In our fast-moving society, which is always demanding new things from us, it is not always easy enough to find time to spend on one's own diet. As a result, many athletes resort to frozen pizzas or seek delivery instead of putting themselves behind the stove. This lifestyle is not only extremely expensive in the long term, but is contrary to a healthy lifestyle. On the one hand, to provide your body with optimal nutrients and save a lot of money, it is worthwhile to prepare some meals for the entire week. You can find out how to do this in the most effective way in our Meal Prep Guide.
Why should you prepare your meals?
Honestly, what happens if you get hungry from work or college and you have nothing healthy in the fridge or you just do not feel like cooking? Right, you're stuffing something into yourself. As a result, you end up eating the wrong things, but way too much, so your physical goals are in danger. As a result, prepared meals have the inestimable benefit of always knowing you can find something healthy in the fridge that will help you reach your goals in the long term. In addition, you save not only time but money as well, because you can already prepare large quantities in advance and place them in the freezer. At this point, you might think that cooking food for several days is totally boring and monotonous, but if you get it right, it does not necessarily have to be true. Although many bodybuilders seem to live only on rice and turkey from tupper boxes, it does not mean you have to. Be creative and make 3-4 different dishes in larger quantities on a day off, so you can enjoy a week's break. Various recipe books should provide you with enough inspiration.
Before you start
However, before you start writing your shopping list, you should check what your pantry is about, and especially what ingredients you have in stock, because there's nothing worse than noticing during cooking that some key ingredients are missing. It is also advisable to have some versatile ingredients in stock, which can be used in an emergency.
To this absolute basics belong among other things:
- peanut butter
- good oils
- various spices
- Mustard - soy sauce
- Protein powder (neutral)
- frozen vegetables
- frozen fruit
In particular, you should underestimate the importance of sauces and spices, because with a little creativity and the help of a few spices you can choose from a few basic ingredients such as pasta and turkey meat either an Asian, Mexican or Greek dish.
Step 1 - Planning and Shopping
As you plan your shopping, it's important to make sure that you can cover both your macro and micronutrient needs with the foods of your choice. Accordingly, you should know in advance for how many days you want to prepare meals, because only then can you buy the right foods. Keep in mind that it is usually cheaper if you buy larger containers. Unless you are free to cook your nose, but orient yourself to recipes, you also need to make sure that all the ingredients you need are on your shopping list. Which foods are particularly suitable for precooking? Of course, you can not use any food, so here's a quick guide to choosing which foods are best for meal prepping.
- chicken breast
- turkey breast
- lean beef
- pork tenderloin
- Tuna from the tin
- smoked salmon
Carbohydrate Sources & Vegetables:
- Rice (brown or white)
- various vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, spinach, kale)
Sources of healthy fats:
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- Nut butter (without added sugar)
Which foods should you rather not use?
Just as there are foods that are excellent for prepping, so there are a number of ingredients that you tend not to use for a variety of reasons. One of the best examples is fresh fish, which not only warms up badly, but also loses its texture and taste due to the lengthy storage in the fridge. In addition, reheating harms not only the omega 3 fatty acids it contains, but also the noses of the work colleagues. Even pasta is only partially suitable because it is slightly swollen and soggy by the sauce. If you still do not want to miss noodles, you should keep the noodles and accompanying sauce separate from each other.
Step 2 - Preparation
After you have all the ingredients for your weekly planning together, you can give yourself to the preparation. Of course, the question arises for how long it should take to boil for the entire week. But for your reassurance, it is only two or three hours, unless you dare to try too daring culinary experiments. In any case, it will take less time for you to re-enter the kitchen once or twice a day to prepare a menu. To further shorten the prepping process, you should choose dishes whose ingredients overlap, at least in part. You can, for example, combine rice with different sauces, meat and vegetables to obtain the greatest possible variety on the plate with the least possible effort. Another way to save time is to do the work of each menu at once, so you do not start cutting vegetables or meat four times, for example.
Step 3 - Storage
Once you have done your day's work in the kitchen, all you have to do is portion out your creations and place them either in the fridge or in the freezer, so you can always enjoy them fresh. In order to prevent the reheating process from being too time-consuming, you should always use microwaveable glass or plastic containers, which should also be easy to stack. If you are storing your lunchboxes in the freezer, make sure that they are also suitable for low temperatures, so that your meals are optimally protected. Last but not least, it makes perfect sense to note the nutrients contained in each of the boxes per serving, which makes controlling your calorie balance much easier. However, you should weigh the ingredients used in the raw state in order to obtain the most accurate results possible.
How does the food taste after several days of storage?
Obviously, foods lose flavor as they are stored, but the losses are not nearly as high as you might fear. However, if you always want to offer something new to your taste buds, you should have several meals in the hindquarters, as mentioned above, which you can consume as needed.
What if I have no way to reheat meals?
If you have absolutely no opportunity at work or in the university to warm up your prepared meals, you should make sure in advance to prepare things that are very edible even when cold. Salads, sandwiches and various pasta creations are undoubtedly among the best options.
For how many days should I prepare food?
For how many days you should prepare food depends entirely on you. In general, however, you can assume that it is sufficient to be prepared for a five-day training week.