How prepping meals in advance will help you Shed Fat!
Everyone knows that getting lean is some mix of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating whole foods. But if fat loss was as simple as “eat right and exercise”, weight loss would NOT be the billion dollar industry it is today. So healthy eating and exercise is NOT the answer (well, not exactly)…
Here’s the secret sauce. Are you ready?….come closer….wait…that’s too close. Ok. Perfect. Stay right there and listen up.
Fat loss and fitness is 99% mental. That’s right. It’s all about the mindset.
Now, knowing that, think about how the following situations would affect your mindset.
- Driving through traffic during your lunch-break to try to find a decent salad somewhere
- Rushing around in the morning to pack a lunch, but realizing all you’ve got is a crusty bottle of mustard and a sad looking jar of pickles.
- Getting stuck in the lunchroom with a damn pizza that’s seducing you from across the room, and you didn’t pack a lunch. Sexy pizza is sexy.
- Finishing an exhausting afternoon workout and having to choose between making something for lunch, or, screw it, just getting something “not so bad” at that sub place (mmmmm. meatball subs)
You get the idea. These situations can make eating lean a pain in the ass.
They can even be the catalyst for quitting, yo-yo dieting, etc. Basically, any time I feel some resistance from a woman regarding nutrition, I know she’s gone through one or all of the situations listed above. These little pain-in-the-ass moments paint your mindset with a dingy shade of “this is impossible”.
Meal prep is all about the mental aspect of fat loss. It’s clearing the banana peels from the path for your future self. It’s a signal to the universe and subconscious mind that you’re taking full control of your health. And most importantly, it’s a way to keep your mindset on the up and up!
Believe me when I tell you, if you’re preparing a few meals, every other part of your fitness game will fall right into place.
The beauty of meal prepping is that it keeps the focus of your day to day lifestyle on healthy, whole foods! If you shop lean and prepare lean meals, you’ve added an extra layer to your fortress of willpower.
What You’ll Need
For your meal prep, you’ll need 6-12 tupperware containers, ranging from 1-2 cup size for snacks, and 3-5 cup containers for meals. It’s also great to have tiny containers for dressings, oils, & other condiments.
Glass is preferred, but not required. Glass lasts longer, and is better for microwaving, as some studies show that microwaving plastic can leach chemicals into the food you’re eating. While glass is considerably more expensive, it is better for the environment, and considering the amount of times you’ll use them, they’re well worth the investment. Not to mention they look really nice.
For this video, I used glass lock, as well as rubbermaid containers.
You will also need food that fits into your fat loss and health goals. This means foods that are unprocessed, or foods with minimal ingredients. That’s it! If you follow this rule, you’ll be just fine.
If you need a clear picture of what types of foods you should be stocking up on, check out the my free Lean Grocery Shopping List to get the details.
You might also want to download a great podcast or playlist while you cook. I highly recommend the new This American Life spinoff podcast called Serial. Warning. It’s a true-crime mystery, roller coaster of a podcast, and It. Is. So. Damn. Good…. I digress.
It should be noted, if your goal is fat loss, most women do well cutting starchy carbs out of their last two meals. So if you’re prepping dinner meals, keep the focus on healthy fats, veggies, and lean proteins!
Step by Step
1.Choose a day that works for you, and stick to that day.
My meal prep days are Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday is also the day I get all my errands done. It’s my day to prepare for success in the week ahead.
2. Find your daily weak spots and prep for those.
Consider the busiest times of your week, and prep for those weak spots. For some women, this might be breakfast and lunch. For others this might be lunch and dinner. A common pitfall is lunch or snacks with coworkers. The donut tray at your office is nearly impossible to resist when you know you don’t have anything in the fridge, and you have to wait another two hours before you eat.
Some women only need to prep one meal. For example, I’m always busiest around lunch time, so I prep 4-6 lunch meals on sunday as well as 6 snacks. The rest of the day, I can figure something out or throw something in the crock pot for dinner.
3. Make a menu and shop.
Write out the ingredients you’ll need for the week to prep the meals you like. To get a vast array of nutrition, rotate the foods you eat every 3-4 days. Whether that means changing the vegetables, protein sources, carbs, or all three.
