As we all know, diet and exercise are they key elements to reaching our fitness goals. You may have the exercise part down, but are you really eating as well as you could? Many people find that preparing their meals ahead of time keeps them on track when it comes to following nutritional guidelines.
Read ahead for a step-by-step guide to making meal prep far less painful than it sounds.
- Choose a Designated Meal Prep Day
The idea of preparing a week’s worth of food in one day may sound overwhelming, but you’d be surprised how quickly you can get it all done. If you work Monday through Friday like most Americans, you may be too tired or busy at the end of the day to take on meal prep. That leaves Saturday or Sunday as your designated prep day. Saturdays are usually spent doing various activities with friends and family, so Sunday is typically your best bet. Why not turn on the football game to keep you entertained while you’re slicing and dicing?
- Make a Shopping List
To avoid wandering around the grocery store aimlessly, decide on your meals ahead of time and write down the necessary ingredients. When considering the menu for the week, remember that some of those meals won’t be consumed until four or five days down the line, meaning they will be sitting in your fridge for the duration. Make sure you pick ingredients that won’t start to stink, wilt, or become stale in that amount of time. The best rule of thumb is to stick with a few staple items, ones that are easy to cook and store.
- Go Shopping
They key to making sure your ingredients last the whole week is to purchase them fresh on meal prep day. Head to your local grocery store or farmer’s market and don’t forget your list.
- Pack Up Your Meals in Air-Tight Containers
After you’ve completed all your cooking, make sure everything is stored in well-sealed containers. Around 90% of Americans say that they reuse plastic bags, but when it comes to storing food, this is never a good idea. To protect yourself against food-borne illness, always keep your food in secure, temperature-controlled environments.
Again, it may sound like a lot of work, but when you prep your meals ahead of time, you save yourself a lot of frustration during the week when you have enough to worry about. It will also motivate you to eat healthier since you won’t have any excuse to order a pizza or Chinese takeout.