We all know that we should eat better, but what gets in the way is often only what we perceive to be challenging. To often, weight loss programs and “health food” manufacturers are not any better that most fitness gurus in the mainstream. Most complicate to profit and leave you feeling like you cannot do it without them while getting mediocre results at best. Eating better is easy, all you need to do is plan ahead and keep things simple.
Preparing in Bulk.
Preparing food in bulk on two days each week is the best way to make sure you always have healthy food at the ready. Block out time to go grocery shopping and prepare most of your food on these two days. By batching your time, you will actually be saving it by keeping most of the time consuming clean up and tear down tasks to only two occasions. Cooking full meals from scratch each day wastes lots of time and is a great way to make sure you fall off the band wagon.
Keep things simple.
Food will often be best when prepared the easiest way. That means most of your prepared food should be done in the simplest way possible without complicated recipes. Bake potatoes, boil rice, grill chicken, and roast vegetables (or buy frozen vegetables- more on this later). Keep them in containers in the fridge and they will hold for three to four days. You don’t need to season the rice or the potatoes at this point, you can do that when you are portioning out your meals. For now, keep it simple. The point of cooking in bulk is to have stock items on hand that you can quickly turn into meals.
Have fun with the chicken (or whatever proteins you choose. I also like to use steak or fish on occasion). Try to season it in a different way each time and come up with a few ways that you like it. I routinely come back to lemon-pepper, lemon-ginger, taco inspired seasonings, or Mediterranean inspired seasonings. The point is that you can use variety here with seasoning to keep things interesting. Protein is the only thing you want to season at this point, but cooking it with seasoning makes a world of difference in the taste department.
Portion your meals out.
Once you have all of your food made you can then keep it in huge containers, or portion it out into meals right after you prepared it and have meals ready to go. Either way works. I prefer to take 15 minutes in the morning or the night before and prep my meals then. That way I can vary seasonings on rice, potatoes, or veggies if I want. At this point you can also add fats to your meals if need be. Drizzle on some oil, add some avocado, or some nuts and you have a balanced meal.
This is also a good time to think about frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables will help keep your meal cold while in your lunch bag and will be ready to be eaten by the time you are ready to eat the meal. And if you are going to use a microwave, they will not burn while cooking and don’t require any prep before hand. Freezing breaks the fiber down in a similar way to cooking, so veggies are ready to be eaten as soon as they thaw.
Use your hand as portion control.
A very easy way to keep portions under control is to use your hands as measuring tools. You always have your hands with you and they are specifically scaled to you. Here is how you want to gauge each meal:
- Protein should be about the size of your palm.
- Vegetables should be about the size of your whole hand.
- Carbohydrates should be about the size of your hand if you were to make a cup with it.
- Fat should be about the size of your thumb.
It’s as easy as that.
Putting a lid on it.
Eating better is that simple. Plan ahead and prep your meals on designated days. You don’t need to have all food prepped, either. I will make my first and last meal fresh everyday, but I generally pack any meals in between. This saves tons of time and makes eating a healthy lunch and dinner a normal part of your every day. Start changing your eating habits now and watch your results in the gym come back ten fold.
Until next time,