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Food temptation is everywhere. Fast food joints are on every corner. The bakery has been moved to the front of the grocery store so you smell the sweet carbs when you walk in. If you don’t arm yourself with the foods you should eat to stay true to your diet, you are likely to not see the harm in one little cheat meal. That one cheat meal could turn into a full day or week of cheats. Don’t fail. Not only is meal preparation fast and easy, it is cost effective, and it yields guaranteed results as far as your body is concerned (says a wife, mom, natural bodybuilder, educator and freelancer).
Time is a non-issue when you learn to meal prep efficiently.
Remember: Abs are made in the kitchen and muscles are made in the gym. All the hard work you put into your workouts will only show when you couple it with proper nutrition.
Why You Should Meal Prep:
- It’s an effective weight loss tool because you won’t be hitting the fast food chains.
- You’ll save money because it’s cheaper to cook at home than eat out.
- It aids in your mental commitment to your diet because dieting is a mental game.
- Portion control! When you dole it out in advance, you proportion food ahead of time.
- You research healthy meals to prepare thus educating yourself on a nutritious eating lifestyle.
- You save time by only having to cook two or three times per week in bulk.
- Bottom Line: It’s healthy!
How Do I Choose Foods or Meals?
When considering what to prepare for your three main meals, keep this in mind – a protein, a carb, and a fat source. These are the three main macronutrients, or fuels, that your body needs to function properly and to keep your diet well-balanced.
Keep your proteins lean, your carbs clean and your fats natural.
Clean carbs means obtaining them from natural sources like vegetables; limit or eliminate processed carbohydrates. Fats should also be obtained from whole foods. Sugar should be non-existent and salt should be kept to a minimum.
If you are trying to lose weight, low-carbohydrate diets are effective. Low-carb diets have other health benefits as well. Mayo Clinic states, “Low-carb diets may help prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.”
Next- keep it simple. You may have to deal with a bit of monotony when it comes to your meals. If you were expecting elegant meals, go ahead and change your mindset now. Finding go-to meals that taste great is not difficult; you just might have to eat the same meal multiple times per week. For variation, make easy change ups. For example: rotate veggies, add a little sliced avocado on top, or sprinkle on some low-fat cheese.
Basic, Whole Foods That Should Be On Your Grocery List:
- Chicken breast
- Ground turkey
- Lean beef or bison
- Sweet potato
- Brown rice
- Other whole grains
- Load up on all the tasty green veggies you can with every meal!
- Peanut butter
- Olive oil
Measuring Meals – Portion Sizes
The best way to measure your food is with a food scale and/or measuring cups. Most people have measuring cups and spoons, but not many have a food scale. Food scales are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive.
The ratio of proteins, carbs, and fats that each person needs is different depending on their body type and fitness goals. The easiest way to figure out your ratios is to use an online calculator: use it to help you determine your portion sizes from each of the macronutrient groups per meal.
Keep in mind that you should be eating five or more small meals per day. You will eat about every 2.5 to 3 hours. This will keep your metabolism cranking. Also, your body won’t be confused as to when it will receive fuel. Skipping meals makes your body store more fat because if does not know when it will get fed again. In addition, your metabolism slows.
Don’t skip meals!!!