More than one-third of Americans are considered obese, and the statistics are on the rise. If you are trying to lose excess weight, the combination of a healthy diet and exercise is the key to success. Exercise may increase your appetite, so it’s important to know how to fuel your body with healthy options so you stay satisfied while promoting weight loss.
What is meal prepping?
Meal prep involves preparing weekly or bi-weekly meals ahead of time to help with portion control, healthy food selections and your grocery budget. This practice is popular for those who want to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The ultimate guide to meal prepping
Meal prepping can vary depending on your lifestyle and health goals, but its purpose is to simplify mealtime into healthier options as well as save you time and money.
Planning and shopping for meal prep
In the planning stage, make sure you’re including the basics like protein, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains. If you stick to basic categories, you will not need to plan recipes ahead of time. Instead, you can easily mix and match ingredients throughout the week to keep your meals interesting.
Next, decide how many days you want to meal prep and be sure to purchase enough foods that prep well from each category. Foods that prep well include, meats, brown rice, potatoes, dark leafy greens, peppers, legumes, and avocados. It’s also a good idea to load up on healthy snacks like Greek yogurt, string cheese, boiled eggs, protein bars or rice cakes to keep you from making unhealthy choices in between meals.
Preparation and cooking for meal prep
Beginners will need to set aside a few hours for meal prep. Once you’re in the habit of prepping and know your favorite meals, your active prep time will decrease. Preparing batch meals should be done strategically to limit time and effort. So, gather all of your ingredients and group them together by cooking stage. For example, do all of your chopping and slicing first and set it aside.
Before you begin cooking, we recommend reading all of your recipes and start with the component that will take the longest to cook. Most of the time that will be your protein component. If you have meat that needs to bake for an hour, get it in the oven first and then prepare the grains and vegetables. Mix up your cooking methods to keep your meals interesting too. Bake, roast, crockpot, stir-fry or grill your way to a healthier weight without getting bored.
Storing your prepped meals
First, assemble your food into meals and store them in containers with multiple compartments. While you can also store each component separately, you will need to assemble your food for each meal. Next, once you have added all of your food into storage containers, let them cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
Most cooked foods last three to four days in the refrigerator, so you might want to freeze anything you are not planning to eat within that time frame. Label any containers going into the freezer with a date and its contents.
At The Hernried Center for Medical Weight Loss, we offer our highly effective Quick 20 program to teach you about proper nutrition and conquering daily challenges. Contact us today for a free phone consultation.