How To Meal Prep For Weight Loss
Meal prep for weight loss can be an easy and simple way to manage caloric intake. Meal prep, put simply, is the act of making several meals and snacks in advance, for ease of preparation when desired. Usually, people have busier times in their lives and times when their lives are more relaxed. The idea is to balance that time out by doing more work during downtime, thus allowing for less stress and better choices during busy times. There are a variety of ways to implement these skills and techniques, which makes it wholly customizable to individual situations.
Most people will take one day a week (usually Sunday) and do as much meal prepping for their week as they can. This will work for a lot of people, but not for everyone. Some people have fluctuating schedules, and it’s important to realize that meal prep for weight loss will still work. They will have to be more intentional, and take whatever time they have to plan or prepare their meals. No matter what day the planning and work are done, these are the essential components.
Planning involves several components:
Deciding what to eat and when; making a list of ingredients; shopping for those ingredients; deciding how the ingredients will be prepared and portioned. This initial step takes time and is a skill that requires practice.
It may be a good idea to start small. Start with snacks, or a particular meal such as dinner. Or maybe start with just one day. Either way, making a start is crucial, and it will get easier with practice.
Others who are practicing meal prep techniques for weight loss have found a variety of inventive ways to streamline their meal prep activities.
Here are a few fun and creative ways to get the most out of meal prepping:
- Use Ball Jars For Portioning: The example here is for oatmeal. The jars are filled with all of the ingredients (think dark chocolate raspberry oatmeal with maple syrup) and set up for easy access. In the morning, boil water and pour straight over the oats. Ball jars are made for pressure canning and can easily handle the boiling water. This is an insanely healthy version of instant oats. This also works for salads and workday lunches.
- Use Muffin Tins For Portioning: There are a variety of healthy breakfasts that can be prepared in muffin tins. Use any quiche or frittata recipe and have an easy breakfast. Also, portion frozen smoothies or dough with a muffin tin.
- Take advantage of Meal Prep Containers: When meal prepping it’s crucial to make the process as simple as possible. Meal prep containers do just that. They make it easy for you to store your food in the fridge or a meal prep lunch box. This makes it possible for you to cook your meals in advance and grab and go when needed. They also help with portion control, hence why some people call them portion control containers. Take advantage of them.
- Only Turn The Oven On Once: Baking multiple dishes off at the same time can save on electricity as well as time and clean up. When preparing a muffin tin full of quiche, make sure to lay several sweet or russet potatoes in as well. Fill the other shelf with another main course and side dish as well. Here, a muffin tin is useful again, to roast a dozen eggs, instead of hard-boiling.As long as the dishes have similar temperature requirements, this will work perfectly. Set timers to help get the dishes out without burning.
- Plan On Planning: Trying to jump straight into the kitchen without a plan will end up in frustration and disappointment. This is easily avoided, although it takes some discipline to hedge in that time. Remove any distractions and begin setting down the plan, and it won’t take very long at all. Decide what meals to prepare, what foods to prepare for those meals, and compile a shopping list. The last plan to make is when to go shopping. Then, everything needed will be available.
- Store By Meals As Well As Portion: Experimentation will be necessary to find the best meal prep containers for your needs. The guiding idea behind meal prep for weight loss is to portion out foods ahead of time in order to make the right choices easier to make consistently. Portion sizes are pretty small, though, and being creative will be necessary. An example can be stir fry. Store as many vegetables in the same container as possible, with the meat in a different container. Then store these together in the refrigerator. Use baggies for snacks portioned to travel but save the larger containers for meals.
- It Is Not Necessary To Prep Every Meal: Meal prep for weight loss will reap more benefits if adhered to more strictly. This is the nature of goals. If the goal is to get out of debt, it works the same way. Strict adherence means greater gains. However, the relationship with food is so complex that a measure of gentleness can create an environment where new behaviors can be sustained long term. When a friend extends an invitation to lunch out, this invitation can be accepted without guilt. As long as there is a series of good choices to overpower the occasional bad, it is okay. It is far more important to maintain a hopeful expectation than to avoid every little diversion from the plan.
- Hardcore Meal Prep: If the decision is made to stick with meal prep day in and out for an extended period, creating an extended meal plan for several weeks will go a long way. It is imperative to have a varied diet, so creating multiple menus provide opportunities to include different foods.
There are a wide variety of free resources to access for help with the ‘prep’ part of meal prep. Everything from recipes to baking techniques to advanced knife skills can be accessed through the internet, and often the public library has some unexpected resources. Local parks and community centers are invaluable resources for hands-on experience as well.
Those who are comfortable working in the kitchen have little need for such resources.
It is most important to be persistent and hopeful. Even changing just a few habits will have a great impact. So, learning a new skill can be frustrating, but a series of good choices will soon bury the occasional bad choice. Bundling a consistent meal prep schedule with an efficient calorie burn(speed jump roping burns calories fast) is a wonderful recipe for a healthier lifestyle!