One of the easiest ways to fall into the habit of not knowing what to eat or when to eat it, or easily grabbing the wrong thing, is not having the access to it.
Traditional snack foods are over-eaten out of ease, not necessarily out of like. I’m not always consistent about having a lot of food prepped in the beginning of the week but I will admit that I usually have my staples for the week. Immediately after coming home from grocery shopping I prepare all fruits and vegetables. Most of these meals do NOT consist of dinner meals as I usually make them fresh daily. It’s important to be prepared, after all, it is often said, that “if you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Diet plays the most important role in your fitness process, for it’s not what you output for one hour at the gym so much as what you input for the 23 hours when you are not inside the gym! Everybody is different, so follow your own tastes and tolerances. Find what works for you. Life is not based on iceberg lettuce, celery sticks and boiled chicken. My preparation has changed throughout the years.
Since I have children, it’s important that they constantly have snacks ready for them. There are several other snacks I keep on hand such as yogurt, pepperoni sticks, string cheese, fruit, veggie sticks, crackers, trail mix bars and their favorite cereal.
Here are my food prep tips:
Make your food taste good. In the beginning I would eat bland foods like chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. While I still do that, I also have more variety in what I can choose from. I honestly can’t eat plain chicken breast anymore.
Prepare 3-4 days in advance. Sometimes if you cook more than you need to you end up wasting food. Have a plan for what you are making and how you are planning on eating it.
For the vegetables and fruits that need to be cut and cooked daily put them in a place you can see daily. I have mine out on the counter.
You can pre-pack in tupperware containers to make it easier to grab and go. I usually like to choose what combinations I want to put into the tupperware daily so I don’t pre-package anymore. Also know you don’t have to make multiple meals at a time but have excess in the fridge. Any given day you can find grilled chicken breast, plain cooked vegetables and prepped fruit in my fridge.
I love eating raw. Don’t be intimidated by the preparation process. Some foods don’t require any cooking! Like salads, fruits and certain vegetables. However find what works for you! Aim to try all the fruits and vegetables in your produce department at the store you shop at. Find what you like, what makes lunch easy for you and how you like it prepared from raw to cooked.
This will take time to master, especially if you are new to cooking in advance, but you will become more efficient as you continue to cook weekly.
Same snacks and additives for your lunch.
BOILED EGGS: Easy to do and so many ways that are time savers and hassle free.
AVOCADOS: Avocados are a fantastic unsaturated, healthy fat. Avocados are so universal, added to sandwiches, salads, paired with vegetables or simply eaten with a spoon.
VEGAN COOKIES: Whole foods is the best place to purchase these if you don’t opt to make them yourself. Remember just because they are vegan doesn’t make them healthy, but a great additive for
BAGGED VEGGIES: I love to personally buy frozen steamer bags as well as fresh bags of veggies for quick go to. Can be cooked or raw. They are great for salad toppings as well as to dip in hummus or dressing of your choice.
FRESH FRUITS: I average a minimum of 2-3 servings of fruit a day.
APPLES/LEMONS/LIMES: Apples is my favorite fruit to eat for energy. They are low on the glycemic index and great pre or post workout. Our family favorite are pink ladies. I also have a bowl of lemons on our counter at all times as I squeeze lemon juice in all my waters to give it taste and help detox me as well as add flavor and fun to my family’s water to help increase their intake.
SHREDDED CHICKEN: I like to keep cooked chicken in the fridge mostly because if I need to fix a quick dinner, heated for lunch, made into sandwiches.
STRAWBERRIES: This fruit is a constant in our household. Funny that when I was young, I used to dip them in sugar when I consumed it. I can’t believe I used to do that! It’s so sweet naturally on its own. Know that it is a studied fact that if you leave strawberries tops on in the fridge on store bought container 1:3 they will go bad. Prep them immediately after purchase.
Other items to have on hand:
• Banana muffins
• Frozen fruit