The key to success, when we have a physical, athletic or even general health goal, often lies in planning and preparing meals and snacks in advance for the week.
Planning according to your food plan, work schedule, time spent in the gym, in your car, at home and even on occasional outings (such as at the movies) will ensure 90% of your success.
Here are some tips to make your food preparation effective.
1. MAKE A PLAN
Determine in advance what day you will spend preparing meals, schedule it and maintain your plan. Sunday is often a good day which allows you to start the week on the right foot. It is wrong, in my opinion, to say that it is to waste precious time on weekends to spend a Sunday afternoon preparing meals for the week. I firmly believe that this will save you time on the other 6 days of the week.
Make a list of your favourite recipes and choose the ones you want to cook this week. Watch the specials, check flyers or the internet to get inspired and save more on your grocery bill.
2. MAKE A GROCERY LIST
Depending on your food plan, the number of meals you eat per day, and what you already have at home, make your shopping list in advance. In addition to saving you time during your visit to the grocery store, you will avoid succumbing to processed foods that are not part of your plan.
3. SHOP GROCERIES IN ADVANCE
Doing your grocery shopping on a weeknight when you finish work, before you go home, allows you to have your weekend dedicated to fun. You can enjoy your evening and your weekend. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to do so on a weeknight, go on Saturday mornings around 8-9 a.m. at the opening of the grocery store. This will save you from wasting valuable time in the hustle and bustle of the weekend. Nothing is more unpleasant than the traffic.
Once at the grocery store, head straight to the food aisles on your grocery list.
The less time you spend at the grocery store, the less you will be tempted by foods you don’t need. A good way not to succumb to temptations is to avoid the aisles of the center. Sweet and processed foods are always found in these places. Fresh, healthy food is all around the rows. Stay there.
4. COOK LARGE QUANTITIES.
Cut raw vegetables for the whole week. Prepare your lettuce for salads. Prepare dressing for the week. Cook your starchy foods in large quantities. (Riz, sweet potatoes, quinoa, lentils, gluten-free pasta) according to your plan.
Double or triple receipts to have extra portions.
Consider cooking proteins that can then be used for multiple meals. For example, cook a whole chicken. Eating roast chicken that evening, you can also cut some of it into cubes to add to your salads or snacks. Shred a breast into wraps with lettuce leaves for dinner. Use the thighs to cook chicken and vegetable rice. Use the bones to make a homemade chicken broth. (One protein, 4 to 5 different meals)
Same with a roast beef. Make a homemade vegetable soup with chicken broth and add pieces of roast beef as a protein. Make an Asian-style vegetable stir-fry and add thin slices of beef. It is also possible to eat it cold as a snack or mix some of it with minced meat and shape beef dumplings for lunch.
Use the slow cooker to cook your meats. This requires little preparation and monitoring. It’s a great alternative!
Anticipate for the next day.
5. PREPARE EMERGENCY "SNACKS."
Always have pre-prepared protein foods; prepare hard-boiled eggs, buy cans of tuna in olive oil, cut pieces of cooked chicken into strips. Buy fresh fruit (apple, grapes) or frozen fruit. Cut raw vegetables (lots of raw vegetables, we like vegetables!), prepared lettuce, cheese (organic), rice cakes, nuts, Greek yogurt and even 80% cocoa and dark chocolate. All of these foods can really help out and are an excellent “less worse choice.”
When hunger occurs, if no healthy food is available quickly, that’s when you’ll risk dipping a spoon into the Jar of Nutella or devouring a row of Oreo cookies because it’s easier. (Not buying these foods is also a good way not to eat them.
6. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
It is not mandatory to cook 3-4 different and elaborate recipes and eat differently at all meals.
Use different herbs and spices to vary the taste of your protein. Make your own marinades using fresh, quality foods (lemon, garlic, onion, fresh herbs, olive oil or other).
Use avocado or Greek yogurt as a sauce base, create your pesto with fresh herbs and use a variety of cooking methods. Sauces prepared at the grocery store often contain additives, salt and sugar that are camouflaged and not necessary for your diet. In addition, they will tend to mask the taste of your food rather than enhance their flavours. Rediscover the true taste of food.
7. ADAPT THE FORMULA FOR YOU.
It has already been determined that the “food prep” formula is essential to achieving your goals. Now it’s up to you to tailor the formula to yourself. There are many ways to build a meal prep. You can prepare all meals from lunch to dinner in advance, and can be 12th ed than in pre-prepared containers. You can only prepare lunches and snacks for work and cook lunch and dinner in the present moment.
You can eat exactly the same for dinner, 5 days a week or prepare 5 different meals. You can also cook proteins, starches and vegetables in advance, and make your lunches one day at a time. Do you see what I’m getting at?
This is not a “one size fit’s all.” The tips mentioned above are examples among a multitude of possibilities.
There is no perfect formula. Everyone is able to adapt the formula to their lifestyle, their habits, their family. This is about finding your own personal way that will help you achieve your own goals.
The priority is to take a time to prepare your meals, but the model may be different. One goal, several paths to reach it.
Your happiness and state of mind are more important than the formula itself.
8. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
As with any new habit, there will be a delay in adaptation.
The first time, it will certainly be longer and more difficult. As the weeks and months go by, you will become better. You will develop your stuff, know more and more your tastes, your needs. You’ll have your list of must-have foods and meals. You will become more efficient and faster.
You will see that it will become easier and easier. It will then be possible to improve your model and adapt it according to the seasons, specials and even your mood.
There is no foolproof model, perfect food or optimal time. There is only the will to succeed as best you can. The best foods will be the ones you like to eat AND that will help you reach your goal. The best time will be the one you choose, the state of mind that will guide you will be the one you have determined.
If you follow these tips, you will greatly increase your chances of success. This is not infallible of course, but you have everything in hand to facilitate the achievement of your goals.
Not having to “run” after work, to make dinner and lunches every night will allow you to have more time for yourself. Use this time to train 4 to 5 days a week if you wish. Play with your children, walk your dog, relax and take time for yourself, go to bed earlier and optimize your sleep. In this way, you will help reduce your stress and your cortisol level (by the same to what, increase fat loss).