It'll help keep your healthy eating plan on track. We asked fitness blogger Siobhan O'Hagan how to do it.
“Meal Prep basically means preparing some or all of your meals in advance,” explains fitness blogger Siobhan O’Hagan. “This could be on the Sunday for the week ahead, in the evening for the next day or even in the morning for the day head. Usually it just means making meals in bulk, storing it in Tupperware and putting it in the fridge or freezer. It can even be as simple as dividing nuts into smaller bags for portion control. If you are trying to control exactly what is going into your body, it is essential.”
“When you are prepared, you are a lot less likely to go for unhealthy options for meals or snacks. It means you can control what food you are having in advance. Plus it’s actually much cheaper, especially when you eat a lot – like me!”
“This can vary depending on how creative you are in the kitchen but it can be as quick as boiling your rice for 10 minutes while you fry your chicken in coconut oil and seasoning. You can even have several meals going at once. For example you could have sweet potato and veg roasting in the oven while you are steaming fish on the hob. It can be done in less than an hour. The time consuming part is actually the planning, shopping and unfortunately the cleaning. Initially, it is tedious but it becomes second nature and when you don’t have to cook or clean any more during the week it is worth it.”
You’ll need to know what you’re going to eat for the next seven days. “Plan breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and try keep it consistent for the week,” recommends Siobhan. “Note any social lunches or dinners you have to go to and work around it. Look at the menu in advance and plan your choice. When you have planned in advance you are a lot less likely to stray.”
You’re going to be storing a lot of food, so you’ll need something decent to store it all in. “The stronger the seal the better – especially if you like your garlic and spices like me,” says Siobhan. “Most of the large supermarkets have some.”
“Aim for each meal to have a big portion of protein,” recommends Siobhan. “You should also aim to have a big portion of greens and veg and a small portion of unprocessed carbohydrates, like sweet potato, brown rice or oats.”
Being healthy doesn’t have to be dull. “Herbs and spices are key to keep your meals interesting,” says Siobhan. “Watch out for seasonings where the main ingredient is salt or sugar. Get a spice rack and get creative to find a flavour you like.”
“I aim for up to 4 days’ worth of prepped meals to be kept in the fridge,” says Siobhan. “Longer than that and I would freeze the meals and defrost the night before. Make sure to follow food safety guidelines on freezing and reheating.”
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