As you may have heard many times from your
trainer and from other sources, the most crucial part of weight
loss is your nutrition. It also is the most difficult aspect of
weight loss for a lot of people to manage.
So why is it so difficult? Why is it so common for someone to stick to 'eating healthy' for only a short period of time before they fall back to their old habits?
Well, it is due to a few different factors.
Some common reasons being time poor, financially struggling,
emotional eating, a negative circle of influence and insufficient
guidance or knowledge. Your trainer is there to help you with each
of these and any other barriers you may have.
It is understood that preparing healthy and correctly portioned meals takes time and practice and the choice to prepare and eat these meal is made more difficult by the fact that there are much more easier and quicker options readily available in the form of fast food and food delivery services. Your circle of influence is also another factor that can contribute to making this lifestyle change more difficult. Whereby if your family and friends that you spend most of your time with want certain foods (as they are not on the same health journey as you), it can be difficult to inconvenience them and yourself by choosing to have the healthier option.
Whilst there are many strategies to overcome unhealthy nutritional habits, doing bulk meal preparation is one of the most effective methods you can use.
The benefits include;
1. Less total time in the kitchen - Even though the time spent doing the meal preparation, say for 5 meals in bulk will, of course, take longer than preparing the average 1 meal only. However, the time spent making 5 different meal each day throughout your day would overall take more time.
Here is an example:
Meal prepping 5 meals on Sunday
30 minutes preparing
30 minutes cooking
15 minutes cleaning
Total = 1 hour 15 minutes
Divided by 5 meals = 15 minutes per meal
Preparing 1 meal each night after work
10 minutes preparing
10 minutes cooking
5 minutes cleaning
Total = 25 minutes per meal
Of course, the above example is just a rough
estimate and the time may vary depending on the ingredients and
complexity of the recipe. However, another factor to consider is
that every time you meal prep the same dish, you will be more
competent with it, thus it will become much easier and take less
time. Keep in mind there will also be an element of trial and
error, where the measurements will then, in time become much better
for your particular taste and macro distribution.
2. It is Cheaper! - By buying in bulk and cooking in bulk, the price of each meal will be less than that, if you were to prepare separate meals. The more meals you prepare at once, the cheaper it will cost per meal.
3. Reduces the potential for Emotional Eating - Emotional eating can be a reoccurring battle that each of us face, but by having a ready-made meal in the fridge/freezer (just waiting to be reheated), it removes the mentality of 'I don't know what to eat' and/or 'it will take too much time to cook something, I'll just get some takeaway'. In this case, your healthy choice, your meal prep, actually ends up becoming the easier option, with less effort needed!
So far, we've gone through some potential barriers that people may encounter, as well as have gone through some of the benefits of meal preparation. So, let's break down meal prepping into some simple steps.
1. You will need 'X' number of containers to store each meal into once the food is ready. 'X' = # of meals to be prepared at one time. They will need to be microwave/freezer safe.
2. Your weekly food plan will need to be completed and through this, you will know the amounts of food you will need. (This step is made very simple by the use of the VVT app, as you can print out your shopping list via your food diary).
3. Once you've purchased the necessary ingredients, you will need to allocate 1-3 hours of your time to prepare the meals. The time depends on the complexity of the recipe and the number of meals being made.
4. After the food is prepared, use your food scale to put in the correctly measured portions of food into your containers.
5. Store the containers in the fridge and/or freezer where necessary! A handy tip to ensure that your food is always defrosted for quick nuking into the microwave is to take the meal out of the freezer the night before!
To reduce the chance of you getting bored of the food you're preparing, try rotating a few different meal prep options around and please keep in mind that everyone has a different body and thus should have an individualised macronutrient distribution in order to achieve their specific goals. This means that while the ingredients may be able to stay the same from one person's meal prep to another, the amounts are most likely needed to be adjusted accordingly as one person's meal prep may not be suitable for another. For inspiration or if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask the team at Vision!
Image credit @isthesaladburning via instagram
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.