First Things First
You probably have a workout schedule. If it’s not written down, you at least know what days are your workout days, which exercises you do on those days, and what your rest days are. Your tight regimen has probably gotten you results. If you can’t find the time to eat right, you have to make time or else your progress will be much slower than it could be. The secret to healthy eating is to plan and prepare your meals ahead of time.
The first stage is planning. By planning everything you eat, down to the snacks you have between meals, you can make sure you get all the nutrients you need each day.
This will help you resist snacking on unhealthy convenience foods between meals, and you can avoid having to pack in a ton of protein at the end of your day because you didn’t get enough throughout the day. Sunday, or whichever off day you have, is the best day for planning and preparation. Make a menu and schedule meals and snacks for each day of the week, then go grocery shopping.
You’ll also need to prepare your meals on your off day. For breakfast and lunch, pack plastic storage containers with your pre-cooked meals so that they can be microwaved later on when you need them. You may also want to do this for dinners if you have evenings that are as busy as your days.
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If you do have time to cook dinner in the evenings, you can at least cut your meats and vegetables and store your pre-cut and pre-measured ingredients so that you can minimize prep time. Have lots of plastic storage containers and plastic bags on hand so that you can keep your fridge and cabinets organized and make it easy to choose your meals and snacks.
Advantages of Planning
Planning your meals this way takes all the guesswork out of nutrition, since you’ll know the protein, fat and carbohydrate content of everything you eat.
Using a kitchen scale can help you during preparation, since measuring a piece of meat is much more precise than estimating its weight.
Prepare snacks by measuring appropriate serving sizes into sealable plastic bags. This helps you watch your portions and makes it easy to grab a bag of almonds on the way to work. If you have already prepared all the food you’ll need at work or school, you won’t need to choose between skipping meals or eating restaurant or vending machine fare. Eliminate the temptation to be lazy by being prepared.
Being Cost Effective
The cost of eating well is often an issue, since getting enough protein alone can be expensive.
You may already order your supplements online; you can also order many, if not all, of your non-perishable foods online, including canned meats. Some companies offer scheduled deliveries, which could mean that the only foods you need to shop for on your food prep days are perishables like fresh meat, dairy and produce. Buy everything you can, including your storage containers and plastic bags, in bulk from warehouse clubs or online to lower the cost of your meals.
You’ll have a ton of dishes on your food prep days, but the reward is being able to grab a few plastic containers and bags in the mornings on your way to work or school and you won’t have to worry at all about managing your eating during the week. Eating well takes structure and self-discipline, and if you’re already whipping yourself into shape with your workout routine, why not go to the next level and structure your eating habits as well?
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