posted on January 20, 2017
I reached the point in my training where I realized that if I wanted to see real results, I had to deal with my diet. We’ve all been there: working out harder and harder each week, but never seeing a big change on the scale. The missing link is almost always our diet, and one of the best tricks for sticking to a healthy eating plan is learning to meal prep. Once or twice a week, make the time to get in the kitchen and pre-make a few meals. The easiest way to start is by prepping your lunches. That way you know your workday meal meets your nutritional needs and you don’t get stuck buying expensive (and often unhealthy) takeout. So, without further ado, my list of practical meal prep tips.
The most important aspect of meal prep success is having a plan! If you anticipate cooking on Sunday afternoon, take some time on Saturday to map out your meals for the following week. This sets you up for a successful shopping trip to buy all the things you need (and none of the things you don’t). Mini-tip: never go to the grocery store hungry. That’s how you end up with a cart full of chocolate and not much else.
I didn’t realize the importance of this until I had disorganized mounds of randomly sized tupperware literally falling out of my cupboards and drawers. Having a set of uniform tupperware will take a little bit of stress off when you’re right in the middle of cooking up all your food. You’ll thank me later. You can find lots of tupperware options on Amazon; this one is my favorite.
Included in this tip are rice cookers, pressure cookers or any other tech gadget that does the hard work for you while you leisurely sip coffee on the couch or do other fun things like nap. You can cook up whole meals in the crockpot, bulk prepare rice, or just prep all of your protein for the week with this ridiculously simple salsa chicken recipe.
While fresh produce is delicious, let’s be real: it’s Pittsburgh in the winter and that stuff just isn’t looking that good. Frozen veggies pack the same nutritional punch as fresh produce, but they’ll stay good for much longer and if you shop carefully, you’ll end up spending a bit less too. Frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness and immediately flash frozen, meaning it’s going to be even more fresh than what you find at the front of the store this time of year. Another bonus, it’s easy to mix and match frozen veggie options, so you’re not stuck eating broccoli all week long.
Have you been working on your meal prep skills for weeks and feel like you’re spinning your wheels? It’s probably time to call in the experts. Many of your Union Fitness staff members utilize nutrition coaches and we encourage all of our members to do the same! That’s why we made sure to include a personalized diet plan with for our 8-week challenge participants. Mike Dolce works with some of the country’s most successful athletes on their diets, and he’s putting a plan together for Union Fitness members that are tackling either the Strength Project or the Steel Revolution Spin Challenge. There’s still time to sign up for a challenge and get access to all the training and nutrition tools you need to meet your goals this year.
Take these tips and jump right in! We’ll be adding some of our favorite meal prep recipes to future blog posts, so keep an eye out. See you in the gym!