One of the biggest predictors of your success in losing weight or improving nutrition habits is based on how well you plan and prep your meals for the upcoming week! Spending less time meal prepping is associated with eating fast foods that lack nutritional value such as frozen dinners and packaged, processed foods. People who plan their meals and grocery lists and then spend a few hours prepping meals for the upcoming week are linked with having better dietary habits, such as eating more fruits and veggies! Everyone is crunched for time these days, so below I’ve provided some tips that will help you plan and prep your meals in a timely fashion!
Tip 1: When planning meals for one day think “3 carbs, 3 proteins & snacks.” Ideally, it’s good to eat every 3-4 hours, which breaks down into three meals and two snacks. Try your best to include a protein, carb, and healthy fat in each of your meals and snacks!
Carbs: There are two different types of carbs, fibrous and starchy carbs. It’s important to eat both of them to maintain a balanced, fat-burning diet.
Some great options for starchy carbs are foods like oatmeal, yams, whole-grain bread & raw fruit. Options for fibrous carbs are spinach, broccoli, kale, mushrooms & asparagus! Quick tip: Eat your starchy carbs earlier in the day, before 3 PM & stick to fibrous carbs after that to maximize weight-loss results!
Protein: Quick food rich in protein that will give you your daily requirement of proteins are foods like non-fat Greek yogurt (FAGE Total 0% Plain Greek Yogurt is loaded with protein & is super healthy!), protein shakes, almonds, & eggs. For dinner options things like fish, chicken, and lentils can cook in minutes and are packed with essential proteins.
Snacks: Snacks should be about ½ the size of a meal & should be about 100-200 calories for women and 200-300 calories for men.
Tip 2: Pack a lunch box or your own to-go box when you’re out for the day. When making a grocery list think about some things you could pre make to pack in a lunch box such as salads, turkey, Greek yogurt cups & fruit.
Tip 3: Have quick and easy snacks around the house that you can just grab and go! Some quick, healthy snacks would be apples, bananas, almonds, carrots or any fruit you can grab when you’re running out of the door! Note; if you are eating fruit, combine it with a healthy fat such as nuts or avocado. This will help you avoid the energy spike and crash!
It’s great to keep a stash of healthy snacks in your car if you’re needing a pick me up. Almonds, jerky, and Quest Bars are a great snacks to keep in the car, just be sure to watch portion sizes!
Tip 4: Having ingredients ready to go to make a protein shake after a workout or a healthy smoothie for breakfast in the morning is a great way to get all your nutritional value in for a speedy meal! A yummy protein smoothie that’s easy to make is fresh or frozen fruit, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, & your favorite protein powder!
Tip 5: After planning your meals for the week create a grocery list, & stick to it! If you’ve planned what you’re getting at the grocery you’re less inclined to splurge and get unhealthy snacks or junk food that you don’t need.
Tip 6: Buy fresh fruit and veggies & cut them up ahead of time, placing them in containers in the refrigerator, that way cooking and packing lunches takes far less time!
So, the take home message is if you want to succeed in weight loss always plan your meals and snacks ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about slipping up on your diet. It’s a smart and safe way to be in control of your nutritional habits & will help you avoid unhealthy fast-food options!