Meal prep is slowly becoming a popular method in the fitness world and many people are praising it for its ability of keeping people on track and increasing their chances of weight loss.
When done correctly, meal prep can be one of the key factors when it comes to weight loss. All it takes is a little planning, an hour (or two) out of your day and dedication. Think it's complicated? It's really not! Keep reading to find out how you can meal prep for weight loss...
What is Meal Prep?
It's quite simple, really. Meal prep is the process of planning and preparing your meals for the week ahead. You can prepare whatever you wish to. From lunches to dinners, it's completely up to you.
The Benefits of Meal Prep
- May help reduce cost of food (from buying in bulk)
- Decreases the amount of time you would spend cooking during the week
- Lowers stress levels
- Decreases mindless snacking when you're waiting for your food to cook
- Helps to keep you on track
- Better portion control
- Meal prep is associated with better nutrition and weight loss
- Less likely to go off plan when you already have food waiting to be eaten
So how do you meal prep for weight loss? Well, first things first, you need to understand the principles of Primal Cure (grab your copy here). In a nutshell, we believe in consuming foods that the caveman himself would have consumed - natural, unprocessed and wholesome foods. This means that we avoid carbohydrates (processed foods), eat a diet of healthy fats (fats are not the enemy) and quite bluntly, eat like a caveman.
To put it simply, we don't count our calories for weight loss. Instead, we believe in portion control, eating natural and unprocessed foods, avoiding CARBS (carbs are really bad sugars) and keeping active. These key elements, when put together, will encourage your body to lose the extra pounds without counting a single calorie. Easy, huh?
How to Meal Prep For Weight Loss
Once you've understood the basics, it's time to start putting things into action.
As we avoid calorie counting, it's important to note how important portion control is. As a rough guidance, you'll want to make sure that each meal contains a decent amount of protein and healthy fats to help keep your body energised and satisfied.
Again, we suggest reading The Primal Cure to gain a deeper insight to our Primal principles and how you can prepare your meals the Primal way.
Create a Meal Prep Plan
Now that you know that you'll be following a Primal approach, it's time to plan your weeks worth of meals (or however many days you want to plan for). You'll want to consider the following:
- How many days will you be cooking for? Don't forget you can freeze most of your meals (dependant on the ingredients) and whip them out the morning/night before you need them. Some people are happy to prep for the full week, however, other people may wish to only prep until Wednesday.
- How many meals will you be cooking? If you're following the strict Primal approach than you may be intermittent fasting and only wish to prepare your lunch and dinner. However, feel free to add some snacks in there too if you need them! Just make sure they're natural and follow the Primal guidelines. Have a look at our Primal recipes for some inspiration.
- How much time do you have to meal prep? We recommend setting aside 1-2 hours on a Sunday to prepare your meals. However, this depends on how many meals you decide to cook.
- Start big. What meals or snacks need the most attention first?
- Pick a day to plan and prep. Make sure it's your least busy day - perhaps a Sunday? This way your meals will be fresh for the upcoming week.
- Make sure you have the right equipment! You'll need the correct food containers to store all of your food in. We recommend ditching the plastic and staying environmental friendly.
Once you've created your plan it's time to delve into your shopping list. You should know what meals you're preparing for each day so hopefully, this bit should be pretty quick.
Remember to include the weight of how much food you'll need. I.e, 500g of lean mince beef. We also suggest taking your meal plan with you in case you forget any bits and bobs (such as if you need to make a chilli sauce!).
Now that you've tackled the shops, brought your ingredients and returned home, it's time to tackle the preparation part.
Now, it may seem a little overwhelming at first, but let us share with you a few of our meal prep hacks:
- Cook in batches. For example, if you're making a chilli, cook it in a large pot that will provide for a few days. This way, you'll be preparing extra.
- When it comes to cooking veggies and meats (all at once), we suggest using a large baking tray to fit more ingredients on. Simply add some oil (extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil) and season before popping in the middle of the oven to cook.
- Multitask! It really is a wonderful skill. Whilst your veggies and meats are cooking in the oven, crack on with the other stuff. I.e, package your fruit, boil your eggs, portion your nuts (remember, a palms worth is enough) and slice up your carrots to snack on!
- Create your own sauces. It's really not as hard as it sounds and they can instantly turning a boring dish into a flavoursome one! Grab a copy of our recipe book, Primal Gourmet for some inspiration!
Once everything is cooked, it's time to portion your meals into Tupperware.
Remember, keep an eye on your portion control and don't add more than you need. The amount of protein and fats you need will depends on your level of physical activity. Here are a few of our top tips for when it comes to packing your meal prep...
- Be generous with your veggies! They should make up at least 1/3 of your meal.
- Pack lean proteins such as organic chicken, organic fish and organic lean beef. Protein is important as it'll not only help to keep you full, but it also supports muscle growth and promotes weight management.
- Avoid processed carbohydrates. Yes, this means no bread, pasta, rice, etc.
- Cook with healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and our Primal edible oils.
- Pack your snacks on the side.
- Store your meals in the freezer and whip out the night before for freshness.