Prep For Success
There is no right way to plan a meal or many meals. If you do nothing, however, and just hope for the best you’re more likely to make poor nutrition choices which make it harder to meet your fitness goals. By planning ahead, you can skip last minute trips to fast food restaurants, avoid spending a half hour on week nights to put together a meal, and save money by eating at home.
The food you eat should provide you with energy to work, exercise, and get through the day. If you are trying to put on muscle, know your protein and calorie needs and plan accordingly. The same rule applies if you are trying to lose weight. I recently spoke with a client who is trying to lose weight and asked about her success and/or difficulties with keeping track of her food/ drink intake. She said, “It’s hard because I usually record my dinner the next morning”. I suggested that she record what she was planning to eat for dinner before she actually ate it. Her response was, “I never know what I’m going to eat for dinner”. That identified the problem!
One of my favorite quotes “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, is a simple solution. Take your nutrition as seriously as your workouts, and you will see results. A few exceptions, such as travelling, having dinner at someone else’s home or at a special event, make it difficult to plan what you’re going to eat. You can, however, make a conscious decision to select healthier choices wherever you are. The rest of your meals should be comprised of lean protein, a whole grain, like quinoa or starchy vegetable like sweet potatoes, and a variety of fruit and or vegetables.
A few tips for getting started:
- 1. Gather recipes or ideas of food that appeal to you
- 2. Make a list of meal ideas (entrees, sides, lunches)
- 3. Follow a theme: meatless Monday, Friday night BBQ, crock pot dinner, breakfast for dinner, etc.
- 4. Plan your weekly dinners
- 5. Choose a shopping day and make a list before going to the store
- 6. Prep components of meals so you can pair different things together
- 7. Plan for leftovers
- 8. Prep for tomorrow the night before
- 9. Make a double batch and freeze food for later in the week or the month
- 10. Block out some regular time to prep food on the weekend, your day off, or for a few minutes each evening
- 11. Keep essential foods like beans, nuts and frozen veggies on hand.