This is the easy part to explain. Meal prepping takes away the hassle of cooking everyday, and gives you quality food on hand at every moment of the day. Although it takes a few hours to cut, cook, and clean everything, it is always worth it. It is especially beneficial when counting your macros. This allows all your food to be measured in the right amounts, and you no longer have to worry about portion sizes from restaurants.
With healthy, high quality food on hand, it eliminates the will power needed to choose a healthy place over your favorite fast food burger. As far as weight loss goes, it is difficult to choose a low calorie option at every one of your meals. Meal prepping takes all the thought out of eating, and leaves you with the right food, when you need it.
Meal prepping is difficult if you’re a bad cook. Which, if you are, I suggest you get better because living off fast food works in your 20’s, but what is going to happen when you have kids? Culinary skills are not difficult to learn. Read a book, or take a class, just get better at it. Prepping food begins at the grocery store, and ends with the right containers storing food. Here are some helpful tips to get you there:
Buy the Right Amounts
If you plan on having 6 oz of 90/10 turkey once a day for the entire week, then you should probably buy about 36 oz of it. I measure the meat raw, and then evenly divide it among the containers. Measuring it after cooking takes to long, so I measure 36 oz out, cook that, and then divide it into 6 different meals. But I make damn sure I bought at least 36 oz.
Cook the Right Amounts
This is more of an issue for rice than anything else. I measure my rice after cooking. It is measured in grams after cooking, so I need to make sure I cook cups of rice to give me the grams I need. Although it is time consuming, I make sure my carb intake is consistent around the time I need it.
Certain Foods Don’t Prep Well
Eggs are one of these. Although it may sound great to have your breakfast prepped every morning, eggs do not do well after being cooked. Another one of these is fish. Generally fish like salmon, will work for a few days here and there, but 4, 5, 6 days later, not so much. Just make sure that the meat you prep will be able to stay good for a few days.
Get the Right Containers
If you’re okay with everything tasting like beef, then by all means throw it in one container. However, if you would like your turkey and sweet potatoes to have distinct flavors, get containers that allow you to separate them. Also, if you plan on microwaving the containers, make sure you get microwave safe ones.
Start Small and Simple
Although you may get all excited about prepping 24 meals for the week, if you aren’t one to stick to things, I suggest you start slower. Prepping lunches for everyday of the week is a good starting point. Then add in dinners, and then add in whatever other meals you are going to have that week. Do not go overboard and spend 5 hours prepping just to never want to do it again.
Certain nutrients should be eaten at different times of the day. For example, a large amount of my carbs everyday are eaten directly after my workout. This is called nutrient timing, which although may only account for 5% of a great diet, can payoff dividends in the long run.
High carb days, moderate carb days, and light days. These are for the hard workout days, the average days, and the easy days. If I don’t workout on a certain day, there is no reason for me to have a high carb intake. My body is not going to use any of that.
Prep your protein powder. Although this may sound dumb at first, I prep my protein for everyday of the week. I try to get 35g of protein in my shake with half of it during my workout, and half of it coming after. Most protein scoops are 25g, and I am not going to measure out the right amount every single day. I also make sure my creatine is thrown into every container.
I hope this was remotely helpful. Happy prepping!