Unknown Benefits of Meal Prep

Hands down, the #1 thing you can do to improve your healthy lifestyle is food prep.
This allows you to have nutritious meals ready (or mostly ready) in those times of need when you are starving and you need to eat NOW! It allows you to make sure you are getting quality calories not just empty fillers, that will leave your searching for more.

 

But I know that actually doing food prep appears overwhelming. You might find it inconvenient. You have no time. You don’t have the energy. You don’t know how. The excuses are plentiful.

 

This is where we need to shine a spotlight on all the benefits of meal prep because they vastly outweigh the negatives.  And I’m not just talking about it leading you to healthier eating and all that comes with having this habit, but things you might not have thought of.

 

Saves Time:

It might seem like it takes a while to meal prep (and it does) but once it is done, there is nothing else to do. Ask yourself…How much time to you spend daily preparing meals? Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day over the course of a week that is 3.5hours. Once you are in the habit of meal prep it takes less time than that.

 

Saves Mental Energy:

How often are you asking… What do you want to eat? How much mental energy are you using thinking about what should be for dinner. With meal prep, this happens just once a week. Your food is ready so you don’t need to waste your decision making.

 

You’ll have less dishes:

Cooking each night requires the use of multiple dishes, but doing your food prep all at once allows you to use minimal dishes each night. Sure, you’ll have to do them on food prep day, but once you do them you basically only need 1 pan to reheat your dinner…or you could just use the microwave and eliminate even more.

 

You’ll be more active:

We sit a lot. We figure out ways to move less, to make things more “convenient”, but at what cost? Have you ever thought about the way you move your body on a daily basis? You’ve heard that making small daily changes can have huge impacts on your life. Parking a little further from the store your going into or taking the stairs means you are moving just a bit more and over time it adds up in your benefit.

You can think of your meal prep day as active recovery. Standing, chopping, bending down, stirring, carrying dishes & cleaning up. All of this movement helps reverse the effect of our chronically oversitting habits.

 

Become more mindful:

Doing tasks, like cooking, that don’t require a ton of brain energy are great to reset the mind. Sure you might need to look at your recipe and make sure you are adding the correct items, but when you are chopping & stirring you can let your mind wonder, it’s when some of our best ideas are revealed.

 

On a final note, don’t wait for perfection. Your meal prep does not have to be 100%, you can start small. Maybe you focus on just one meal? Or you can prep a bunch of protein; grill chicken & steak, brown up ground turkey meat and toss taco seasoning on it. This way all you need to add are some veggies and you’ll have a whole meal.

 

Try it out this week. Focus on how meal prep will improve your life, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Counting Macros: Food Prep

Here is a little guide to help you understand how to calculate your macros when doing food prep. In this example I am using what I would eat for breakfast and how I prepared 7 days worth.  For more information tune into our Facebook Live Nutrition Talk Friday @ Noon. https://www.facebook.com/events/1912965782049075/

 

Raw vs Cooked: Weighing your food

Raw

To be most accurate you’ll need to weigh your food, but doing this when raw vs cooked will yield different results.

Cooked

Example: The Turkey Sausage raw weighted 514 grams but cooked it was only 365 grams. Although after it is done cooking it weighs less, you still need to account for all the nutrients in the raw amount. (Spoiler: you are not cooking away the calories…sorry).

 

I start by cooking the egg whites first. I don’t need to measure these because they come measured in the container (454 grams/each) and I use 2-whole containers. Once it is done cooking, I will re-weigh the cooked egg whites.

Cooked

In this case they weighed 778 grams cooked.

 

Taking that weight 778 grams I divide that by 7. Each portion of egg whites would be ~111 grams. Don’t worry if you are off by a gram or two. 

Single Serving

~111 grams goes into each one of my containers, but remember when putting it into you app, you’ll want to put in the raw amount. In this case the raw egg whites weight 908 grams. Divide that by 7 and you’ll have ~129 grams in your macro counting app.

