Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
To ensure that you stay on track with your nutrition plan make sure that you always have plenty of healthy options on hand. Food preparation is not just for the athletes and fitness models, but it’s something that we should also get in the habit of since it help us manage our food intake, making sure that we don’t go overboard.
Knowing exactly what extra ingredients are in that take away dish or how much fat/sugar there is, can go a long way toward helping keep your calories in check and your macros in line with your goals.
In fact, scientific research from Johns Hopkins University found that subjects who cooked their own dinner six to seven times a week consumed fewer calories, fat, and sugar on an average day compared with those who only cooked dinner once a week or less.
Having your food ready to eat when hunger hits will also keep you from going on a binge on snacks, takeaway or prepackaged convenience food. As both a scientist and an fitness specialist, I not only encourage my clients to organise their meal prep in advance—I also practice what I preach.
Here are my top tips for keeping your menus on track and your body adequately fuelled.
Tip 1: Organise your meals
Plan on eating about every two to three hours, with or three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and snacks in between. Organise each meal around a quality protein (chicken, fish, or beef), a complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, or fresh steamed vegetables), and some healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc.).
Tip 2: Go shopping prepared
Making sure you have a shopping list in hand with all your necessities. Now a day you can use you mobile phone to make notes or even get an app like AnyList, which allows you to easily share your must- gets with your spouse or roommates so everyone knows what you need. Some basic to keep on hand: canned foods like tuna and beans, frozen veggies to use in a pinch, and brown-rice pasta.
Tips 3: Experiment and get creative
Experiment with low- salt, low-sugar seasonings (remember some mixed seasoning have a tonne of sugar so check the label), such as turmeric, sesame seeds, or spice blends. Try mixing different veggies together (onions and mushrooms, tomatoes and bell peppers) to add colour and variety. Use flavoured vinegar and hot sauces, but be careful of added sugars, and look for hidden sources such as high- fructose corn syrup and artificial additives.
Tip 4: Measure out your portion for each meal
Remember to weigh and measure your food to keep your serving sizes on point and to ensure your macro-nutrients meet your needs. Try aiming for three to five ounces of protein, 1⁄2 to 1 cup of complex carbohydrates, and 1⁄2 to 1 tbsp of healthy fats, like olive oil or coconut oil, per meal. Pack up fare in easy-to- transport containers and use food-cooler bags to keep your stash safe.
Tip 5: Get yourself a good container
Having a good container can make your life and eating so much better. Depending on what you have available you might need to get yourself a thomoflank, which will help keep your food nice a warm when it comes time to eat, or if you’re putting your food in the fridge (maybe at work) than make sure it has a good seal, so it won’t leak in transit. Don’t forget you might need to take a fork and spoon with you.
Tip 6: Stay Prepared
Remember that things might not go according to plan so keep some emergency healthy snacks on hand. These can include a shaker cup with some quality whey/casein protein powder in a plastic baggie (just add water or low-fat milk or almond milk when you’re ready to sip), some mixed nuts and fruit, or a few quality high-protein energy bars (remember to check the label since lots of protein bars are full of sugar and fat).
Tip 7: Keep a Drink bottle With you
Buying water from the shop cost more then buy fuel for your car!!! That’s right, we as a people spend a lot of money on buying bottled water when we can get it for free from a drink tap, so why not bring your won drink bottle that you can fill up at the work place kitchen. It’ll save you money, help you control your appetite and keep you hydrated!
So what do you guys think? What tips would you give someone when it comes to food prep? Leave your interesting comments below and let’s have a discussion.