Meal Prep 101
Meal prepping saves a significant amount of time and money—ultimately making your life less stressful. The task seems daunting at first, but once you adopt the meal-prep lifestyle, there will be no going back to everyday cooking. To get you started, we’ve outlined a comprehensive guide on how to successfully prep a week’s worth of food.
1. Prepare a Menu
The foundation for meal prep Sunday is knowing what you want to make—keeping it simple, yet nutritious. But if you’re lacking a little inspiration, grab a cookbook and check out some recipes online. Your goal for a meal is to have it cover all your macros: protein, carbs, and fat.
2. Create a Grocery List
Once the meals are established, start mapping out your grocery list. It will make your trip to the grocery store that much easier. Staples that should make the cut are lean meats and fish, complex carbs like brown rice, dark, green vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado. Also be mindful of grabbing your local store’s weekly shopper, showcasing deals, and start clipping coupons.
3. Gather Your Tupperware
Investing in some well-made Tupperware is recommended so that you don’t have to constantly replace them. You can buy glass or plastic, but if you’re concerned about microwaving plastic, then play it safe and stick with glass containers.
4. Start On Sunday
Once you’ve made your list and have gone grocery shopping, start meal prepping—preferably on Sundays. This will leave you with enough time to hit the gym and to actually enjoy a meal that wasn't rushed.
5. Food Pairings
Knowing what foods work best for the body will help give you an edge in your workouts—creating leaner muscle mass and preventing weight gain. Registered dietitian Katharine N. Wagner recommends the following food-pairings:
Iron-rich foods and vitamin C: This food pairing allows for increased iron absorption, preventing anemia. From a training perspective, appropriate iron levels allow for greater focus, proper recovery, normal thyroid-hormone metabolism, and improved energy levels.
Oatmeal and blueberries: Oatmeal is a high-fiber food along with blueberries, slowing down the rate of blood glucose absorption. Both foods are also phytochemical powerhouses—fighting off free radicals from damaging the body. When it comes to working out, antioxidants can help counteract any damage from a training session—increasing your recovery rate.
Fish and garlic: Fish is a lean protein source that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been seen to lower cholesterol, promote joint health, and aid in weight loss. Flavoring your fish with garlic further enhances the health benefits.
Sample Meal Plan
Here's a sample meal plan we've created for you to gain inspiration.
Monday - Plant-powered chili
Tuesday - High-protein pasta
Wednesday - Wild mushroom and butternut barlotto
Thursday - Shrimp stir fry
Friday -Roasted veggie quinoa salad with grilled salmon
Article and images by Muscle and Fitness. Click here to check out the Muscle & Fitness subscriptions now!
Want to learn more? Take a look at our Nutrition feature area at BodyPower this year.