All About Meal Prep: Your Guide to Eating Smarter
Every day more and more people are becoming conscientious about the food they eat. They are choosing to eat healthier food in smarter portions. However, eating healthy usually takes up a lot of time and might costs more. If you are not finding enough time to cook your meals every day or want to save some money while eating healthy, meal prepping might be the perfect solution for you.
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is simply the act of preparing your meals ahead of time. Instead of making a meal every night, meal preppers will plan their diet for the week and prepare everything in one day. After making their dinners, they will distribute their meals in meal prep containers. Think of it as having a fridge stocked full of TV dinners, except with much healthier and fresher ingredients that you get to choose.
There are many key benefits of meal prepping. The first and most obvious benefit is the time you will save. If you prep all your meals on a Sunday, you will not have to worry about cooking after you come home from work throughout the week (after all, who wants to do that?) Another main benefit, is the portion control aspect of the meal prepping. Portion controlling your meals will allow you to save money by reducing the unnecessarily large portions most Americans are used to eating, this will, in turn, help you lose weight. Lastly, meal prepping requires that you plan your meals in advance thus reducing the chances of you indulging your urges and grabbing that unhealthy snack from your fridge.
How to Get Started
Before you get started meal prepping, you will need to define your goal. There are many reasons why people choose to meal prep which will affect what kind of meals you prep. Here are some of those reasons:
- Save Money
- Lose Weight
- Build Muscle
- Save Time
Your Materials Checklist
Your goal will ultimately help you decide what kind of meals you will be prepping for. There are some materials you will need before getting started:
- Meal Prep Containers – These usually come in one, two, or three-compartment glass containers or plastic Bento Boxes.
- A Meal Prep Bag – To take your prepped meals to work with you.
- A Fitbit – or any other fitness tracker. This is useful for tracking how many calories you intake and how many you burn throughout the day.
- A Calendar – To help you keep track of what meals you should eat and when.
- A Workout plan – If you plan to use meal prepping to help you lose weight, you should also come up with a workout plan to help you achieve your goals.
What Kind of Food Do I Prep?
There are many meal prep recipes available online, keep an eye on our blog as we post some of our favorites. In this article, we are focusing on the basics of meal prep.
There are usually three types of food groups that are common to most healthy, nutritious meal prep recipes. When meal prepping try to include at least one protein, one carb, and some veggies in all your meals. In the list below, we go over some healthy ingredients that you can mix and match to create a variety of healthy meals.
- The Protein – This is usually the meat of your meal. It can be a chicken breast, turkey, salmon, tuna, or any other meat you like. For those vegetarian meal preppers, common protein alternatives for meat include beans, potatoes, and eggs.
- The Carb – If you are on a low-carb diet, you can skip this one. Common carbs that are perfect for meal prepping are sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa, rice, and many
- The Veggies – Lastly, you will want your meal to have greens. Since your meal will be sitting in your fridge for several days, you will want to pick veggies that are known to keep their freshness. Meal preppers love to include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, green beans, and snap peas in their recipes.
We will dive into more details in our next article.Check out FIT, Strong & Healthy homepage for all your meal prep essentials.