Meal prep/planning has been really important for my healthy lifestyle journey. If I plan what I am going to est for the week, I tend to have more self control. Do not get me wrong, I can still get distracted and eat things that I should not, but I can get back on track or remain focused if I know how many calories I am supposed to eat for the day and how I have decided to divide them up throughout the day.
I will give you an example below of what I like to do during the week. By no means am I perfect and I am still trying to improve. Let me know what has worked for you.
Morning workout: I start most mornings in the gym on an empty stomach. I have a hard time working out after a meal and find my gym sessions to be much better if I have fasted. I spoke about this in a previous blog – Why I Like To Fast Before My Morning Workout.
Personally I do not use BCAs, pre workouts, or supplements. I just drink a bottle of water before a workout and head out the door.
Breakfast: I don’t end up eating breakfast most of the time. I would not say that I am necessarily practicing intermittent fasting, but in general I tend to not be very hungry in the mornings. I think that my circadian rhythm has it that I tend to be hungrier in the afternoon and in the evening. So in someways I do intermittent fasting by eating dinner and not eating again until late morning/early afternoon, but this is because I listen to when my body is hungry, which I believe we should all be doing. Who came up with the rule that we have to eat three meals per day? If I do eat breakfast, I tend to stick to protein bars with coffee as I usually get hungry if it has been an intense workout and I like that the protein helps with building muscle and keeps me hungry for longer.
Lunch: I go through phases with my lunch. I can sometimes get bored with my meals and have to change things up quite frequently. I always pack my lunch since my days can get quite busy and you never know if you will have the time to pick something up. I like that I always bring something from home since I know what exactly I am eating, but this can cause a dilemma about what exactly to bring.
Since I was a vegetarian for a long time (over 2 decades), I tend to not be a heavy meat eater. I tend to only eat meat at dinner and this is not every day. So for lunch I will eat something like a morningstar blackbean burger or soy chicken patty without bread. I know soy is not great for you and these are very processed, but I like how easy they are and convenient. I have ventured into meal prepping my lunch on the weekends by making Nigerian jellof rice or a meat dish like pulled chicken, but I find these tend to be less healthy and I don’t like them as much.
Dinner: Number one rule that my husband and I have decided on is to not eat out during the week. We have such little time during the week between commuting and work that it is much better for us to cook at home plus we want to try to remain as healthy as possible during the week. It is nice to be able to spend time cooking together and know exactly what we’re eating. This may not exactly sound like meal prep since we’re making food each day, but we prep in the sense that we are planning for each day.
We make meals that take less than 20 minutes to make since that keeps us from spending too much time in the kitchen. For example, I spoke about my love of gnocchi cauliflower in a previous blog – Carbohydrate Alternatives: Add Vegetables to Your Meals Without Missing Carbs, which is very easy to make. He will also make lean meats like turkey burgers and tilapia for himself. None of these take a long time to make. We usually add a side of vegetables such as kale or a starch like sweet potatoes.
So this may not sound like meal prep because we are not making food in bulk, but it is meal planning and I think that is very important in your lifestyle journey. You have to know what you are feeding your body and the best way to do that is to make a plan for how you will tackle the week and know each ingredient that you are eating. It is easy to get lazy and find something convenient, but how is that treating your body as a temple, the way it should be treated.