For some of us, time can be a real barrier when it comes to nutrition. And although it may not work for everyone, meal prepping can be an extremely time-saving tool to help manage those busier days, and keep you in line with nutrient targets!
By incorporating meal prep into your weekly routine, you’re essentially building a habit in line with dietary goals. Considering what you’re going to eat in advance is a sure way of enabling you to stick to a specific plan to maintain consistency! It can also ensure that you’re acquiring certain food groups/nutrients into your diet that you require for health, performance and body composition. Initially, it will take time to A) plan the meals and B) cook the meals, but in the long term, it will save you time and energy thinking about what to have day to day. Quite often we can land home from work or training and feel too tired to start cooking from scratch.
Alternatively, if you already have the meal ready to throw into the microwave then you’re more likely to stick to your plan.
Tips for prepping meals
- Plan: Here consider what meals you would like to have for the coming week. Choose foods you enjoy, taste good and are easy to cook. You can keep it similar week to week or if you like trying new things, incorporate new foods/recipes. Aim to focus on nutrient intake, i.e., balancing meals with carbs, protein, and fat, and including various forms of foods to make up these nutrients. For example, if having chicken for dinner maybe opt for fish or beef for lunch.
- Make a list: You have your meals planned now it’s a case of writing out a list of the foods for the recipes you choose. This will include nutrient-dense snacks, enough fruit and vegetables for the week, cupboard staples like herbs, spices and foods you enjoy like biscuits or crisps, that will line up with your dietary intake!
- Pick a day: What day(s), will work best for you to 1. Do the shopping 2. Cook the meals. This is crucial in your planning process, and you can set aside a few hours to get the work done for the week!
- Purchase containers: This sounds simple, but can be forgotten. Consider, do you have enough containers to store all your foods? And are they appropriate i.e. not too big or small, don’t leak, suitable for freezing or putting in your work bag?
- Batch cooking: This is definitely the most time-consuming part of the process. And will differ for each individual, Consider when making your meals how many portions you need i.e., cooking for 3 days or 5, this will depend on what works for you. For example, if you eat the same overnight oats every morning, then instead of making each night could you make 5 portions in one go for the weekdays?
So, like everything this is completely individual but if you feel this is something that might work for you then why not give it a go?