Oh my God I frickin hate meal prep day!

By far the most difficult part of any training program is planning and preparing Tupperware boxes full of food that you’ll grow to hate within minutes. However, you are what you eat, and abs are made in the kitchen, blah blah blah, so meal prep is likely to be an integral part of your life if you take this health thing seriously.

So we’ve put together a list of tips that might help to make prep day a little more bearable.

1. Plan, even just a little

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Even the most basic amount of planning will help to make your week more manageable in terms of food. Even if you don’t stick to it completely, make a plan for your main meals during the week. That way you can prepare in advance and make sure you’ve got everything you need from the supermarket.

Tip: Plan your meals with your diary open. There’s no point in planning all your evening meals if you know you have evening plans. Take that into account and plan for healthier options when you’re out and have your following meals already done.

2. Stick to your shopping list

Don’t get distracted with junk food or bits and pieces you might maybe want. Make a list and stick to it in order to minimise impulse buys and save money. Or better yet, head to Tesco.com and do it all online and avoid the queues. You’ll never have to hear “unexpected item in bagging area” again!

3. Double the recipe

Make something lovely for dinner but double the size. When it comes time to serve up, have your Tupperware next to your dinner plate and save tomorrow’s meal straightaway to stop you from coming back for seconds that you don’t really need.

4. Look for ingredient overlaps

Partner up meals that have overlapping ingredients. So if you’re making rice one night for one dish, then include it in another dish later in the week.

5. Make some muffins

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Healthy muffins are a game-changer and can help you get the calories, carbs, and protein that you need throughout the day without having to snack or live off protein shakes. Making a batch of muffins on the weekend will make your grab-and-go mornings SO much easier.

Keep them covered in the refrigerator for up to four days, or make a big batch and freeze some for future you to enjoy.

6. Pancakes are for everyday

Learn to love pancakes if you don’t already (and if you don’t… why?!). There are a million different ways to make them, running the full gamete of nutritional value. Protein pancakes are a great way to get a protein hit during the day when the thought of another piece of chicken makes you want to kill yourself.

Tip: Make them a little bit smaller than usual so you can simply pop them in the toaster in the morning when you’re ready to eat.

7. For the love of quinoa

You may find it pretentious, but quinoa is a superfood for a reason. This nutrient-dense alternative to rice or potatoes is a great hit of carbs, and a batch is easily edible all week. Cook up a big batch on the weekend and dish it out when you’re prepping during the week.

8. Keep it simple with protein and veggies.

For those of you who love to cook, meal prep can be extra painful when you’re reduced to making meals that end up in Tupperware. So it’s best to keep your prep meals simple. Plan your protein and your veggies and shove them in a box and you’re ready to go.

Fancy meals don’t tend to survive being reheated in the microwave.

9. Cook foods all at once

If you’ve planned out what you need to make, cook it in batches to save time, effort, and money. Throw your vegetables, sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, even your eggs, all in the oven at once. That’s half your food for the week done in one hit!

10. Go freezer-friendly

We should have mentioned this one at the start, but if you’re planning to meal prep in bulk, then make sure your big batches are freezer-friendly. Soups, smoothies, sauces, casseroles, burgers, pancakes, bolognese, anything that can be shoved in the freezer will make your future self forever grateful.

11. Invest in some decent food storage containers

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You don’t need to break the bank, but having a set of decent, well-sized food containers ready will make planning and organising your food prep infinitely easier. And, if you have just one container type it makes it easier to stack and store.

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