Meal prepping my lunches has played a key part in me successfully losing my baby weight. I find that having a baby or a toddler makes it very difficult to find the time to do barely anything for yourself, including making a healthy lunch from scratch. This can lead to reaching for quick, easy convenience foods or just snacking rather than having a proper nourishing meal. By pre-preparing lunches for the week you avoid this and just have something ready to grab straight from the fridge. Yes it takes a bit of time to do initially, but I find it actually saves time through the week and can really contribute to achieving health and fitness goals.
These are some of my personal tips for meal prepping. I am not a nutritionist but these are just the basic rules I follow that some of you may also find helpful. I like to keep my meal prep simple and easy with minimal fuss and preparation and most importantly, make something I actually enjoy eating!
- Protein my meal preps always consist of three main components; a source of protein, carbohydrate and greens or vegetables of some sort for those micro nutrients. Good protein sources are: chicken breasts, salmon, turkey mince…basically any form of lean meat. I also love vegetarian sausages or non meat protein sources like Quorn or the Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages. Beans and pulses are other good sources aswell. High protein foods tend to be harder to digest and so fill you up for longer, protein is also essential for muscle repair if you exercise.
- Carbohydrate once you have your protein source decided next choose a carb. Carbohydrates help with our energy levels, again very important if you exercise or are running around after a little person all day! Complex carbs are the best choice as they provide slow release energy, again keeping you fuller for longer. I like to use things like brown rice, or roasted sweet potato chunks. If you are going have bread or wraps wholemeal is the healthiest choice. If using rice I will measure out my serving sizes (personally it’s about 75g of dry rice per meal so just multiply that by how many meals you are making and you will know how much to cook.)
- Weigh out portion sizes sounds a bit neurotic but it’s so easy to over estimate how much we should be eating. When cooking up food in batches for meal prep Google how much meat constitutes a portion, and then weigh out how much you will need for the amount of days meal prep you are making. Same goes for carbs…when it comes to veggies it’s a free for all as far as I am concerned. Also watch how much oil you use for cooking as oils are very calorie dense.
- Veggies/greens whether it’s salad or kale or any other veg this is where we get our micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals we need. It doesn’t have to be boring either, roasted Mediterranean veg like peppers, red onion, courgette (zucchini) and butternut squash are absolutely delicious. You can even roast your kale with olive oil, garlic and sea salt to make it more interesting.
- Seasoning absolutely key for meal prep enjoyment in my opinion. I season everything. My roasted sweet potato is seasoned with smoked paprika and a tiny bit of sea salt, I season vegetables again with black pepper and often garlic olive oil, and if I am using a meat source I will season that with the jerk or Cajun spice mixes that you can buy from supermarkets. It just makes food more interesting and enjoyable to eat.
- Good fats for healthy fats I will cook with olive oil or coconut oil. All oils are high in calories some are just healthier than others. I will occasionally add a chopped avocado to my lunch when I eat it aswell. I also add hummus most days as like a healthy and tasty accompaniment.
So there’s just a few tips to get started with meal prepping. When trying to lose weight a lot of people think not eating is the best way but all this will do is slow down your metabolism and potentially lead to bingeing on unhealthy choices when you get over hungry. If you have healthy meals available and ready to go you are setting yourself up for success, and most importantly taking care of your body.