Meal Prep Mistakes That Might Hinder Your Body Goals
Meal prep is the hype in both the fitness and health industries. It’s an effective strategy to save time and money, whilst you lose, maintain or gain weight for your overall health. It can be really beneficial to your health. But only if you actually execute it properly.
We have reason to believe that meal prep for many, could possibly be what’s preventing them from achieving a particular body goal. It is a great way to simplify your life and makes feeding yourself and your family a lot easier. However, it isn’t a bulletproof method to better health and can destroy your fitness efforts very quickly.
That’s why I want to share a few ways that you can ensure your meal prep guarantees your best body yet.
Meal Prep Is Mindful Preparation
Half the time you’re so excited about getting into your new health journey and proud of yourself for preparing all your meals ahead of time. That you ultimately shoot yourself in the foot. Yes, it’s great that you’re thinking ahead and saving both time and money. But, you’ve forgotten the most important part. The food itself!
Your Recipe Selection Is Poor
You’ve made yourself some chicken breasts and turned it into a salad which has been loaded with mayonnaise as your dressing. This is a big improvement from your regular visits to McDonald’s, right? Well, not really.
There’s a difference between meal prepping a salad drenched in mayonnaise and meal prepping some versatile grilled chicken breasts. You need to ensure that the meals you prepare are not high in calories, saturated fat and sodium. Otherwise, all you doing is setting yourself up for health issues like heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes later in life. Therefore, you’re on the right track and your intentions to plan ahead are positive. But, if you’re seriously looking to maintain weight or shed some fat then there is no point in eating in a surplus of calories. The key is to prepare your meals with attention to detail and maintain a mindful approach.
I find that the best way to do this is by finding and following easy and healthy recipes. Then, you need to take your personal nutritional needs into account and measure your portions accordingly. If you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet, for example, you would most likely need about 350 to 400 calories at breakfast and about 550 to 600 calories each at lunch and dinner. Plus two to three snacks at 150 to 175 calories each. No less, no more.
Unless your goal is to gain muscle mass or lose weight. You would then either decrease or increase your daily caloric intake.
You Leave Food Measurements Till Last
We often think that we can make large batches of meal prep and then shove it all into one container and eat it as you get through the week. Whilst you may be saving Tupperware, you’re probably defeating the purpose of why you started to prepare meals in the first place. That is portion control and avoiding takeaway joints.
More often than not, you end up having too much of your meal prep on the first two days of the week and running out closer to the end of the week. So, from going to eating too much, you’re now eating too little. Therefore, you end up popping out to the quick stop store or fast food restaurant for more food anyway, because you’re starving.
So, it’s best to divide your meals before eating the first serving to ensure appropriate portions throughout the week.
You’ve Forgot About Balance
Often we get confused about what we should or shouldn’t be eating. However, the first step to success is to have a wholesome approach to your meal prep and diet. You don’t want to be cutting out food groups entirely, nor do you want to be eating any one of them in excess.
You might have prepared your meals all with a lean protein, whole grain, and vegetable. That’s fantastic, but what about fruit and dairy? So many people feel clueless when it comes to these two food groups. And because of this, a lot of you will end up lacking in highly beneficial nutrients to keep your body healthy like calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.
I suggest that instead, you plan to eat fruit and dairy for snacks and breakfast. A great way to do this is to prep some overnight oats and add a banana or cooked apple to it. Alternatively, you can have a little plain yoghurt with fresh fruit as a snack. For variation, add whole grains and veggies to snacks as well.
You Prepare Far Too Much
Perhaps you’re an avid cook and thoroughly enjoy being creative in the kitchen. Every healthy recipe excites you! However, you often end up making far more food than you can eat.Over-preparing can lead to throwing really good food away. That and you end up with a really squashed freezer that just doesn’t have any more room. And because you don’t want to waste all the food you’ve prepped, you end up eating two or three meals at a time because you don’t want to waste anything. This results in over-eating.
To avoid this, simply stop over-prepping and only make enough to feed your body what it actually needs. If you know you’re going out for lunch or dinner in the week ahead, plan fewer meals.
You Forget About Food Safety
When you’re cooking lots of different meals at once it’s easy to forget about food safety. The most common mistake is cross-contaminating foods. This happens if you slice raw fruit or vegetables on the same cutting board, with the same knife that you used for raw chicken or meat. Sometimes it’s easy to accidentally under-cook food whilst cooking too many meals a once. Multitasking different meals can be a little crazy and you might even forget to wash your hands properly between tasks. This is often what leads to random bursts of sickness.
That is why it is highly important to always stay safe when cooking. You need to make it a habit. Always ensure that you keep your cutting board and knife clean before preparing each meal. Use a thermometer to check for cooking temperatures, wash hands often and put cooled food in the refrigerator quickly.
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