Meal prep may sound scary if you have never tried it. It may even sound like it’s too good to be true – knowing what to eat every day of the week and not feel annoyed at cooking time ? There is a systematic and effect way of planning your meals ahead of time AND being good at it. Take it from me, being organised with food, groceries and meal time is waaaaay easier than frantically brainstorming what to cook while running through other chores. Well, I know that you know how that feels and that feeling of distressed brainstorm is more stress then we could ever imagine. I got tired of feeling that way…daily…3 times and more. And since we are very serious about eating right, clean and on time, meal planning is just another part of the lifestyle we have developed and stuck too. But I will be painfully honest with you : it takes time and a bit of hammering in the skills. You might just forget to meal plan for the upcoming weak on a designated-meal-planning Sunday. This sudden occurring event should NOT demotivate you from ever meal planning again. Anything good, especially habits, take time and patience. So with this being said, here are the procedures (tried and tested) to be followed for thoroughly meal planning.
1.Write down your macro’s. Know your specific needs.
The basic principle of nutrition is this : the human body needs a specific quantity of food to meet it’s daily needs of energy. Not enough food or too much food can lead to storage of body fat and chronic illness. To lead a healthy life with a fit body, you need to feed your body the required amount of food for energy to carry out it’s function. So what does your body actually need? Basically: protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre and water. All these combined is known as macro-nutrients. But how much does your specific body need? Well that depends on a few variables such as age, weight, height, medical conditions and daily activities. To get fit, healthy and strong you can eat right and follow your own macro plan. Knowing your specific needs allows you to decide what to eat and how much of it. Working out your daily macro needs makes your life a whole lot transparent. This will help you to buy, prepare, cook and store your meals for the next following days. There is absolutely no peep whole for you to over eat if you understand your macro plan. Best part is, it is absolutely tailor-able to your specific needs.
2. Make a daily meal plan. Break down your macro / calories into 5 or 6 meals.
Now that you know how much you need to eat daily, you can break down the calories / macros into smaller meals. I have 6 meals a day, so that gives me 6 times to refuel and meet my body’s needs.
The best part of meal planning is the option to adjust your carb intake to fit your favourite foods. If you like brownies then make a clean version, count the macros and fit it in when you like. If you need to have 120 grams of protein daily then try including the larger protein in your lunch and dinner while keeping smaller proteins in snack and dessert. For example, chicken steak for lunch and fish curry for dinner, eggs for breakfast and fresh curd for dessert. You can quickly google the nutritional content of everything and find the macro count. Make the meal plan for the next few days, or try the whole week. Now it is also easier to rotate dishes and meals through out the weak. Just try it!
3. Make weekly grocery list according to your meal plans.
Now that you know what you will eat the next couple of days, making a grocery list is easy and economical. Knowing how much of what you eat means you can buy in bulk and store safely for use in the week and even for the month. It’s much easier to buy rice, chicken, beef, and fish in bulk. Try this with most all other items on your grocery list. Did I mention that now you can start to prepare dishes with your own unique recipes? There is no mystery of unknown calorie or hidden fats and sugar. Weekly grocery shopping and storing gives you a head start to eating clean and being more involved with the food you eat. There is a special focus, inspiration and motivation you receive when you spend time buying raw food and preparing it.
4. Batch prepare dishes.
Now that you know what your macro’s are, and you have made a grocery list, and you have gone shopping it’s time for an applause. How the heck did we accomplish so much theoretically? Well in this moment of delusion let’s not underestimate our true capabilities. If you are making chicken for tonights dinner, then why not make a little extra for tomorrow’s lunch? If you really love that new recipe for chocolate energy balls then why not roll a few more for the next couple of days? Cooking and storing rice is the easiest. You can refrigerate rice for 3 to 4 days, along with some steamed veg. You can crispy bake fish for Tuesday night and have it Wednesday lunch and Thursday dinner. Wash, cut, dry and store fresh veg for salads. Wash, cut and freeze your fruits for smoothies for the entire week. See, I told you it’s not too good to be real. You just needed to keep an open mind.
Well ya done it! Actually, I done it too and I am doin it even now. These four steps are now intuitive and second nature. I hope you find will power to power through the first few days and make meal planning a habit. Cool thing is, you probably have been doing it already! Now just tweak it here and there to make your health a top priority!