So you might have picked up or read my post from last Sunday ‘Create healthy habits, not restrictions’ where I run through 9 simple guidelines/tips to use as a starting point to adapting a healthier diet. I also included a table which includes a rough guideline of what food groups your diet should be made up of. It’s important when building a new diet plan or adapting to a healthier eating plan that you keep it varied, be aware of your portion sizes, eat enough from the main food groups, and get enough healthy nutrients.
So you’ve made a plan and decided to take control of your healthy eating. In today’s society we are FOREVER on the go. We’re spending less time at home and more time out and about because of work, college, school, interests and hobbies, the list goes on..which is why in my eyes, meal prepping is so important.
You might hate the idea and think eating out of a lunchbox is lame, or that people will look at you funny when you pull out your Sweet potato, chicken and veg..but I promise you no-one genuinely cares, it’s become the norm. Eating out all the time is not only expensive, it can also lead to unhealthy food choices or worse undereating leaving you miserable and hungry and then overindulging as a result later in the day. This isn’t a healthy lifestyle.
So whether you’ve built your own diet plan, or gone to a professional for help with macro’s and they’ve provided you with a healthy eating meal plan tailored to you, here’s my easy tips to help you get started and get you familiar with the idea of MEAL PREP SUNDAYS.
I actually really enjoy meal prepping. And whether your goal are to try and lose weight, build lean muscle mass or just to track what you’re eating daily, it’s essential to do in my view.
So here’s a list of tips:
1. Decide what you want to eat.
So this week I’ve decided to go with:
Breakfast: Eggs and Peanut Butter will be my pre-workout, and a hearty bowl of Oats will be Post-workout
Snack 1: Cottage cheese with peanut butter
Lunch: Turkey Mince, Sweet Potato and mixed veg
Snack 2: Rice Cakes and more Peanut Butter
Dinner: Cod Fillets, Rice and Salad
But you can literally go with anything. Maybe you want soup and wraps for your lunch. Or decide on Chicken fillets, Tuna, Salmon, Beef…
2. Stock up on Tupperware’s.
All the shops have them these days, so it shouldn’t be hard to find them. I get mine in Ikea because I legit bulk buy them and they’ve never leaked on me or caused me any trouble. But I know shops like Tiger and Dealz etc. have funkier ones with slogans on them and stuff if you want some funky and fashionable looking ones.
3. Do a healthy food shop.
Set time aside every Saturday/Sunday and head to the shops. Make a list of what you need from each supermarket. So for me, I get most my fruit/veg/carbs/meats etc from Aldi, and then pick up bits like Egg whites, Peanut butter and different sauces in the likes of Tesco or Dunnes.
By making a list, you’ll be sure not to forget some of the essentials, and know exactly what you need when you get there. It will also mean, you’ll be less likely to venture down the naughty isles and only fill your shopping basket with healthy things.
The more you fill your presses with healthy foods and snacks, the more likely you are to stay on track.
4. Cook in bulk. Less mess, more success
So once you’ve decided what you’re having for lunches and dinners this week it’s time to get prepping.
Step 1: Cook my Turkey/Chicken, Sweet Potato and Cod Fillets. And it could not be simpler.
Grab some oven proof trays. I’m going to use 3 here and line each with some tinfoil.
Chop up the sweet potato however you want it. Last week I went with cubes, this week I feel I want more a mash texture.
Lay each out in a separate tray, and spice them up with whatever flavours you fancy. I’ve gone with Curry on the Sweet Potato, Cayenne pepper on the turkey, and left the Cod natural.
Turn on the oven. Place each tray into the oven, and leave to cook: 25-30 mins for the Sweet potato, and about 30-35 minutes for the fish and turkey. Keep an eye on them though that they aren’t burning, and move the trays up/down if you need to.
Step 2: Cook the Veg
So I’m weird, and cook my veg in the microwave, but honestly saves so much time. Cut up the courgette and place into a Tupperware or a microwave container, cover slightly with water and place in the microwave for 5-7minutes dependent on how crunchy you like it.
I boil my green beans as I buy them frozen, so that one is pretty self-explanatory.
No matter what veg you go with, just cook a bunch of it together. Peppers, broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts… Whatever veg you choose.
You could also oven bake the veg if you had an extra level free. Literally same steps as above, line a tray with tinfoil, place the veg in with some spices and herbs and cook until they are done.
Step 3: Store them away.
So there is 2 ways you can do this.
a) Store each different food in their own tupperwares and take servings out throughout the week (which is what I do). You can store Mon-Weds in the fridge and then Thurs-Sat in the Freezer and take them out mid-week.
b) Divide out your portions now and label them, so that you can just grab the lunchbox and run in the mornings and not have to worry about it for the rest of the week.
5. Cleaaaaaaan up after yourself, and you are doneeeeeeeeee.
It honestly does not get much simpler than that. Now I mentioned I’m having rice with my dinners, but I actually cook that every evening, but you can bulk cook it on a Sunday too, and have that done also. It’s about preference, and time available to you.
Snack wise then, I prepare those every evening when I get in from work and I’m waiting on my rice to cook. I prepare my eggs for pre-workout (when you’re getting up at 4.45am, this means I can just eat and go), and get my mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks together too.
It’s possible on Wednesday a quick trip to the supermarket for fresh veg, salads and other stuff might be needed, but all in all, your cooking is done for the week. You don’t have to stress about your meals as they are prepped, and you can change it up every week so you don’t get bored of eating the same thing.
A little TIP: I actually clean the house at the same time my food is cooking in the oven… LOL. 2 birds, 1 stone!!
Happy meal prep Sunday,