4. Cook, measure, and put away.
This is the time to cut, chop, and put away. Prepare your meals and snacks. Consider your own personal needs, appetite, and schedule. To avoid getting overwhelmed, start with prepping one meal for each day of your week (around 4-6 meals total).
Having a good cooler, set of utensils, and a little stash of floss and gum are some things you might also want to consider.
Another tip, pack a lemon with each lunch. Squeezing some lemon juice into your water, and drinking that after you’re done eating can help digest your food. This is optional, but I always do this. Plus lemon in water tastes delicious.
6. Change up your food every week
Unless you’re very finicky and particular, you should rotate your meals every 5-7 days. This will give you a vast array of nutrients. For example, turkey is very rich in tryptophan, which is great for serotonin production. Wild salmon is rich in brain-protecting, skin-enhancing omega fats. One isn’t better than the other.
There is no such thing as “one best food”, or even “best combination of foods”. There’s tons of really great foods, each with different but equally important benefits.
And if anyone ever tells you to eat nothing but “Blank and Blank food”, that person doesn’t understand the importance of a well balanced nutritional profile.
Great Foods for Meal-Prepping
While you can prepare any foods you like on your meal-prep day, I’ve found the following foods particularly easy and delicious.
I always love salad for lunch anyway. And if you know me, you know my salads are no joke. I don’t just throw a little romaine in a bowl and call it a day. I use a vast array of fruits, vegetables, seeds, herbs and spices in my salads. Preparing 4-6 salads on Sunday will simplify your week. From there, you can throw a lean protein of your choice on top, pack a little side of dressing and olive oil, and out the door you go.
Soups & Stews
Soups and stews are great because they maintain flavor days after preparing them. They’re also pretty easy to make in a crock pot while doing other errands. Not tomention, soups and stews are some of the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat. In her book Deep Nutrition, Dr. Cate Shanahan discusses the benefits of slow cooking your food to unlock nutrients like collagen, for healthier joints.
Healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and brown rice, and brown rice pasta are all fabulous for batching on your sunday meal prep. They reheat easily, and are versatile. Even if you don’t fully construct your meals, if you prepare generous batches of lean carbs and protein on Sundays, you can construct different types of meals throughout the weeks as you go.
Hard Boiled Eggs
The lean equivalent of a drive-thru. It doesn’t get any easier, or healthier, than hard boiled eggs.
Whole Fruits & Veggies
Figure out what vegetables and fruits you LOVE, and pack one of those in your cooler with your lunch. This will up the fiber content of your meals. As a rule of thumb, take whatever amount of vegetables you’re eating right now, and double it. Doing this alone will increase your metabolism, and reduce inflammation in your body.
For example, I like to eat at least one cucumber per day (in addition to veggies at most meals) . Cucumbers are great for digestion, anti-inflammatory, non-messy, and have a deliciously mild flavor. So I always pack a cucumber on top of my prepared meal dishes.
Your favorite Lean Foods
The best types of healthy foods are the ones you will eat. Don’t make the mistake of prepping your meals with things you can’t stand eating. For example, I’m not a fan of asparagus. If my meals were all prepped with asparagus, I’d subconsciously resist eating them. Don’t create any unnecessary barriers.
The Food I Used This Week
- Brown rice pasta
- Little 3oz sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s
- Cruciferous greens blend from Trader Joe’s as the base for my salads.
- A mix of carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and hemp seeds sprinkles on top of the cruciferous blend.
- Organic chicken from Trader Joe’s, seasoned with tons of oregano, basil, lemon, thyme, sage, and a little sea salt.
- Balsamic vinegar with olive oil in the little 2oz. containers
- Cut up slices of orange and yellow bell peppers
- 6 apples for my snack this week with the bell peppers
- I seasoned my tilapia with Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning.
- 6 lemons to cut and squeeze, half is used on my salads, and half in my water to help digest the food better (and I like lemon in my water)
Prepare for success!
If you more information on fat loss, you can pick up My Fat Loss Program.
Thank you for spending this time with me.