Top 4 Time Saving Meal Prep Ideas
Meal planning is the most effective approach to reaching your fitness goals regardless of your age or current fitness level. Whether you are a working professional or a stay at home mom, you will find that planning your meals is the most realistic way to align your lifestyle with your goals. Unfortunately, the number one excuse for poor eating habits is not having enough time. Instead of leaving your health and nutrition in the hands of the nearest vending machine, break room freebie, or take out menu, plan ahead with these 4 tips:
- Meal Prep Once or Twice a Week– If you have never meal prepped, you have not realized the impact of clean eating towards reaching your physique goals. No matter how hard you work out or how often you exercise, you cannot compete with what you eat. Meal prepping is as simple as follows and only needs to be done 1-2 times a week. This not only saves time and money, but ensures you stay on track towards your fitness goals:
- Grocery Shop on the weekend and purchase 1-2 sources of lean protein, 1-2 sources of complex carbohydrates, and the veggies of your choice.
- Prepare your proteins, carbs, and veggies in bulk. Baking these items simultaneously for varied time durations as needed on a non-stick baking trays is the fastest way to get all your foods cooked.
- Portion out your meals based on your macronutrient goals into Tupperware containers. If you don’t know what ratios and what amounts to prepare, it is recommended to consult with a nutritionist or to purchase a customized meal plan for your physique goals. However a good starting point that will help most people get started is a ratio of 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fats.
- Store your prepped meals in your fridge for 3-4 days and purchase a large lunch cooler to transport your meals daily. It is recommended to stock basics such as tea, plastic cutlery, a protein shaker cup, and low-sodium condiments in your lunch bag.
- Set an eating schedule and stick to it– Determine which meals you will be eating on the go and have a set plan for what you will eat at those times. It’s not enough to intend to eat right. If you are new to meal planning it is recommended to set at alarm on your phone every 2-3 hours or as your work schedule allows as a reminder to eat. Even the busiest people who have to be on their feet all day at work are able to fit in 6 daily meals when they are prepared ahead of time. If there are any uncertainties whether or not your employer will allow you to eat at 2-3 hour intervals, you will find that most employers are flexible and reasonable enough to support your health and fitness goals.
- Stock Convenient Foods– Always keep quality, non-perishable foods in your desk drawer, purse, or lunch bag for when you just can’t step out to eat due to a demanding schedule. Examples include:
- Whey Protein Isolate (Recommended: Muscle Gauge Nutrition)
- Meal Replacer Protein Shake (Recommended: Muscle Gauge Nutrition Gauge Lean MRP)
- Raw Unsalted Almonds
- Oatmeal Packets
- Canned Tuna
- Rice Cakes
- Nut Butter
- Quest Bars
- Have a list of “go-to” take-out meals– While meal prepping in your kitchen is the ideal, for those days when you simply are behind, one should always have a contingency plan of foods that are readily available that you can pick-up while staying on track towards your fitness goals.
- Take-Out Sushi- Brown Rice Rolls with Tuna, Salmon, Cucumber, or Avocado.
- Take-Out Chinese- Steamed Chicken or Shrimp with Mixed Vegetables with Brown Rice
- Convenience Store- 4 Hardboiled Eggs + Piece of Fruit or Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
- Convenience Store- Muscle Milk
- Convenience Store- Muscle Milk Light + Clif Bar
- Salad with topped Chicken, Shrimp, or Salmon (dressing on the side, no baguette).
- Wraps instead of sandwiches with thick and heavy breads
Christine Hronec is the Owner and food scientist of Gauge Girl Training LLC, an online meal planning, training, and coaching service; and also the owner of Gauge Life LLC, a dietary supplement based out of Philadelphia.