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By Shane Young | February 4, 2019 |
Easy-breezy meal prep doesn’t have to be intimidating. With just a few pro tips and the right inspiration, you can be one of “those” people posting #goals pics of all your meals for the week, lined up in environmentally friendly glass containers that show off what a boss you are when it comes to making healthy choices.
Meal prep is like getting a great deal on everyone’s most desirable things–wellness and nutrition. Once you realize how much time, money, and energy you can save just by being positive and proactive, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without making meal prep your favorite hobby.
1) Ready, set, meals-on-the-go!
The best part about meal prep is knowing that you can go for days at a time without worrying about what to eat. With meal prep, you’ve made all of those decisions in advance, and then you can literally just eat your rewards!
You’ll be surprised how quickly your new habits stick, one you get into the swing of things and see how much time you’re NOT wasting trying to figure out what to do while your stomach is growling.
And once you start seeing results — less on your waistline and more in your bank account — you’ll have all the incentive you need to stick with your new meal prep lifestyle. Simply listen to your body about when you’re actually hungry, then pop open your prepacked perfection with no stress and no mess!
2) Take control
Depending on whether you’re trying to stick with a specific food program (like paleo, keto, whole 30, gluten-free, vegan), and depending on your personal preferences, meal prep is an opportunity to take complete control of what you put into your body, AND to make it a fun challenge!
At first think of it as an experiment, and you’ll quickly find out what makes the most sense for you and keeps your taste buds most interested. We’ve found that emphasizing heartier roasted veggies like cauliflower and sweet potatoes works better than trying to keep leafy greens from getting wilted, and we’ve also found that almost all veggies go great with organic, lean ground meats and your favorite seasonings. Quinoa also travels well, as do nuts and seeds.
Here’s a hot tip: Last night’s dinner makes for a great quick breakfast, and this morning’s breakfast might taste even better for dinner. When it comes to eating healthy around the clock, limit your carbs, not your creativity!
3) Make a date of it!
Your SF personal trainers at Ascend Body recommend not doing all your shopping and prepping on the same day, which can leave you exhausted. Instead, gather your groceries on one day, then pick another day to honor your health, discipline, and dedication by prepping a week’s worth of your meals all at once.
And you can always multitask to keep yourself entertained while meal prepping. Listening to your favorite fitness-related podcast keeps your motivation up while you’re chopping up all the ingredients you’ll need to prep once and enjoy later, again and again.
4) Better by the batch
If chopping and hanging out in the kitchen isn’t your favorite thing, consider getting a slow-cooker. It’s every meal prepper’s best friend because you can just “set it and forget it,” adding whatever kinds of proteins and spices you like most. With just a little bit of effort up front, delicious meals can always be waiting for you whenever you wake up or whenever you get home from work.
Whether you choose chili, meatballs, stews, or soups, you can pre-pack a week’s worth of meals from a single slow-cooker pot, and know that your dishes will only get more flavorful as your leftovers sit in the fridge, ready for your next hunger pang.
Paleo slow cooker recipes aren’t hard to find, but here’s a best-seller to get you started. And you can always swap your favorites with your small group fitness friends at Ascend. Keep things interesting by getting a rotation of go-to recipes going!
5) Conquering your snack attacks
And then there’s those impulse moments we all have, when we just want something crunchy or sweet or salty, or all of the above.
Maybe those cravings come when you’re trying to get through your afternoon meetings, or after a night of hanging out with friends, but having some pre-selected, pre-portioned goodness right at your fingertips can really save you from yourself.
Try putting some paleo granola or coconut chia pudding in your bag for your sweet tooth, or try always keeping hard boiled eggs in the front of your fridge. You’ll be so grateful that you read this article and got yourself together before ordering a pizza or stopping at the convenience store for a pint of ice cream!
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