SIX TIPS FOR MEAL PREP SUCCESS
FOOD IS FUEL, SO STAY READY
SIX TIPS FOR MEAL PREP SUCCESS
“You have to eat more to perform better”—something we often tell many of our athletes; and something many are not doing prior to assessing their nutrition.
There’s no getting around it though. Food is fuel for not only “performing” better, but recovering properly.
In order to do just that, meal prep is your best friend. An hour or two on a day ‘off’, can save you hours spent in the kitchen during the week and sets up your nutritional week for success. In addition, having several meals already packed ensures you’re eating not only clean food (instead of what you can find quickly), but that you can hit the macros that fit your fitness goals.
Here are six tips for meal prep and your nutrition success:
Buy what you need. If you can, shop throughout the week in order to ensure you get the freshest ingredients (and aren’t throwing out things at the end of the week because they went bad). Do your bulk food run maybe once per week to buy meats to make in bulk, lots of leafy greens, fruit, and anything else you go through a lot of. Then throughout the week, pick up more fresh veggies or more meat on the way home to cook.
Get a Costco membership to do your ‘bulk’ shopping (meat you can freeze, some fruit and veggies, even frozen veggies). Also stock up on some good, sturdy glass tupperware.
Be prepared; but not too prepared.
Don’t prep too much at once. I’ve pre-packed an entire week worth of breakfast/lunch/dinners and end up not eating them like I should because something came up or by the end of the week something didn’t mix right. For example, guacamole will get brown by the end of the week and olive oil will make your lettuce mush.
Easy solution? Pick 2-3 meats a week to prepare in bulk with minimal or basic seasonings like onion and garlic powder so you can transform them for any meal later on.
Keep it simple. Simple is best. Rice, chicken, veggies, fat source – boom! Don’t try pulling out a cookbook and finding a different recipe for each day.
If anything else, prepare your proteins in advance. Those take the longest to cook.
Have a Few Go-Tos. Have a few default meals on hand to always go to when time is short or you need food NOW. Pick foods you enjoy, and rotate them on a weekly or biweekly basis to keep interested. It’s easiest to decide on a menu, make it for every day that week, and then switch the next week to something new.
A few of Coach Melissa’s staples include:
– Hardboiled eggs/broccoli/guac and salsa.
– Deli turkey and cucumbers for the protein and a little crunch.
– Sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and onions to pack with ground turkey or grilled bison
– Baby food purees (They’re easy to pack at work, and you can find things such as spinach, blueberries, and apple combos that pack some micronutrient benefits as well. Only buy organic ones that the ingredients list include just the fruits and veggies they describe on the front)
Embrace the Process. Be patient. The first few times you meal prep, it will take a little longer. You’ll get in a routine and it will get much faster.
Our Favorite Simple Recipes
A few of our favorite ‘go-to’ meals to prepare for the week.
Sweet Potato Hash
Chop up one large sweet potato, large green apple, one red and one yellow sweet pepper, onion, shallot, one jalapeño, half a pound of bacon. Chop them all into small chunks. Bake the sweet potato chunks at 400 for 30 minutes. While baking, put the remaining ingredients in a skillet to cook. When potatoes are done baking, toss in skillet to combine, and done.
Turkey Sausage Hash
One pound of ground turkey, 4 chicken sausages, handful (or more if desired) of spinach, one red and one yellow bell pepper, one medium zucchini. Cook ground turkey first in a skillet. When almost completely brown, add sausages and chopped veggies and cook in skillet for about 5 minutes. Enough to cook the veggies but not get them too soft. Done! Serve over rice and add an egg for an extra kick.
Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Place 2 pounds frozen chicken in a crockpot with a packet of taco seasoning and a small jar of salsa. Cook on low for 6-8 hours! Shred and store in your Tupperware.
Combine a pound of super lean ground turkey (99% fat free) with a pound of lean (like 93/7) ground beef, some spices, an egg, and about 1/3c almond flour and mash together. Roll into balls, brown in a skillet and then bake at 350 for 20 minutes, check with a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked through!