10 Hacks to Successful Meal Prep!

Successful meal prep happens when you look forward to eating the meals you create!

1. Pick your day to meal prep! Make meal plan manageable by planning out the 1 or 2 days a week to prep food for the week. I prefer Sunday afternoons and if I need an additional day, Wednesday nights.

 

2. Invest in tightly sealing food storage containers that are the RIGHT size for YOU. It will give you a perfect solution to portion sizes and ensure your food won't spill all over the place!

 

3. Scout pinterest or your favorite cookbooks and find 1-2 healthy meals to make for the week! Click the image below to get access to my favorite healthy recipes, and feel free to follow my Pinterest board! The more the basic the recipe, the longer it will last in your fridge, so aim for whole foods and staple items. Aim for making meals that have 1/4 plate lean protein, 1/4 plate starchy veggie, 1/2 plate fibrous veggie!

 

4. Stick to your grocery list. Go to the grocery store with a plan or a list, and get those things only! I like to write down all that I need and go to the store with a purpose. The only time I like to buy outside of my list is when things are on sale in the fruit/produce area! It also great to cook with veggies that are in season.

 

5. Chop/cook/spiralize veggies in advance! This is a LIFESAVER! On Sundays, I chop up my lettuce, my squash and zucchini, and cook my frozen vegetables, that way I don't have to take out my cutting board every night and waste time washing, chopping, and slicing veggies. I put them into clear separate bulk containers so I can see what is in them … and then my fridge turns into a mini-Chipotle! It's a huge timesaver especially on weeknights when all you want to do is put a bowl of food in the microwave and eat it! 

 

6. Cook a huge batch of quinoa or rice ahead of time. Leave it in a clear container so you know what's inside and take a necessary portion out for dinner! Top with tons of veggies and a portion of lean protein for a homemade burrito bowl, without the Chipotle prices! I eat this almost every weeknight and can switch up my toppings as I please so I never get bored.

 

7. Cook your protein ahead of time in a crockpot or if you only have 20 minutes, boil your chicken and make healthy chicken salad! Take advantage of cooking methods that allow foods to excrete natural juices that you can use to season everything else in your meal without the extra calories.

 

8. Bag up smoothie ingredients. Ensure you don't add too many unnecessary calories to your smoothies by make pre-packaged smoothie bags and throwing them in the freezer. This is a super easy on-the-go way to get a smoothie without paying an outrageous amount for it!

 

9. Use mason jars for salads (or any meals for that matter)! Not only are they pretty, but they are practical, microwave safe, transportable, and air-tight.  The vertical shape makes them great for salads because the dressing is at the bottom and the greens are at the top ensuring you won't have a soggy salad by the time you get to each lunch!

 

10. Keep your eyes on your goals! Every time you are tempted to eat outside of your meal prepping, think about the health, fitness, and financial goals you have. Meal prepping will save time, quicken your results, and the more you do it, the faster you will get at it. I have narrowed my meal prep down to 90 minutes, 1 time a week!! I encourage you to start now and you'll be on your way to success not only in the kitchen, but you will see results in the gym much faster if your diet adheres to and supports your training!

Post-Workout Nutrition

Today's topic is.... you guessed it.. post-workout nutrition!!

The post workout meal is probably the most important meal of the day.
It should contain carbs and protein, and avoid fats which slow the digestion process.

A rule of thumb for your post-workout meal:

  • between 0.25-0.4 grams of carbs per pound of their body weight
  • between 0.15-0.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight

Immediately after your workout, your muscles are depleted of the stored form of carbohydrates, called glycogen, which is what fuels your workouts and your energy throughout the day. To refill your glycogen stores after your workout and accelerate muscle growth, you want to rely on fast-digesting carbs and a fast-digesting protein like whey protein isolate, which basically acts as a shuttle to your growing muscles!

Throughout the day, it is best to eat lower glycemic, complex carbohydrates because they take a little longer to digest, making you feel fuller for longer, don't initiate an insulin spike, and don't raise blood sugar as quickly as simple sugars. But post-workout, the exact opposite is true. After a workout, it is critical to get the carbs (and protein) to the muscle cells as fast as possible, so you want simple, fast-digesting carbs paired with an appropriate amount of protein. Since a whole-food meal typically takes more time for prep and digestion, it's not your best choice in terms of an immediate post-workout meal, soooo I'd suggest having your "real dinner" an hour or so after your post-workout food.

Summary of all of this is....

Immediately after your workout, I'd suggest fast digesting (whey) protein paired with simple carbs.

Some recommendations for a post-workout "meal" are below:

Simple Fast-Digesting Carbs: 

  • dextrose (most optimal sugar and fastest digested carb)
  • gatorade, gatorade powder
  • fruits like dates, raisins or cherries
  • candy
  • white bread
  • white rice
  • white potatoes
  • cereal

Protein Sources:

What I personally would suggest and is definitely the easiest and most convenient.. is bringing a shaker bottle to the gym with you. Put a scoop of flavored protein in it (25 grams) and unflavored powdered dextrose (4-6 tbsps), shake and BOOM! Easy peezy!!

Then an hour or so later, eat real dinner! If you don't want to go that route and want "real" food after you workout that's okay too, just not as "optimal" meal. You can feel free to pair the other recommended sources... turkey with a bagel, white rice and chicken, cereal with protein shake poured over it, etc. and that will do just fine. Sometimes I do the shake, sometimes I do the food. It's just totally dependent on what my plan is after the gym!

Remember, macronutrient timing and supplements are important but not the most important thing in the scheme of things. Calories-in vs. calories-out as well as the quality of your food and training always takes precedence in weight loss and body recomposition. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't get your hands on the suggested foods once in a while, don't sweat it. 80/20 all the way!