MEAL PREPPING 101: HOW, WHY AND WHEN
Time to read 3 min
Time to read 3 min
If you're working towards achieving specific health, wellness, or fitness goals, then you've likely heard a thing or two about the benefits of meal prepping. As with any goal you're serious about achieving, setting yourself up for success by preparing for those busy days ahead of time may be just what you need to stay on track.
When it comes to achieving specific weight or body composition goals, generally speaking, the 80/20 rule applies. 80% diet and 20% exercise! The importance of maintaining a balanced diet to fuel your body is generally underestimated, and unfortunately, people often give up before learning their goals rely heavily on the quality of their nutrition. This is where meal preparation can be a real game-changer. Let's take a closer look at the benefits of meal prep.
Don't love doing overtime in the kitchen every day? So many of us are on the same page, especially when juggling daily duties, work, and social commitments. While the initial time investment into meal prep can be a little overwhelming, the rewards of having more time on your hands during those busy mornings and nights are totally worth it!
It's no secret we've all made poor food choices when we're overly hungry or, in some cases, hangry! Takeaway, overeating, and an unbalanced plate can sabotage your goals and leave you feeling less than average. Meal prepping in advance alleviates the need for those last-minute convenient yet unhealthy food choices, along with taking the guesswork out of what you're unknowingly consuming. Meal prep also encourages you to eat well-proportioned meals that align with your recommended daily macronutrient intake!
Grocery shopping for planned and calculated meals that support your budget may help to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket. How? Take time to create a detailed shopping list and head to the grocery store with an exact list of what you need for your meal prep, including how many grams of each item. This will minimise purchasing unnecessary items and spending money on takeaway during those nights when you may be a little unprepared. The ASN Life 60 Day Challenge takes all of the guesswork out for you by providing a personalised goal-supporting meal plan and detailed shopping list. Easy as!
Eating meals full of nutritious and balanced ingredients support all aspects of our physical, mental, and emotional health. Learning the nutritional value of the foods you prepare will soon become second nature when you're faced with an unexpected evening out with friends or a backyard BBQ on the holidays. You'll develop a better idea of recommended portion sizes, and food group servings, as well as what's hidden in those foods you thought were healthy. All of which will support you to make informed meal decisions when you're unprepared.
Meal prep looks different for everyone. If preparing 3-5 meals and snacks per day is a little much, start with 1-2 meals, such as lunch and dinner. This will help free up your time to do more of what you love, like getting to the gym, studying, or getting in a long snooze!
Preparing meals for multiple days may not seem appealing if you prefer to cook fresh meals each day... and that's ok! Instead of cooking your meals in bulk, try organising just your ingredients instead. For example, if your dinners for the week include abundant fresh vegetables, try preparing them ahead of time and store them in the fridge in an airtight container or ziplock bag for when you're ready to cook.
Love the thought of meal prepping but are short on fridge and freezer space? It's time to get smart. Instead of using plastic containers that use unnecessary space, put your meals or ingredients in ziplock bags, write the date it was made, and stack it flat in the fridge or freezer. While it might sound a tad untraditional, anything you'd put in a container can also work in a ziplock bag (including smoothies).
Whether you're feeling a little peckish, short on time, or unprepared, it's always helpful to have a backup plan! Load up your pantry with canned veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains to snack on, or to throw an easy meal together. We all have days where our energy is low, so keeping yourself accountable by being prepared for possible setbacks will help keep you on track to reach your goals.
There's truth to the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, " especially regarding health and wellness goals. Meal preparation is just another part of the journey! Kicking your week off with planned meals, a fresh mindset, and strong intentions is a great way to keep on track towards smashing your body goals. For more information reach out to our friendly online team or head in-store to one of our 34 Australian ASN stores.