Unless you've been living on an entirely different planet, you will have heard the 70/30 rule. Meaning 70% of your fitness goals are down to your nutrition and 30% coming from training. That ratio right there tells us where we should be focusing our efforts to attain maximum results.
But cooking healthily, day in and day out, DOES take effort and DOES take time. Our health is our most valuable asset, and why shouldn't we devote more time to looking after it, with what we eat being a perfect starting point.
The problems arise because nowadays our lifestyles are so fast, we're constantly on the search for convenience.
To that end...we compiled a list of steps you can take to start prepping smarter in the kitchen...
Tip #1: Plan, plan, plan
A goal without a plan is just a wish. To be more productive we need to make sure we have a plan. The time when you're most likely to disengage with your nutrition is if you don't plan it.
So you need to make a conscious effort to draw up your own menu. This should include the structure and timing of your main meals to fit in with your work, lifestyle, and training schedule, and should also include your snacks. Snacks are important to plan for because if you don't, you'll likely reach for the first thing when you open your cupboards.
VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure you have eaten and take a shopping list with you before going to the supermarket!
related post: 9 quick snacks to improve productivity
Tip #2: Cook in Bulk...1 meal vs 10 meals!
So let us assume you're cooking up a lean beef chilli with some rice. you've chopped your veg, steamed your rice and its take you 20-25 mins.
But ask yourself, why cook one meal, when just a little more effort can give you 10 meals?Aside from the ingredients involved and a little extra preparation, the time and effort taken to cook this meal is largely the same. Okay, so you may spend 35-40 mins for a bigger portion, but you will have saved so much time and effort.
Think of it as an investment!
Tip #3: Dedicate time to prepping
In kitchens up and down the country, anyone who is into nutrition and fitness ritualistically spends Sunday afternoons slaving away over the stove...right?!
So the point of dedicating time to your food prep is that it helps you prepare what you need to, not just to cook for that afternoon, but for the week ahead. Once you planned out your menu and have shopped for all of the ingredients, washing, chopping, peeling, weighing your food can all be done in advance of the week ahead. this means the meals you cook mid-week are super efficiently planned and won't take as long because you invested the time earlier that week.
Be careful though, don't try and fit it all into one afternoon because this is a sure fire way to get frustrated with meal prep.
Tip #4: Buy Tupperware...lots of it!
Tupperware is a meal preppers best friend. Easy to travel with, Easy to store and easy to clean they're absolutely essential for anyone who's serious about meal prepping. So once you've done your bulk cooking, pull out the Tupperware and begin portioning out your meals. Labelling them can also help for organisation too. They're perfect for a neat looking fridge and can be frozen too.
Their portability means that you are always one step ahead, and always ready to eat on the go.
Tip #5: Be lean
Ok so I know this is probably what you're aiming for, but it's not exactly what I mean here! I mean to be lean in your approach to cooking, think of it like making a cup of tea. The leanest wy to make a cup of tea is to flick the kettle on, then go get you mug, then a tea bag, then the milk all whilst the kettle is boiling! why would your approach to cooking be any different?
So being able to simplify things like:
- buy ready chopped fruit and veg
- consider ready cooked foods like pulses and chickpeas
- Rotisserie cooked chicken and other meats if you're pushed for time
- cans of tuna are great to add to salads and are instant wins
- Already roasting veg? Why not cook eggs at the same time?! get yourself a muffin tin, place an egg in each section and voila!
As you get used to prepping you will enjoy it, especially when you start having fun with what you cook and experimenting with different techniques and recipes.
But there will come a week when you just can't fit in the cooking. When this time comes, there is always the option of ordering from a food prep company.
Have you heard of foodery fit? With a pleasant menu to choose from, the reasonably priced options and subscription service they offer makes it a really convenient option if you want an alternative solution to your nutritional needs.
Do you already use a meal prep company? What are your hints and tips to make life easier when cooking for the week ahead? Leave your comments below!
Great stuff, Tupperware is literally the best thing for meal prepping!!