As we determined last week in the article So why should you plan your meals? your body composition results (weight loss and fat loss) comes 80% from your diet and nutrition.
That old saying ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’, is so true, particularly when applied nutrition. Therefore having those meals planned ahead of time seems to be the key to staying on track with your nutrition.
So would you like to take the next step and meal prep your food for even more convenience and compliance?
Here are my favourite tips for fast and efficient meal prepping!
PLAN: Plan plan plan!
My first tip is to write out your plan! (Click here to download my weekly meal planner!). from your plan, create a shopping list.
TIME: Split your food prep to keep it manageable.
Keep in mind that fresh fruit and vegetables will probably only be at their best for 3-4 days. That is why I like to split my food prep into two food preps per week. One on a Sunday, then another on Wednesday or Thursday. This also makes the food prepping a bit more manageable and less time consuming! I also like everything fresh.
PREP: You don’t have to cook every meal on your meal prep day!
Sometimes prepping doesn’t have to involve cooking a whole meal and eating out of a container for the whole week. Prepping can mean pre-cutting your veggies or other ingredients ready to cook. Having snacks divided and ready to grab and go. Making a batch of snacks, like protein balls or banana loaf, so that you have food readily available. Remember if you do decide to freeze foods, think about how they taste when they are then reheated. Things like soups, bakes and casseroles work well to freeze and reheat, but stir-fry’s do end up soggy, and egg doesn’t take to freezing too well either.
Its easy and quick to cook a meal when everything is ready to go.
INVEST: Invest in some good containers and invest your time.
Spend an hour or so of your time a few times a week to give yourself and your family the best nutrition available to you, invest in your health and vitality, invest in less stress.
Good containers that fit in your fridge also make life less frustrating! Haha :)
What my prep looks like…
I will prep for about three days.
Meal 1: Eggs and stir fry veggies. I cut up all of my veggies and put it into a small container ready to cook. Eggs are easy to cook, I will either scramble or fry my eggs and then stir fry my veggies and its made in a few minutes. If I have trained I may have a slice of toast with this meal.
Meal 2: Fruit and yoghurt. I cut up and potion my fruit and then just add to a few tbsp. of yoghurt and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds when I am ready to eat it.
Meal 3: Tofu and stir fry veggies. I have my tofu cut up, and I usually will use frozen stir fry veggies for convenience. And I will make 1 stir fry for three servings and place the other two servings into containers in the fridge ready to heat up.
Meal 4: Smoothie. I blend together berries, spinach, chia seeds, avocado, protein powder, nuts, and almond milk or water and a date or two. I will then take this to have at work.
Meal 5: Veggie sticks and hummus. Veggies are all cut up and divided into sandwich bags, and dip divided, ready to grab and go out of the fridge. I also have this at work.
Meal 6: When I get home about 8:30pm I will have some tea before bed, and sometimes a tsp of coconut butter or a square or two of dark chocolate.
And that is my base. If I am hungry throughout the day I will eat another meal, and I add some unprocessed carbs such as a banana or sweet potato to a meal if I have trained.
For any recipe ideas, I have a few in my blog and also some recipe ebooks to purchase.
There is no debate that your body composition results (weight loss and fat loss) comes 80% from your diet and nutrition.
You may have all the right intentions, but how well do you stick to healthy eating?
A few early decisions during the week can eliminate hours of work, (or bad decisions... hello takeaway/ chocolate/ chips and dip) which can be the difference between success or failure.
How many times have you skipped breakfast because you woke up late, had a coffee and whatever you could grab for lunch, gone about your day busily (either/ and/ or - working, picking up the kids, running errands) come home ravenous and eaten the pantry out of snacks and now the thought of dinner makes you feel overwhelmed and rather sick?
With every intention of eating well, you even have the ingredients in your fridge, but IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN. Why?!... you ask yourself. You then slouch on the couch exhausted, wine/ cheese/ chocolate in hand and admit defeat... again.
But guess what! That’s where meal planning straightens out your day smoother than your nana’s ironed and folded socks!
Even having each day partially planned, can set you up for effortless progress for the whole week. (Click here to download my weekly meal planner!)
So why should you plan your meals?
Do you have five minutes?
If you do, write down your plan and set yourself up for success
Next week, we delve into tips on how to efficiently meal prep!
Green vegetables are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and chlorophyl, they are fabulous for keeping our bones strong, and are also relatively low in calories.
Greens are also great source of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties to boost our immune systems and fight off bacteria and disease, and contain fibre which is great for our digestive health.
According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, adults should be consuming 5-6 servings of vegetables and legumes per day. 1 serve is approximately equivalent to 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, 1/2 cup of lentils and beans, or 1 cup of leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale.
