorite healthy foods, choose simple recipes that can be made quickly or in bulk, and decide what you’ll eat for every snack and meal. This step will get easier and faster with practice. Pro Tip: Make plans and save them for future use. Once you have a few meal prep menus in your arsenal, you can rotate them to keep things interesting.
2. Stick to Your Grocery List
Don’t let junk food sneak into your shopping cart. Not having it in the house means not having to use your willpower to avoid it. We’re not saying you shouldn’t treat yo’self. Just keep sweet treats and impulse buys to a minimum. By sticking to your list and by minimizing the impulse buys, you’ll help yourself reach your fitness goals faster (and save money in the process).
3. Don’t Forget About Your Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are your friend. Especially if you feel like you’re short on fruits and veggies, or you need a quick snack on the go. We suggest pre-portioning single servings into snack size sandwich bags and keeping them handy in your purse, car, or at your desk. Grab your shaker and add water and this is one healthy snack that you can take with you!
4. Keep Snacks Simple
When you’re cooking everything for the week at once, it’s important to keep things simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don’t require a lot of time to put together. Fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus are great choices.
5. Cook Foods All at Once
Roasting vegetables, sweet potatoes, and even chicken breasts all at once will save you time, and cut down on your utility bill. Imagine: all of your side dishes for the week…ready in about 30 minutes! Even better, throw your meat and veggies on the grill during grilling season and enjoy grilled meals all week long.
6. Look for Shortcuts
Buy pre-cut veggies and fruits, cooked lentils, or rotisserie chicken (minus the skin, of course). Tuna is an an easy no-cook protein to add to salads or snacks. Already have your oven on to roast veggies? Prep a dozen “hard boiled” eggs in one fell swoop. Set your oven to 325°, put whole eggs (in shell) in a muffin tin and bake them for 30 minutes. Carefully remove them from the tin and plunge in an ice bath until cool.
7. Mix Things Up
It can be tempting to just eat the same meals every day, but you’ll eventually get bored. Swapping out your protein source is a great way to add variety to your meal plan without a lot of extra work. Eat chicken with vegetables three nights of the week, and fish or tofu with vegetables the other two. Once you get the hang of it you can get more creative with your recipes.
8. Invest in Food Storage Containers
Making an investment in food containers of various sizes to suit your needs will make a world of difference when it comes time to portion out your meals. (Plus, we think food containers are fun!) Choose containers that are microwave and dishwasher safe, and buy several that stack and store neatly. If you decide to go all-in on the meal prep lifestyle, you might want to think about getting an insulated bag to tote your meals around.
9. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Remember, all of this meal prep – as cumbersome as it may seem sometimes – is for a purpose. When clean eating is as simple as reaching into the fridge for your lunch or dinner, you’ll be less tempted to stop for fast food or order takeout. Whether you do your meal prep for the week all ahead of time or just a few days at a time, doing so will help you reach your fitness goals faster!