So you are tired of the difficulties of healthy eating? You think it’s impossible to eat clean all week and spend less than an hour in the kitchen each night. As you watch E!, you think to yourself, those actresses can only look that great because of a staffed chef. What if healthy eating really is not out of your reach? What if you spent your time in the kitchen differently?
I used to be there, I used to think I would never be able to eat properly all week. I never had the time or energy after work, to cook a healthy meal. The only time I had for the kitchen was to reach into the refrigerator and the quickest meal won. Story of my life, until recently, since I dug deeper into nutrition I’ve begun to realize that one day spent in the kitchen can make or break a weekly meal plan.
Meal Prep 101:
1. Find healthy recipes
2. Make a grocery list
3. Buy groceries
4. Cut, prep and package the groceries
5. Have access to easy, convenient, healthy foods
Check out my weekly meal plan here.
Thanks to social media, there are healthy recipes on pretty much every social media app you use. Just look for healthy dinners and the type of protein you prefer. Pinterest is a great resource, along with yummly. Most sites/apps even include recipes, step-by-step instructions and nutrition information. When you are first getting into the habit, you may find it easier to stick with a single source of protein. I started by simple crockpot chicken, which I then used for fajitas (my fav), salads for lunch, shredded chicken, etc.
Grocery lists are pretty simple, you probably make one now. Recipe inspired grocery templates are out there, just use Google. Make sure to think about repurposing foods for lunch or simple items which can be used for a side dish with dinner or snack for lunch (fresh carrots, snap peas, green beans).
Cut, prep and package:
Probably the easiest but most over-looked step in the process. Sure, it’s great you buy fresh vegetables from a local farmers market, but when was the last time you ate all of those veggies? Simply cutting, prepping and packaging fresh fruit and vegetables before storing can make these items more accessible when you’re tired throughout the week. All of this could be an hour and a half tops on a Sunday morning.
1. Plan Saturday or throughout the week as I see eye-catching recipes.
2. Buy and Prep Sunday morning/afternoon
3. Package as I prep
a. Cut veggies and pack into containers or pre-season
b. Cut meat or pre-season meat
4. Prep meals
-Egg bake: Eggs, leftover veggies and cheese in a pie dish = healthy breakfast all week.
-Pre-cut, pre-packaged veggies and fruits
- Meat and veggies are already prepped, so dinners should only take 20 minutes tops
Yes, all of this seems like a lot of work. Think about your weekly vicious cycle; splurge at night, starve in the morning and splurge again at night because you starved all morning. Still need convincing, just read a few excerpts from the researchers at American Journal of Preventive Medicine and American Journal:
Greater amount of time spent on home food preparation was associated with indicators of higher diet quality, including significantly more frequent intake of vegetables, salads, fruits, and fruit juices. Spending <1 hour/day on food preparation was associated with significantly more money spent on food away from home and more frequent use of fast food restaurants compared to those who spent more time on food preparation (2014).
…women who more frequently planned meals before they went shopping, wrote a shopping list, enjoyed food shopping, planned in the morning what they will eat for dinner that night, planned what they will eat for lunch, reported they enjoy cooking, liked trying new recipes and who reported they sometimes prepare dishes ahead of time were more likely to consume two or more servings of vegetables daily (2007).
I would say the evidence is pretty convincing. Just try it for one week. You will see how much easier and accessible healthy eating becomes. You will also enjoy a heavier wallet!
Time Spent on Home Food Preparation and Indicators of Healthy Eating. Monsivais, Pablo et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 47 , Issue 6 , 796 – 802.
Moderators of Environmental Intervention Effects on Diet and Activity in Youth. Stef P.J. Kremers, Gert-Jan de Bruijn, Mariël Droomers, Frank van Lenthe, Johannes Brug. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 32, Issue 2, February 2007, Pages 163-172.
Strength circuits (like the one in this video) paired with cardio (like jumping rope) is a great way to build muscle and shred inches from your body. The exercises in the video are performed with a barbell, but you can use a set of dumbbells or kettlebells to complete the workout. Also - you can change any exercise if you don't feel you have the technique mastered.
If you missed it, the workout is:
5 sets of 5 reps of:
Hang Clean (alternative = upright row)
Front Squat (alt = body weight squat)
Push-press (alt = push up)
Bent Row (alt = single arm row)
500 jump rope revolutions ( alt = jumping jacks, jog, etc)
**Subtract 1 set from the barbell work and 100 revolutions each round.
Are you stuck on a fitness plateau? Bored with your current program? Below is a program I developed based on my experience in the gym. A similar program helped take my fitness to the next level and the nutrition plan helped bring definition to my abs and carve pounds off my body. This program will challenge your body and your mind as you move towards increasing your physical strength. You will have to increase the weight used and your mental toughness, each and every week. Try the program click here.
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