Whatever your goal is - loosing body fat, building muscle or just eating healthier, preparation is key. Without this it is harder to resist temptations and falling off the wagon. Just thinking about food prep can be overwhelming. It seems like a very lengthy and dull process but it really doesn't have to be! Follow these tips and become a food prep pro.
1. Involve your partner or a friend
It is always more fun when we involve others. Speak to your partner and tell him/her why you are doing it and how you both can benefit from it. It isn't only a good way to eat better but it can also save you some money and time. No more coming home from work and jumping straight into pots, pans, chopping and washing up. Who's got the time or the energy after a long and busy day at work!?
You can also involve your friends. You can motivate each other daily, share ideas and progress, be accountable to one another. Why not organise a kitchen party once a week where you both get a chance to catch up while you prepare your food together? And if you throw in a glass of wine and some good music in the background it is hard not to have a good time.
2. Look for inspiring recipes
Undust those cook books you've had on your shelves for years or simply go online and look for some healthy recipes. But before you do think about what food is good for batch cooking and freezing or how long it can stay in a fridge for. You don't want to end throwing food away.
Below are my favourite things to prepare in advance:
You can find some more healthy recipes on here.
Sit down with your partner or your friend and do this together. Why not pick one recipe each? This way you can alternate so you are not eating same food everyday. You don't want to get bored of it, you should be looking forward to your meal! You can try different recipes every week and save your favourites to reuse later.
Once you have your recipes ready for the week make a shopping list and get your ingredients. Try to stick to your list. Don't go shopping hungry, you'll be prone to impulse buying, grabbing something quick and not necessary healthy.
3. Balanced diet
When browsing the recipes pay attention to the basics of well balanced diet. Make sure your daily food intake is a combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. All of those macronutrients play different roles within the body and all are important.
Some good sources of PROTEIN are: quinoa, pulses (lentils, beans, chickpeas), tofu, nuts and seeds, oats, eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken and turkey, lean beef, fish and seafood.
Some good sources of unsaturated FAT are: nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, oily fish (salmon, mackerel). Fat found in animal products (saturated fat) like fatty meat, eggs, butter, cheese should be consumed in moderation.
Good sources of CARBOHYDRATES are: sweet potato, brown rice, basmati rice, most vegetables,
especially leafy green vegetables, oats, fruit. Make sure to opt for carbohydrates high in fibre, such as wholegrain rice, pasta and bread, quinoa, beans and lentils, broccoli, spinach and kale, green beans, courgette.
Simply mix and match the above for a healthy, well-balanced meal.
4. Stock up on lunch boxes
As you will be batch cooking it is important to have enough lunch and storage boxes to store the food in. Depending on what you are making I recommend a combination of small to medium boxes/jars perfect for some overnight oats or some yogurt and fruit, hummus and vegetables. If you are preparing soup investing in a good leak-proof soup container is a good idea. You don't want that delicious soup to spill all over your bag on your way to work.
Personally I prefer using glass lunchboxes however with limited storage space in my cupboards I find the plastic boxes easier to stack up.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail" (Alan Lakein). You've decided to give this batch cooking a go but do you have a good plan that will set you for success? Do you know when you want to start? Great! Do you have your shopping list ready? Excellent! Have you planned your supermarket trip? Nice! Have you checked your schedule? Do you have a free day/evening which you can dedicate to cooking? Be realistic.
Just like planning your meetings, social events, or days when you are washing your hair, scheduling food prep works exactly the same. If you know that Wednesday evenings you don't have anything on and you are usually bored on the sofa in front of the TV, or if your kids are usually with their grandparents on Sundays and you have a bit more time, why not use this time to do something productive? This will save you so much time during the week!
6. Enjoy your free evenings!
Now that you have so much more spare time in your week why not sign up to that salsa class you never used to have time for? Or go to the language lessons you've always wanted to go. Maybe go out and see your friends you haven't seen in a long time because life is so busy. Or just read that book your friend got you for your birthday but you could never find time. Whatever it is make sure you spend it doing things that make you happy, help you relax or bring you closer to your goals.