Meal Prep Like a Boss

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Meal Prep Like a Boss

Meal Prep Like a Boss

By: Ron Sanz

It’s January.  New Year’s resolution time.  What’s top priority on the list?  We all know it – lose weight, get in shape, and become a healthier individual.   We come out of the gate like a racehorse but by February our motivation and determination has tapered off.  Why is that? Life. Life comes at us from every angle and we manage to lose our focus and our drive. One of the biggest culprits in sabotaging our success is time.   Seems like we are always running out of time or appear to have less time than our peers.  The reality is that we all have 24 hours in the day. Yep.  It’s true.  Count out the minutes for yourself.   You will always get 24 hours.  How we prioritize and use our times is where we vastly differ.   How many times have you said the following phrases:

“What am I going to cook for dinner tonight?” or “I don’t feel like cooking, let’s just go buy something.”  

We’ve all said this and we’ve all done this.   I’m as guilty as the rest of us.   Some of us do this several times a week.    Like I said, life comes at us and we want the convenient, easy solution to our meal times.  But did you know that these so-called easy solutions are really sabotaging your fitness goals and your weight loss success?   Fitness and nutrition are a pair.    You can’t have one without the other and hope to be successful.    Combining a well-planned fitness routine with some quality food will maximize your fitness efforts and will get you the weight loss goals you’re looking for.   A good plan for eating is just as important as a good plan for working out.   

Ok.  So you’ve got your workout plan in place.  You’ve joined a gym and are ready for some changes.  Now it’s time to plan our meals.   

Let’s talk about meal prepping.   

When you hear the words MEAL PREPPING, two thoughts come to mind.   One, I don’t have enough time to meal prep and two, I can’t afford to meal prep.   The reality is that those are both misconceptions about meal prepping.   These two misconceptions are the EXACT reason why I do meal prepping.  I’ve been meal prepping now for about 8 months and quite frankly, I can’t live without it.  I don’t usually spend more than 3 hours in the kitchen and at the end of those 3 hours, I’ve got breakfast and dinners planned for an entire 5-6 days.  Not the whole week you ask?  No, I adhere to the 80/20 rule.  I eat healthy and on target on Mondays thru Fridays, my hard/heavy workout training days and reserve Saturday and Sundays to give myself some “liberties” with my food.  80% of the time on plan and 20% a little off plan.   So here we go.   

What do I need to get to preppin’?

Invest in some good food storage containers.  Tupperware or Pyrex will do just fine.  I have two sizes.  A small one for my breakfast portions (1cup) and a bigger container for my dinner portions (3cup).

  1. Decide what day will be your prep day.  For me, it’s Sunday afternoons.  Stick to it.  Make it yours and celebrate your prep day.
  2. Plan your menu.  This is the fun part.  BE CREATIVE.  Use your crockpot, your grill, your George Foreman, your oven.  Use every resource available to you.   I like to use the grill because it’s less pots to clean up.   Determine how many meals you want for the week and start easy.  Start by working on dinners for the week only.    For weekly prepping, don’t waste time on fancy, gourmet concoctions.  Save those for the weekends.  Stick to mainstream staple items, easy to cook and bulk products.  Here’s a quick list:
  3. Protein: chicken breast, lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, lean lunch meats, I avoid fish because it tends to lose its consistency the longer it sits in the fridge cooked
  4. Carbohydrates: brown rice, wild rice, whole grain tortillas and breads, quinoa
  5. Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, walnuts peanut butter, almond butter
  6. Veggies….your hearts content.  My favorite is baked broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, brussels, zucchini and squash.
  7. Make a list.  Don’t go the grocery store without one.  Inevitably you’ll forget something and have to go back.  Buy on the side of “more”.  Whatever is left, can be frozen for your next weeks prep.

 

Now cook!  This is the fun part.  Treat yourself to a variety of spices and flavors…I’m a big onion and garlic man so EVERYTHING gets onions and garlic, fresh and powdered.   If you’ve decided on baked chicken and veggies, get your chicken spiced up and get it in the oven.  While the chicken is baking in the oven, get to sautéing those veggies, or bake them like I do.  While you’re sautéing your veggies, get your rice pot cooking your wild rice.   You’ve got to think of yourself as an orchestra conductor and your kitchen is the band.  Multitask.  Never be idle.

