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‘Meal prepping’ has become a bit of a buzz term of late, with many health professionals such as wellness bloggers, body builders and personal trainers putting much of their success down to this weekly routine. But how do you dive into meal prepping as a beginner? And why is it such a valuable tool in the first place? Today we answer all of your meal prepping questions, and explore just why it might be the missing link you need to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Meal prepping describes buying, washing, chopping and even cooking complete meals in preparation for the week ahead. Depending on your lifestyle, downtime and health goals, meal prepping could mean anything from organising the ingredients you will need for breakfasts that week into containers, to cooking a week’s worth of complete lunches and dinners ready for re-heating.
For many of us who lead fast-paced, active lifestyles, any time-savers that keep our health on track are a huge plus. Not only does meal prepping save you plenty of time during the busiest parts of your week (leaving more hours for fitness, socialising or the general running of your household), but it ensures you’re eating balanced, healthy and portion-controlled meals, preventing any convenience-related junk food disasters!
The first step towards creating a healthy and practical meal prepping plan is to determine which meals you struggle with the most. These meals will become your prepping priority—we recommend you begin with just a few a week and build from there as your confidence grows.
Write down the list of healthy meals you will be preparing in advance, as well as a shopping list of ingredients you need for each. Heading to the grocery store and attempting to meal plan without a carefully formulated approach can be overwhelming, and result in you purchasing ingredients that you won’t use.
*Tip: Make sure your food storage containers are generally the same size, so you can effortlessly stack them inside the fridge
Depending on your lifestyle, you may find that mornings are the most difficult time for you to stay on track. If this is the case, plan yourself a few days’ worth of healthy, yummy breakfast meals that can be stored and eaten throughout the week. You could boil some eggs and portion out some spinach, cook a batch of tasty vegetable frittatas or a pot of vanilla-honey oats which can then be stored and eaten over the next few days.
If you find yourself heading to take away stores most days at work, then you should make lunches your prepping priority. Cook up a protein flavoured with herbs and spices, add a filling carbohydrate (we love quinoa flavoured with chicken stock and sweet potato baked with seeded mustard and honey) then add a generous portion of vegetables for a perfectly balanced, low fat, healthy meal.
*Tip: If you find yourself becoming bored with eating the same meal over a few days, we have an easy way to mix up the flavours! Simply choose a healthy protein (such as chicken) and use aluminium foil barriers in a baking tray so you can flavour each portion separately
Some people find only partly prepping dinners as enough of a helping hand. Washing and chopping vegetables and marinating your protein for stir fries and salads can take up a decent portion of time, so doing this in advance can be just the helping hand you need. Throw all your ingredients together and you’ll have a healthy dinner ready in record timing!
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve recently started incorporating meal prepping into your weekly routine. How have you found it helpful for keeping your health goals on track?
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