Whilst time constraints such as work, children and day-to-day errands act as barriers affecting our ability to adequately prepare meals for the week ahead; there is an alternative to ‘taking the easy way out’, and more often than not, cheating on your diet. Throughout this post we will discuss quick and easy tips which we guarantee will make the time you allocate to meal prep far less time consuming and effective.
Cooking in BULK
Cooking in bulk ahead of time is incredibly effective – it enables you to save time preparing individual meals throughout the week; and allows for the ‘on the run’ meal we so often find ourselves waiting on! It is important to allocate a feasible amount of time enabling you to prepare for the intake you require for each; and so – planning is vital! The following questions are important to address in determining what you cook; and how much of it!
How much protein/fat/carbohydrates do you need per meal? (QUICK TIP – Whilst chicken and beef may require time and storage space you may not have; protein supplements act as a quick (yet costly) alternative, if you use protein shakes simply bring a plastic shaker cup with you containing protein powder; and add water when required).
What time can you allocate to cooking? (QUICK TIP – Food will begin to lose it’s freshness after 3 days or so – therefore, allocating multiple days a week to your bulk cooking may be an option; alternatively freeze half of what you cook and allocate just one day.)
What should you cook and how? (QUICK TIP – In regards to meats and vegetables, baking/boiling/BBQ enables quick, bulk cooking; whilst fresh fruit, raw vegetables, nuts and smoothies act as the perfect on-the-go calorie booster if you’re in a rush!)
Where and how will you store your food? (QUICK TIP – Vacuum sealed and zip-lock bag as well as containers help clear shelf space on your fridge; whilst aluminum foil makes it easy to carry anything you cannot fit into a lunch box/carry bag).
How can you spice up your diet? (QUICK TIP – It’s no surprise to any of us; in that if we’re consuming a bland diet; we’re more likely to relapse. Herbs, spices and low-fat/sugar free are easily available and make eating far more enjoyable than forcing food down!)
Planning Whilst this has been mentioned above; it’s rather important to emphasize upon this point. Finding the time to allocate to meal preparation can be difficult; particularly if you have an erratic schedule without order – this is where the importance of planning comes in.
Planning enables you to locate periods of time in which you can allocate to meal preparation, shopping and even eating in which you didn’t previously have time for in your unstructured life
Reduces chances of relapse – if you think about the times in which you relapse, indulging on high-fat snacks, ignoring your diet; you’d narrow it down to either; time constraints or lack of effort. Planning can help eliminate both these factors; as you have a steady, easy to access supply of food which you don’t need to worry about preparing at the end of a busy day
Planning adds structure to your life and frees up time; it assists in all facets of an effectively functioning lifestyle (in that you do not skip meals, workouts or succumb to stress) and leaves far more time for enjoyable, non-tedious activities
Consistency, Effort and Final Suggestions! As with everything that involves failure; consistency and application is key. Whilst the initial feat of allocating time to cooking an abundance of food may seem daunting, without taking action you cannot reap the benefits! Applying the tips discussed above, in association with the videos provided will help you designate time to cooking and preparing meals in a more effective manner than ever before; and help you avoid ‘cheating’ on your diet.
Preparing meals you will enjoy is vital; this will enable you to stick to your diet and vastly improve your attitude towards eating – it shouldn’t be a chore to eat right!
Abide by recommended health guidelines, make sure not to under-cook food; take the time and effort necessary during your ‘preparation’ day to ensure you avoid any nasty bacteria that can find it’s way into your stored food!
Buying frozen vegetables lessens time required during preparation and allows for an adequate alternative to fresh vegetables (QUICK TIP – Avoid canned products, they are highly processed.)
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