What's the skinny on meal prep?
Now, I know what you're thinking. When you see the words "meal prep" you automatically conjure up images of some buffed up body builder who's obsessed with chicken, broccoli and repeatedly lifting heavy things. But meal preparation doesn't have to be boring, nor does it have to be something reserved for people who wear too much lycra. Whether your goal is weight loss, or building muscle it can be an extremely useful tool that can help you save time, money and catapult you towards success on your fitness journey.
So why bother?
According to the most recent stats from the Bureau of Statistics, 62.8 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese - a glaring majority of the population. The irony is Australians spent an estimated $6.6 billion on the health and weight-loss industries in 2013/2014, according to figures from IBISWorld. The maths just doesn't add up. What's clear is, we want to lose weight, but we just don't know how.
This is where meal prep can help you
The great news is, the ability to change your lifestyle lies within your very capable hands. Ask anyone who has ever made a significant change in their life, or gone through a dramatic transformation. There is often not a grandiose moment of clarity, or a "Eureka!" where a lightbulb was finally switched on. What has changed their life is habit and consistency. A lot of small wins, consistently over a long period of time. What matters is the small stuff.
It eliminates excuses
This is where meal prep comes in. Reserve an hour or two on a Sunday (or any other day) and plan your meals for the week. It doesn't need to be extravagant. Cook up a big batch of brown rice or quinoa and keep it portion sizes in the freezer, so you can grab it when you need a hit of carb. Peel a stack of bananas and freeze them, so you can blend them up into banana ice cream when you're craving a guilt-free sweet treat. Portion out nuts, so you can get a hit of protein and fat while not eating the whole bag (don't worry, we've all been there). Use a slow cooker to make up a big batch of soup or stew and freeze it in individual portions that are labelled and dated (it will also avoid the "soup or gravy?" question that will invariably arise in a month or so when you search the frosty depths of the freezer). Make extra portions at dinner so you can have a healthy lunch the next day instead of a donut, which will no doubt trigger the 3pm sugar crash.
It saves time and money
The number one thing I hear from people who've fallen off the health bandwagon is that they've been "too busy" to prep food and so opted for a pizza or a take-away instead. It all gets too overwhelming. They give up and fall back into old habits. I like to think of meal preparation like packing for a holiday. You wouldn't dream of going away without your swimmers or your plane tickets. So why send yourself into the rat race without proper ammo?
Having healthy food at hand is what's going to stop those urges and lead you on a pathway to success. It will actually end up cheaper in the long run because you're not wasting food, or buying lunch every day from the shop across the road. Planning meals will also save you time during the week, which means more time doing things you actually want to do, and less time wandering around Woolies with an empty basket and a blank expression.
It guarantees balanced nutrition
The best bit about meal prep is that you can do it yourself, there's no gimmicks and you don't have to throw your money at someone else to do it for you. You're also guaranteed to know EXACTLY what is in each meal you eat, because, hey you made it yourself. So, hitting those macro goals will be a piece of (low carb) cake.
Get back to basics and use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). Eat from the land, reduce the additives. Limit packaged goods and learn to read labels. If you can't pronounce it, it's probably best you don't eat it (except for quinoa. Eat that. It's keen-wa and yes, it's very good for you).
Oh, and embrace Tupperware. All the cool kids are doing it.
If you would like more meal ideas, information or inspiration come and join the Vision Hunter Street team for a seminar or shopping tour through the following link:
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.