Why should I meal prep or purchase meals from a meal prep company?
Before we jump into the specifics needed for a successful meal prep you might be wondering, why should I even meal prep in the first place, this seems like it will take a lot of work and time?
Well let’s be honest if you’re preparing meals for yourself it does take some time and effort, but if you’re serious about changing your physique (losing fat or building muscle) or improving your health, the benefits far outweigh any perceived negatives.
So let’s start by taking a look at some of the benefits associated with meal prepping.
It will be much easier to achieve your fitness goals.
Consistency is key when it comes to just about anything, but especially when we’re talking about transforming our bodies. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you take the time to plan and prepare ahead, you’re much more likely to be consistent with your nutrition because everything is already done for you. It takes out the daily guesswork of what should I eat? and helps to keep you from going off the rails by knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body.
Which leads me to the next point:
It Helps To Reduce Temptations
It is much easier to say no to a pizza party or cake at the office if you have something delicious that you already prepared and are looking forward to eating. At the same time though, if you know the macro breakdown of your meals because you planned ahead, it is much easier to balance these types of things out and fit them into your plan (occasionally) so that you reduce the impact it has on your fitness goals.
(Side Note – I encourage an 80/20 rule -80% nutrient dense whole foods, 20% indulgence when looking at the course of the week, but stilling fitting it into your macros)
It’s like knowing how much money is in your bank account; you have a rough idea of what you can spend for each macro (proteins, carbs, and fats) or at the end of the day, we can go even simpler and just look at energy balance – calories in vs calories out.
If you spend more than you have, you’re going to overdraft and get hit with a fee, in this case, slowing your progress and adding excess fat.
You’ll Probably Save $$$
If you eat out frequently, you might be spending $10-$20 per meal and that really adds up over the course of the week. Shopping sales, buying in bulk, and getting the majority of your food from your local grocery store is almost always a surefire way to save your hard earned cash and improve your physique at the same time.
Now, you’re not only building your dream physique, you’re saving up money to show it off on your vacation trip to the Bahamas.
And hey, if you don’t want to save money – that’s cool too, spend it on quality food from a meal prep company like MegaFit Meals that is actually going to help you reach your fitness goals. And guess what, you still might save some extra cash anyway.
You’ll Probably Save Time
You may have heard of a concept called economies of scale and in this case it applies directly to your time. If you prepare the majority of your food for the week on one day, or say you split it into two meal prep days, it’s going to save you cooking time by cooking in bulk.
Think about it this way, it’s roughly going to take you the same amount of time to bake one chicken breast and steam one potato as it would to line the cooking try with multiple chicken breasts, fish, and shrimp and throw multiple potatoes in the steamer, and add some rice to the rice cooker.
And if that’s too much work, they literally have steam in bag potatoes and rice, all you have to do is put it in the microwave.
Additionally, when you go to start your day, all you have to do is throw your prepped meal in your lunch bag, simple enough right?
These are just a handful of the benefits of meal prepping, as I’m sure you’ll soon learn.
Let’s dive into a few of the keys to a successful meal prep.
- Know Your Macros
So the first step to preparing your meals for the week is you need to know what your macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) are so that you can plan accordingly for your goals and needs.
- Protein = 4 Calories per gram
- Carbohydrates = 4 Calories per gram
- Fat = 9 Calories per gram
Depending on what you’re looking to accomplish (lose fat, build muscle, or maintain) and your daily activity level, your energy balance will vary, or amount of total macronutrients needed to reach your goal. So if you’re not sure what your macros are, start by calculating them with our free macro calculator here.
- Know Your Measurements
Now that you know your macros, you need to have a rough idea of how much protein, carbs and fats are in the foods that you like so that you can plan out your meals accordingly. You can get a macro tracker or visit calorie king to view the nutritional stats on a particular food. Just be careful with some of the macro trackers as they allow users to input their own food items and have a shared database, which is great when the macros are entered correctly, but often there are a lot of mistakes in the nutrition information.
A couple of quick tips:
- For the most part, your primary lean protein sources (chicken, turkey, fish, shrimp, etc) are going to be right around 20-25g protein per 4oz.
- Get a food scale, it makes this process a lot easier
- Weigh your proteins raw (pre-cooked)
- Weigh your carbohydrates dry (pre-cooked)
- Don’t worry about counting the carbohydrates in leafy green veggies, most of us don’t get enough of these anyway.
- Have A Plan
Once you have a good idea of what foods you like, start planning out your meals for the week. The best way to do this is to start to look at your day and decide how many complete meals that you want to have and how many snacks then divide up your macros by that number to create a rough guide for each meal
For example – John’s Macros are: 190g Protein, 46g Fat, and 226g Carbs
John Want’s to have 4 whole meals and 1 snack with fats and carbs
Divide protein by 4 meals
190g Protein/4 = 47.5g protein per meal
Divide Carbs & fats by 5 meals –
46g Fat / 5 = 9.2g fat per meal w/ 1 snack
226g carbs / 5= 45.2g carbs per meal w/ 1 snack
This gives you a rough template to build out your meals, and it doesn’t have to be perfect in the beginning, but getting yourself in this frame of thinking and being very specific with your macro budget will optimize your results.
- Choose Foods You Like & Don’t be Afraid of Variety
I think this is where a lot of people go wrong, they eat the same 3 or 4 meals everyday for the entire week and that might work for some people, but I don’t advocate it for a number of reasons, but the two I’d like to talk about are.
- Micronutrients – So the first one is micronutrients or the vitamins and minerals that are foods carry in them. By limiting our food choices, we are doing a poor job at getting as many vitamins and minerals (which are essential for life) as possible and optimizing our health.
- Enjoyment – Let’s face it, eating the same old same old thing every single day gets boring real quick and it’s not very enjoyable. Thus, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle which is what having quality nutrient dense nutrition is all about – building it in your life permanently and getting away from all the fad and gimmick crash diets (which by the way are hindering your results, but that is a topic for another day!) The more variety you build into your nutrition, the more enjoyable it will be and the easier it will be to become part of your lifestyle which leads me to my next point.
- Make It Flexible
Making your plan flexible ties directly into having more variety and for many people creates more enjoyment. The best way to explain this is to cook things in a way that you can adjust your meals to some degree and repurpose them into other dishes depending on how you’re feeling on a particular day, or leaving small gaps in your day of unprepared meals.
For example I’ll prep 50-75% of meals for the day ahead of time- these are my constants for the day, but the other 25-50% I have a variety of ingredients on hands that I can throw together rather quickly, that aren’t going to expire in a week and I can use depending on what I feel for the particular day.
- Make It Easy
So the last key to successful meal prep is make it as simple to prepare as possible. You’ll see in the video exactly how I make the process pretty simple and get just about all my meal prep for the week done in an hour and a half. I make use of easy to use cooking devices like rice cookers, crock pots, and try to prepare things in a way that I can do it all at once.
I hope that this helps you with all of your meal prep needs and this sets you on the right path to make meal prep easier and a part of your weekly regimen.
If you are really looking to accelerate your results and transform your body there is no way around doing some planning and meal prep to ensure that your nutrition is on point. Remember the old saying, “You can’t out train bad nutrition.”