02 Jul Meal planning and prepping
According to an article in Psychology Today, you make roughly 35,000 choices per day. It also estimated that if 7 hours of your day are sleeping then that averages out to about 2,000 choices per waking hour. Is your mind blown yet? Even if that’s an overestimate, I’d say an opportunity to plan and reduce the need to make choices about a healthy habit, like proper nutrition, would be fantastic.
One of the best ways to take the chance out of making a healthy choice when it comes to food is to set yourself up for success in terms of balanced nutrition by utilizing meal planning and food prep. There are many approaches and ideas on the internet. Keeping it simple and basic by using the protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable meal planning template can serve as a flexible guide to planning wisely. Additionally, there are free and paid for programs available online to eliminate the time spent planning.
In an article from Harvard School of Public Health some benefits of meal prep include:
- Can help save money
- Can ultimately save time
- Can help with weight control, as you decide the ingredients and portions served
- Can contribute to an overall more nutritionally balanced diet
- Can reduce stress as you avoid last minute decisions about what to eat, or rushed preparation
- Take inventory of what you have on hand and decide which recipes you want to make.
- Create a grocery list.
- Choose some options that you can freeze.
- Set aside at least 1-2 hours of uninterrupted time.
- Wash your produce and pre-chop veggies the day before you meal prep.
- Start with a clean kitchen.
- When all of the food is prepped, organize your refrigerator.
- If you’re pressed for time, keep it short and sweet.
- Cooked foods that are destined for the freezer should be placed in the refrigerator to completely cool.
- Start with the items that take the longest.
The creator of SkinnyTaste, posts FREE, weekly meal plans that provide the meal and recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Check out her weekly plans here.
Another approach is Cook Once, Eat All Week. You can read more about it and try 4 weeks free here.
Harvard School of Public Health also shares a guide to getting started:
- Choose a specific day of the week to: 1) plan the menu, whether week by week or for the whole month, and write out your grocery list 2) food shop, 3) do meal prep, or most of your cooking. Some of these days may overlap if you choose, but breaking up these tasks may help keep meal planning manageable.
- As you find favorite ‘prep-able’ meals, or your menus become more familiar and consistent, watch for sales and coupons to stock up on frequently used shelf-stable ingredients like pasta, rice, and other whole grains, lentils, beans (canned or dried), jarred sauces, healthy oils, and spices.
- On your meal prep day, focus first on foods that take the longest to cook: proteins like chicken and fish; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and farro; dried beans and legumes; and roasted vegetables.
- Also consider preparing staple foods that everyone in the family enjoys and which you can easily add to a weekday meal or grab for a snack: washed greens for a salad, hard boiled eggs, a bowl of chopped fruit, cooked beans.
- If you prefer not to pre-cook proteins, consider marinating poultry, fish, or even tofu on your prep day so that you can quickly pop them into the oven or stir-fry later in the week.
- Multi-task! While foods are baking or bubbling on the stovetop, chop vegetables and fresh fruit, or wash and dry salad greens for later in the week.
- When you cook a recipe, make extra portions for another day or two of meals, or to freeze for a different week. Be sure to date and label what goes in the freezer so you know what you have on hand.
- For lunches, get a head-start and use individual meal containers. Divide cooked food into the containers on prep day.
Exercise/Workout Spotlight:The fitness assessment at our first and last workout is a valuable tool to provide you with a straightforward snapshot of what you can accomplish in a few key exercise areas and measure your progress over our seven weeks of boot camp. Your coach/trainer chooses these areas.
Workout/Exercise Spotlight: The Core Add-On
This boot camp session, we are focusing on the benefits and gains from stacking bite sized movements into your day. Here’s the plan – Week 1: 10 plank-toe taps. Each day this week, drop down and give us 10 plank-toe taps. Next week, we’ll throw another exercise into the mix to crank out along with your daily prescription of 10 plank-toe taps. Hence the term, “add-on.” Stick with us. It will be worth it.