When you think about meal prepping does it seem like some daunting, time consuming task that you HAVE to do? It definitely used to be that way for me. I felt like I needed to prep something different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. That, as you can imagine, led to a lot of money wasted on ingredients and a lot of extra food that sometimes went to waste. I now have a pretty tight budget when it comes to groceries because it can be so easy to go overboard. Developing a simple meal prep routine has really helped me stay on budget each month, eat healthy, and save time during the work week.
Here are my top tips for keeping meal prep simple:
- Make a plan for the entire week. Figure out your schedule with work, workouts, and extra curriculars and see where you can most benefit from meals that are already prepped. Hitting up the 6:40 PM class consistently? Definitely meal prep your dinners, so that by the time you get home all you need to do is reheat your food.
- Batch cook! Prep things like protein and starches in bulk. Add a bunch of chicken to a sheet pan or crock pot and cook enough servings for the entire week. Same with your starches– sweet potatoes, rice, spaghetti squash, etc. These generally take longer to cook and reheat fairly well, so make them ahead of the week to save time.
- Use convenience appliances like a crock pot or instant pot. During your weekend prep you can create entire meals to store in the freezer, then during the week add the meal to your crock pot and let it cook all day. Easy for family dinner nights! Pinterest has A TON of freezer meal ideas.
- Plan for meals that you know you will be eating out. Make meals out special! Spend your time and money wisely and choose places that serve quality food. Rather than grabbing fast food on your lunch break or on your way home from the gym (gasp).
- Choose a method that work for you. Do enjoy cooking dinner for yourself or your family each night? Great! When you do your weekend prepping make a plan for the week ahead and get all the ingredients you need. You can prepare ingredients like washing and chopping vegetables and thawing out protein. Everything will be ready to go each night when you make dinner. Do you know for a fact that you will not cook during the week? Then follow step 1!
I hope this helps! Establishing a healthy meal prep, or nutrition in general for that matter, routine takes some trial and error. You cannot know what will work best for you until you try out different things. You can only benefit from being organized!
In any fitness regiment, the most important, and often least considered, element is the diet. And by diet, I don’t mean a fad diet saying you can’t eat any carbs ever, or you can only eat cucumbers for the next 30 days, or shakes for every meal for the foreseeable future.
None of these are sustainable over a long period of time and oftentimes they don’t even address the actual root of a bad diet. A wise woman once said to me, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” meaning that no matter how dedicated you are to working out, a bad diet will thwart your results every time. So what can we eat to supplement and enhance an active lifestyle while at the same time being fulfilling and full of freedom? Short answer: clean eating.
What is clean eating?
Clean eating is the basic idea of eating food as close to its natural, raw form as possible. This does not include boxed, bagged, or packaged foods. It also excludes processed foods as they contain a TON of unnecessary sugar, salt, saturated fats, all the unhelpful stuff.
Imagine your grocery store. Now picture the perimeter of the store. All the produce is there, (fresh fruits and vegetables galore), raw, fresh cuts of meat, the eggs, the spices; the stuff that you could eat from nature without having to add preservatives. The purpose of eating clean is to eat for nourishment and fuel.
Clean eating powers the body more efficiently. The fibers in fruits and vegetables keep the metabolism working longer. Fresh meat contains protein to help build and replenish muscles. Healthy fats that run the cells smoothly are found in eggs, nuts, seeds, and more. Essentially, the more naturally colorful the food is, the better.
From personal experience, after clean eating for two months then dipping my toes back into the processed food world, I felt sluggish, out of focus, and noticed I didn’t perform as well in the gym.
Balance in Important
Of course, life is about balance. If you discover that you’re drinking a soda or two everyday, replace them with Zevia, Bubly, or La Croix. If your meals are mostly microwaved from a box, start weaning yourself off your sugar/salt addiction by replacing a meal with chicken tacos, with fresh veggies, or any number of delicious, fresh meals. Eventually, work your way into the 80/20 realm where 80% or more of your food intake is clean food and 20% or less is your treat food. This way you can satisfy your cravings but you take in much more quality sustainence. Meal prepping is invaluable in this.
Clean up your act! Eat clean! (Insert cheesy wink here)
Want More Info/Help with Nutrition?
Clean eating is a great place to start, but if you want more information or a more specific plan and some accountability Icehouse does offer Nutrition Coaching. To learn more with a free Intro call, snag your time here to see if we can help: https://meetme.so/IcehouseNutritionConsult
Emily is the head Flux Coach, and our resident Icehouse Dottir. When Emily isn’t coaching Flux, she is working on elevating her own fitness & yoga game, sketching some badass tattoos for friends, or getting ink done herself.
Nutrition is the foundation of performance inside and outside the gym. It fuels your training and your life. Here at Icehouse we encourage taking the whole foods approach to nutrition that sounds a lot like, “eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar” ~ Greg Glassman, or the abbreviated version, “eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” ~ Ben Bergeron. (more…)
Sarah Skedsvold is a coach at CrossFit Icehouse. She’s committed to turning workouts into play and bolstering CrossFit Icehouse’s charge to “Build Everyday Athletes”. In her spare time she is in a constant search the absolutely perfect personal planner and calendar.