 

*This might seem like a lot of work, but once you get into the flow, it’s not that bad. For example, because I eat prepare my eggs the same way each week, I don’t need to measure them once cooked. I know that each serving is going to be approximately 111 grams. If it is off a gram or two it’s not going to throw off your entire day.

 

Moving on, the same thing happens with the turkey sausage and rutabaga.

Raw

Weight them raw and reweight them cooked.

Cooked

With the cooked weight I will divide by 7 since I want to have 7 breakfast prepared for the week.

Single Serving

*If your not being super strict, you could eyeball the portion size, doing your best to split it up into equal serving. This would eliminate the need to reweigh the food after it was cooked.

 

Entering you information into your macro app

 

There are a bunch of different apps that you can get to keep track of your macros. I use My Fitness Pal. It’s probably the most popular, it’s fairly easy to use, and they offer a free version.

There are a few things to remember when entering your foods.

 

#1 check for accuracy. In the search bar if you put in chicken breast you’ll get a thousand different results, some will be more accurate than others. Most will be similar, choose one that is similar with the others if you are unsure. Do Not choose the one that says it only has 2 calories…..your still consuming the calories even if your app tells you otherwise.

 

#2 Enter your raw amounts as often as possible.

 

#3 If you ate it enter it. Think of this as a science experiment. If you want accurate results you’ll want to enter everything….even the bad stuff. This will help you tremendously when you look back and make adjustments. You need accurate information otherwise you are making random adjustments and seeing change in health or body composition will take longer. 

 

This is what it looks like for my breakfast. The Ghee is what I used to cooked the eggs, that counts too. I simply divided what I used by 7. The rest of the foods I did not use anything to “grease” the pan. The turkey sausage greases the pan enough by itself and the rutabaga I saute with water to cut down of my overall fat intake (that way I can eat more avocados later!)

Final note, if you are still new to counting your macros, know that there is a learning curve. It takes some patients and practice. The more you do it the easier it becomes. There will be days you forget to enter or it is way off. You’ll cook an entire casserole and forget to measure anything (I have done this plenty of times). Don’t give up, use any mistakes a  learning experience. Just as when learning to do a deadlift, there is a process. It’s not either deadlift 500lbs or nothing…there is a whole bunch of in between. 

 

Want more info on the basics of nutrition and counting macros? Tune in for our FREE Facebook live nutrition talk on Friday @ noon. If you can’t make it, don’t worry it stays up on Facebook so you can watch it later. If you don’t have Facebook, that is ok too you can still watch it!.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1912965782049075/

 

5 Stages of Nutrition

Download our FREE eBook
5 Stages of Nutrition

Nutrition is an overwhelming topic; for every piece of information about how a food or particular diet is “good” for you there is equal information to contradict those ideas. The media, “health” organizations that are funded by not so healthy companies, and your friends who all have their 2-cents about what is healthy can derail your efforts for a healthier lifestyle. But there are some broad truths that can be followed with any nutrition plan. Our 5 Stages of Nutrition eBook explains these truths and sets you on the path for better health.

 

Download our FREE eBook
5 Stages of Nutrition5 Stages of Nutrition

 

Looking to improve your health?

We offer personalized nutrition coaching to help you reach your goals. Email monique@true-athletics.com or call 203-287-8783 for more details

We’ve Got to Educate Ourselves

The other day some of us got into a great discussion about fish oil, how buying the cheapest is not necessarily cost effective and that the labels can be misleading. It’s hard to resist the fish oil that is less than $10 until you realize that you’ll need to take an excessive amount per day and that the bottle will only actually last about 2 weeks. In order to help explain the label’s SFH provided a great little sheet. You may have looked it over, but chances are you weren’t able to really take in all the info. Lucky for you, I’m going to post it below. It’s definitively worth taking a look at. Even if you are never going to take fish oil, you can relate it to other supplements and start to think about just how important it is to do your research before you buy.

SFH! (851x1100)

 

If you would like more information on the SFH products you can go to their website at SFH.com be sure to check out their education page.

Load More Posts