A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Weight loss has become an obsession – not just in the U.S., but all over the world. LOL Living would just not be complete if I did not include healthy body composition as a part of a full and joyful lifestyle. But notice that I did not say weight loss. I said healthy body composition. If you lead with health, all the rest will follow. You will also notice that I said lard and not fat…that was by design. By my definition, lard is the excess adipose tissue that impacts your health. Fat is a living “organ” that is critical to our wellbeing and gives us some of the curves that make us beautiful. We do not want to lose fat, we only want to lose “lard.”
If we all want to lose our lard, what is the most common excuse for not eating right? Time. We never have enough time to spend on exercise or preparing healthy meals. A 2014 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that people who spent time on meal planning had a much higher quality and variety in their diet. What if 2 hours per week would ensure that you had ready access to healthy meals whenever you wanted it? That is where meal prep comes into play. Most restaurants do not start from scratch when they cook your meal, they already have sauces made, vegetables chopped and meat prepared. Why not implement those strategies in your own kitchen?
Choose any day that works for you (I like Saturday or Sunday) and set aside 2 hours to prep your food for a week. It sounds intimidating, but it can be done. Once you get used to it, I dare say you will never look back. Here are some basic steps to get you started:
- Have a preprinted standard grocery list that you can quickly plan out your shopping
- If you have special meals that you want to make, put those on your shopping list. If not, the select some vegetables and protein, for example, that you can prep for simple, no recipe meals
- Be sure to stock up on freezer and pantry items that help expand your meals such as:
- Frozen vegetables
- Healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil)
- Frozen fruit
- After shopping, prep items and store them in glass containers in your refrigerator until you need them.
- Chop vegetables for the week including salad vegetables and vegetables for stir fry. You can blanch the vegetables quickly in boiling water before storing to shorten the cooking time
- Roast a spaghetti squash or spiralizer your favorite vegetable to make a lower calorie and veggie full “pasta” dish later in the week
- Cook potatoes and sweet potatoes in a slow cooker
- Pre-cook grains such as brown rice or quinoa
- Brown ground meat (beef, bison, veal, chicken, turkey, pork)
- Grill or roast chicken breasts and or thighs
- Make a few dressings or sauces
- During the week, when you do not feel like you have time to cook, pull out some precooked meat, vegetables, quinoa and a sauce and heat it in the oven while you get in a few laps around the block of some squats and pushups! You will have a delicious dinner in no time. Similar principles apply to breakfast and lunch. If you plan, it is easy to stay on track with healthy foods.
- When you have more than 2 hours to spend, here are some other things you can consider doing that will pay off later
- Make a large batch of stew or chili and package and freeze it in appropriate sized servings.
- When you make a batch of meatballs, double the batch and freeze some to be cooked later
- Make omelet muffins and freeze for a quick grab and go breakfast
The choices are truly endless. Try it and make up your own variations. The key is to take a little bit of time to prepare items that can be used in multiple meals.
What if you don’t relish the idea of 2 hours in the kitchen? Make it fun!
- Turn on the radio. It may take a little longer to chop those veggies, but dancing while you work is always fun!
- Listen to an audiobook. How often do you wish you had more time to read? Why not “read” while you cook?
- Make it a family affair. Recruit your spouse or children to help you in the kitchen. Quality time and healthy meals are a win-win!
- Call a loved one and put them on speaker while you chop. You might inspire them to start meal prepping!
- Watch a movie! Ok, mostly listen to a movie but it is still a lot of fun
- Invite your friends over and make a party of it. Everybody chops and cooks and then you share the food among you. More friends means more variety of food!
If you need more ideas to get you started on your meal prepping, contact me and let me tell you how a health coach can really add value to your health and well being.