You get to the gym. You kill your workouts. You reap the benefits of the physical activity and love every minute. But do you ever get frustrated because you find the nutrition portion of fat loss to be exhausting? Part of what intimidates people about food prepping is that it seems to take up so much of their free time.
You can still cook healthy food to keep in your fridge, enjoy time with your friends and family, get to work on time, exercise and you won’t have to sacrifice anything. When trying to lose fat or build muscle, having healthy food options on hand is extremely important—and it doesn’t have to take over your life. In fact, it should blend right in.
1. You’ll Save Money
For those who think eating healthy is way too expensive, think again. Meal prepping will save you money because you can buy items in bulk and take advantage of your freezer. When you set aside time to prep your food, think big in terms of volume.
Don’t be scared to buy five pounds of chicken instead of one. You can cook one pound at a time if you want to, and freeze the rest so it will always be ready to defrost. You can freeze fresh herbs, baked egg cups and cooked turkey meatloaf. Always stock up on staples when they’re on sale, such as olive oil, spices and mustard. Not only will cooking your own food save you money; it will save your waistline as well.
2. You Can Multitask
Meal prepping is perfect for busy individuals. Once you get the gist of it, it will be a non-negotiable. After making dinner and cleaning up, do you really want to take everything out again to make lunch? While dinner is cooking, pack food for the next day.
This simple task will help you cut time in the kitchen, and you will feel organized and ready to go for another day of clean eating. Also, don’t be afraid to fill your oven with different kinds of foods at once. For example, you can cook two pounds of chicken breast, three sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables and even eggs all at once.
3. Grocery Shopping Will Be Fun
Before heading to the store, be sure you have a list. Mark categories: veggies, fruits, proteins, frozen foods, dairy, grains and fats. Try to include at least one new food a week in each category. For instance, if you bought salmon last week, try another fish, such as haddock or swordfish.
All foods have different nutritional components, and your list should vary so your body doesn’t get too used to one way of eating. Making a list will eliminate buying sugary, processed food you don’t need. Try including one item in your cart that you will enjoy in moderation, such as organic dark chocolate.
4. You’ll Learn Portion Control
When focusing on weight loss or muscle gain, you should consider your calories in versus calories out. When you prep your food in advance, it’s a sure way of knowing what you are consuming. Preparing your own meals will give you insight into what a true portion of food is.
As we all know, most of the time the food in restaurants, even ‘healthy’ ones, are providing you with a way bigger portion. By paying attention to your own food when cooking, you will be less likely to overeat.
5. It’s Not All Or Nothing
Remember that you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen for meal prep to happen. Focus on one thing at a time, and nail it before overwhelming yourself with everything all at once.
If you want to ensure that your breakfast is a priority, focus on prepping some breakfast items such as egg cups, oats or a pre-made protein shake. Have vegetables pre-washed and cut; and the same goes for fruit. Start small: Once you master one small task, you will feel confident in moving on to prepping meals for an entire day.
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