Ok, so here is the majority of gym goers' sticking point, and one that you either love or hate… meal prep! I personally have never minded buying, weighing out and cooking my meals as I try to work pretty strategically so that it's done in a fast but thorough manner.
There are plenty of ways to make prep easy, just be sure not to over complicate things. I cook for three days at a time, so Monday to Wednesday then Wednesday to Saturday, and I then do Sunday's meals on Sunday morning. Although cooking three times a week seems like a lot, sometimes it’s not convenient to cook seven days’ worth and freeze them.
- First of all, you need to plan in advance to know what fits your plan. (I like to use MyFitnessPal, but there are other apps and spreadsheets available to track your food intake). Once you’re sure you’ve got your intake in hand, take to the supermarket and buy your ingredients.
- Start with the veg and carbs, as these can be cooking while you attend to your proteins. Weighing everything out raw, ensure you’re cooking enough for the days planned. In my case, if I was prepping for three days and having one meal a day which included 30g of rice, I’d cook 90g of raw rice.
- Weigh out your protein (meat/fish) raw and cook separately. With meat and fish, once it's cooked there is a lot of shrinkage, so it’s best to cook each thing separately. If roasting chicken, do each piece separate in foil so it’s easier to divide up when cooked.
- Once your protein is cooked, divide up into plastic tubs, ready for the remainder of your meals
- Once your carbs are cooked, weigh as a whole and then divide. When using my example at point 2, if I’ve cooked 90g of raw rice, once it's cooked it will weigh 3 times that, so pour all of it into a tub and divide equally between the 3 tubs
- Wait for everything to cool, pop the lids on and place in the fridge.
– If any of your meals include tuna or any other fresh fish, prepare that meal either the night before or morning of consumption
– Never eat a meal past three days old, just to be on the safe side
– Always plan ahead, and use an app that suits you
– If you can’t find the item on your tracking app you’re looking for, try to scan the barcode