Most Australians don't meet their requirements everyday, however vegetables, in particular greens are a corner stone to our health.
Here are a few ways to increase your vegetable intake daily:
Add some greens to your smoothie
Spinach and Kale are great in smoothies. You can hardly taste them and its easy to get a cup in there. 1 serve done!
Include veggies at breakfast
Stack your omelette full of veggies, add sides of mushroom and avocado, grate carrot or zucchini into your oats, add spinach to protein pancakes (see recipe below).
Eat a salad at every meal
Make sure you have a cup of salad at lunch and dinner. Its a small side, with all the important vitamins and minerals that will help you feel amazing.
Grate and Add
Grate up any vegetable, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, leafy greens, and add to pasta dishes, frittata and quiches, homemade muffins, hamburgers... anything!
Eat three different vegetables at dinner
A variety of vegetables will give you a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Aim for a serving of greens, then a serving of red and yellow.
I really encourage you to eat as many vegetables as you can, particulary greens, aiming for a minimum of 5 serves. You will be amazed at how great you feel, and also begin to crave them if you miss them for a few days.
Try my Spinach Protein Pancakes Recipe!
Spinach Protein Pancakes
3 cups spinach leaves
2 scoops vanilla protein
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1 pinch baking powder
2 tbsp coconut yoghurt
2 tsp honey
2 tsp chai seeds
2 sprinkles of coconut flakes
Coconut oil (for cooking)
In a blender, blend the together the spinach, eggs, protein, almond milk, coconut flour, flax meal and baking powder until smooth.
Heat coconut oil in a fry pan over a moderate heat.
Divide the pancake mixture into four, spoon into the pan and cook the pancakes on each side until brown.
To serve, stack two pancakes on your plate, top with a tbsp of coconut yoghurt, a tsp of honey, and chia seeds and coconut flakes sprinkled on top.
One of my clients this week said to me, 'I don't like cooking, but I want to eat well because I want a toned and healthy body. What do you suggest?'
Well, although my number one answer is prepare your food for three days then you're only cooking twice a week. But not everyone is as strict on food prep as me. Sometimes it doesn't happen routinely and you have a few days before you prepare the next lot.
So that got me thinking of different 'fast food' places and the options out there for when you can't be bothered, or for whatever reason can't cook at home. Here are a few things that I have thought of off the top of my head...
• BBQ chicken and salad - No brainer! Remove the skin and you even have enough for a few meals.
• Microwave rice, single sachet frozen veggies, marinated tofu (heat in the microwave)
• Tuna, avocado, salad, rye wraps.
Easy snacks - good for work!
• Chobani plain yoghurt, seed mix, fresh berries.
• Carrot, celery, hummus dip.
• Avocado, lean ham, tomato, on a ryvita.
• Low carb protein bar or drink
Avoid the 'meal' - chips and calorie containing drinks ie juice, soft drink, vitamin water...
• Grilled chicken wrap, hold the cheese.
• Pita wrap, again hold the cheese.
• Chicken thighs/ tenderloins and side salad.
• Lean meat and salad bowl (don't choose the cheese and add some pineapple, yum!)
• '6 grams of fat or less' option 6 inch sub. Hold the cheese.
FISH & CHIPS
• Grilled fish
• Grilled chicken burger or wrap (make sure the chicken is breast, not a processed something that could resemble real chicken burger)
• Steak sandwich. Leave out the bacon, egg is good! Throw out the top piece of bread and eat it like an open sandwhich.
• Salad bar!!! they always have salad options like a Greek salad or Caesar salad with chicken. Just hold the cheese and anchovies, and dressing on the side. (you can include anchovies, this is just my go to order haha!)
• Vegetarian pizza with chicken.
Avoid tempura and crispy varieties...
• Rice paper rolls
THAI / CHINESE / NOODLE BOX
Go for lean meat, plain sauces (avoid peanut, sticky, honey varieties), and portion controlled plain rice.
• Thai beef salad
• Stir fry veggies and prawn, chicken, beef. Avoid noodles.
• Wonton soup
And the ugly... If in desperation...
Mc DONALD'S/ HUNGARY JACKS
Don't order the fries and soft drinks.
• Seared/ grilled chicken burgers and wraps and salads
If you must...
• Whopper junior
These are just a few things that I can think of quickly. There are lots of options out on the streets like sandwhich bars, sumo salad bars, boost juice etc. But what it really comes down to is common sense, self discipline and portion control. Avoid the 'meal deals' with chips and sugary drinks, go for fresh over fried, check food labels and look at calories, protein, fats and sugars.
To round it up, everything in moderation is what makes a balanced diet balanced. Pick your meals where you splurge, and choose something you really enjoy having. Your body doesn't lie, the 90/10 rule will keep you in shape ☺.