So now that I’ve told you how to get started, how about some facts about

Why should you meal prep?

  1. It will save you $ – eating healthy does not have to cost you a fortune.  Buy in bulk.  I buy my meats at a wholesale store like Sam’s.  I eat a good deal of chicken because it’s fairly inexpensive and freezes very well until I’m ready to use it.  
  2. It will help you lose weight – planning, planning, planning is the key to weight loss along with portion control.  A weekly prepping plan will allow you to control how many calories you are eating everyday.  
  3. Grocery shopping becomes a breeze –once you know what you will be having, you can just shop the same things week to week.  
  4. Portion control – like I mentioned above, you’ll control exactly what you are eating and you’ll never go for seconds.  How many times have we scooped out that second helping of mac and cheese just because the pan was still on the stove tempting us to eat more?  With your prepped meal, it’s one plate and you’re done.  
  5. Food waste is less – things won’t go bad before you eat them, like produce tends to do.
  6. TIME TIME TIME – I can’t stress enough how important this one is for me and meal prepping.  Who wants to take out food, pan, ingredients and cook a meal every night after working 8-10 hours, then have to clean up?  The average family spends 63 to 90 minutes preparing a nightly meal.  That’s almost 8 hours a week in cooking.  Say you can meal prep in 3-4 hours on a Sunday.   It’s just faster.   Think factory assembly line.   You’ve not only saved time, but you’ve eliminated the nightly guessing game of “what should I cook for dinner” and you’ve added some net gain in time in the evenings that can be redeemed in a 30 min walk or a trip to the gym for a 50 min session.  Prepping is a time saver.  
  7. You invest in your health because you are choosing ahead of time what you will be putting into your body.  You eliminate the need for a fast food meal or a meal loaded in fat and lacking nutrients.  No more calling out for a pizza or to your favorite Chinese restaurant for extra noodles.  
  8. You’ll learn will power and lose cravings for sugar and other garbage foods
  9. Less stress—how nice is it not to have to worry about dinner every evening.  More time with your spouse, loved ones, and children or friends

The biggest excuse I hear when it comes to prepping is “I don’t like to eat the same thing everyday”.   Ok.  I get it.   Variety is the spice of life.  I was also concerned about this and concerned that I’d get bored with the same meals everyday.   What helped me was changing my relationship with food.   I made a decision that food was not going to be a source of pleasure for me; at least not on a daily basis.  Food was to be my source of fuel.  My body is a machine.  I need to fuel it. How can I fuel it efficiently and productively?   During the week, my food is just a necessary ends to a means.  I have to eat and I need the foods that are going to give me energy to maintain my training regimen.   Don’t let your food control you.  You be in control of your food and by meal prepping on a regular basis, you’ll be well on your way to gaining that control and simplifying your life.  It’s so much easier to stay on track and on plan knowing that your meals are ready to go and prepared.   Since you won’t have to use your will power on your meal selections, you can take that will power and focus it on getting to the gym.   Meal prepping is a win/win.  Give it a shot and take it from me.  I prep like a boss.  

Sample Meal Prep Idea:

Baked Chicken Thighs, steamed veggies and sweet potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 chicken thighs (frozen bag or fresh)
  • Fresh broccoli
  • 2-3 med sized sweet potatoes

Prep:

  1. Season your chicken thighs and bake them on a well-oiled cookie sheet for 35-45 min at 375d
  2. Boil your broccoli or bake it on a well-oiled cookie sheet for 25min or until crispy to the taste. If baking, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, or garlic powder
  3. Dice your sweet potato into 1” discs, then quarter.   Rub Olive oil over the potatoe sprinkle with cinnamon and place on well-oiled cookie sheet and bake for 30vmin or until soft to the fork
  4. Allow all food to cool and then portion out into your meal containers.  
  5. Place containers in the fridge.  

*everything can bake in the oven at the same time, which makes for fast, easy cooking.  All your food cooked in less than an hour.

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