Whether it is increasing muscle mass or losing body fat, meal prepping is an excellent way to achieve your fitness and body composition goals. Set yourself up for success by following the simple suggestions outlined below to easily meet your daily macronutrient and calorie requirements.
The Bare Essentials:
- Scale with tare and multiple weight measurements
Use a digital scale to easily measure everything that you plan to eat for the day by either grams or ounces. We want a scale that has a tare function so that we can easily “0” out our scale when measuring multiple items TIP: if you travel a lot consider an extra purchase of a small portable food scale that you can put into your carry on or bag for easy tracking on the go.
Purchase a style of Tupperware that is easily stackable, portable and durable. I would opt
for Tupperware that is of the same shape to ease in cleanup and storage when not in use.
- Lunch bag or cooler
While a simple plastic grocery bag and ice pack might suffice, consider purchasing a lunch bag or cooler. Ideally you will want something that will be easy to clean, large enough to hold all of your meals, and keep your food cool for an extended time when needed.
- Myfitnesspal account
MyFitnessPal (MFP) helps you keep track of your daily food and beverage intake, calculating all your nutrients, calories, and vitamins for you. TIP: Sign up is free however they do offer a premium ad-free membership with additional functionality allowing a user to enter in specific macronutrient numbers. Click here to see how to adjust your macro percentages on the desktop version for free.
- Personalized Macronutrient Numbers
Make sure you know how much protein, carbohydrates, and fats you will be required to take in on a daily basis. These numbers are specific to you, your goals, and your activity level. Make sure not to go over or under your macro numbers. Remember that even small deviations from the original calculated numbers will over time affect your final outcome. Stay strict with your numbers.
TIP: Pre-plan meals ahead of time to eliminate guesswork and “piece meals”.
*”Piece meals” are random single macro foods put together to make a “meal” in an effort to fill out your numbers, these meals most likely occur due to poor planning. A typical “meal” might consist of something like this: a half a slice of bread, three cold cuts, a single grape, followed by a shot of olive oil on the side (these meals are sad – don’t do it to yourself)
TIP: For professional nutritional coaching – https://www.strongerufit.com/ – Please mention this site if you decide to use their services!
Meal prepping 101:
- Time management
Set aside time each week for your meal prepping process. In the beginning there can be a slight learning curve when tracking macros, however, this “prep” time will be greatly reduced once you get into a routine.
TIP: In order to “zero out” your macro numbers, plan to budget enough time for yourself to be able to pre-plan your meals in Myfitnesspal. Doing so will minimalize any accidental shortcomings or over indulgences in the near future.
– Create a grocery list
Your options are truly unlimited here. The beauty of this diet is that you do not have to eat anything you don’t want to. Create a grocery list of food you enjoy. While grocery shopping, consider buying a good source of protein, a mix of carbohydrates, and some sort of fat. You can consult the packet you received for suggestions on some “single macro” foods.
Protein: Chicken Breast, Carbohydrate: Brown Rice, Fat: Hass Avocados.
TIP: Keep it simple with your food choices. Choose whole food options and try to purchase foods that will give you the best “bang for your buck” nutritionally. Following this tip will make tracking your food easier and will help keep you satiated longer throughout the day.
- Pre-plan your meals in Myfitnesspal (MFP)
Before you start cooking, and definitely before you start eating anything, you must enter what you plan to eat for the day into MFP. This crucial step ensures that you do not overdo it on your macro numbers. Tweak your portion sizes to fit your needs.
TIP: Create a baseline in MFP by entering a general snapshot of all the food items you want to consume for the day then add or subtract items and portions to bring your macro numbers in line with your original target values. Once again it is always easier to keep it simple.
You can bulk cook for the week or choose to cook on a daily basis, whatever your choice is make sure you have enough food for the week; you do not want to run out of food and risk having to wing it at the last minute.
- Packing and Storing
Break out the digital food scale, MFP, and the Tupperware. Weigh and distribute all of your meals exactly as you had entered it into MFP. Once complete pack your cooler for the next day.
That’s it! Continue to plan ahead and eat your perfectly portioned foods and watch the process begin to work! Don’t forget to add in a healthy dose of activity to build muscle strength and cardiovascular health!
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