By Alissa Dresang, Certified Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield
I think we’ve all hit that wall at times after a long day’s work when we get home and just simply don’t want to devote the time and energy to make dinner. So, what do we do? Order takeout or throw in a frozen pizza. We are all guilty of this at some point or another, but it can be easily avoided by setting aside a couple of hours the weekend before. If you’re on the go, like myself, you will find that this makes life a lot easier.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘meal prepping,’ it’s simply the process of cooking and preparing food in bulk for the week ahead, and then eating those leftovers as each day goes by. Ugh, I know LEFTOVERS, right?? I promise it’s not bad at all. If it’s fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled chicken or fish, rice or quinoa, and anything else you like that fits into the cleaner eating category (and your containers ), it won’t get soggy and chewy like some leftover pastas and processed foods get.
Every Sunday after grocery shopping, I cook all of my chicken, fish, quinoa, and sweet potatoes, then cut veggies and fruit ahead of time and put everything into Tupperware or storage baggies for the following week, typically two meals for each day with 2 snacks. I usually have time to make my breakfast. Not only does this save you the stress, but also helps you stay on track with your eating. If Sundays are your day to relax, maybe pick two days to do your prepping. This way, it’s a little more spaced out and a little less stress on you.
Everyone’s choices are going to be different, so what you prep may be different than what your friends choose to make. For the big meals, think Starch + Protein + Vegetable and any healthy snacks you’d like to throw in; whether they be almonds, peanut butter & apples, or whatever else that meets your taste and nutritional needs.
Keep in mind that this is not necessarily the time to add salt and sauces and dressings, but to use light seasonings and spices where you need them. Homemade marinades for things such as chicken are also great, as it gives you some good variety throughout the week.
Last but not least, remember portion control. Even eating healthy food includes eating in moderation. Carbohydrates and healthy fats, although important for your nutrition, can have negative effects should you choose to eat larger quantities than what the serving size recommends.
With meal prep, all you have to do is heat it up and you’re ready to eat, and it can actually be fun if you get the entire family involved. Plus, it’s more of a hassle to get in your car and drive somewhere to eat anyway.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.