Meal prepping is an easy, convenient way to stay on track with your fitness and nutritional goals. Is it as easy as everyone says? Can I do it on a budget? Do I have to give up my Sunday? Yes, yes, and no. Let’s go into more detail and answer these questions completely.
Meal prepping can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. When we boil it down to the simplest of terms, meal prepping is just a tool to help you stay on track. One of the most common and prevalent obstacles when dieting is unnecessary snacking. When we get hungry in the office, we go to the kitchen and grab whatever is the most convenient. Unfortunately, the most convenient thing is usually the sweets leftover from last week’s birthday. A better strategy is to prepare a small, protein packed snack that is going to keep us full until it’s time to go home.
As our Body Elite trainers have most likely said before, small steps can help achieve big goals. Starting with just prepping a healthy snack can make things easy. If we chose that snack over the donut consistently for a month, we’ve cut plenty of empty calories.
If we want to take it a step further we can prep entire meals. For those that skip breakfast, maybe prep something the night before. If you go out to lunch every day for work, prep something to save calories and money.
This segues nicely into our next question. Can we do this on a budget? Absolutely. Think back to our college days. How glad were we when we went home and got to eat mom’s home cooking and even better, getting to take the leftovers back to campus. We can apply this to our lives’ now. Take whatever leftovers you had from the night before, put them in a container, and heat them up the next day. If your household is anything like mine, there usually isn’t much food leftover. You can still stay on budget by being smart about our food. Using coupons obviously helps save some money. One strategy that I like to utilize is to buy a couple of rotisserie chickens. This can save time on cooking and they are also very cost effective sources of protein.
Our final question is an important one. We hear it all the time in the gym. “I don’t have time to workout.” We know this is false. What if you don’t have time to meal prep? What if I don’t want to give up my Sunday? This sounds almost as ridiculous as not having time to workout. Like I said earlier in the article using leftovers as next day’s lunch or using rotisserie chicken can save you precious time. Using steam bags to cook veggies in the microwave is easier than over the stove or the oven. Canned beans are also a great way to get in your carbs and protein. You might be thinking, why not buy a TV dinner or something and heat it up? The answer: even the tv dinners labeled as ‘healthy” are oftentimes overly processed and pack with salt. Not to mention they don’t taste as good.
Of course, if you wish to cook on the grill for example or if you want to get a little more elaborate with your meals, more time will need to be taken. Some of us may have that time and patience. Recipes are all over the internet that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Do your research and develop a strategy that saves you time and produces nutritious meals.
Meal-prepping can seem like a daunting task but in reality is actually quite easy. Using some of the strategies discussed, you can make meal prep easy, fun, and cost effective.