In the previous part of this article series, we gave you actionable tips on how to integrate training into a busy schedule. Keep in mind that setting up your training regimen is just half the battle and if it is not supported by a proper nutrition plan, then all your hard work will be in vain.
Which is why in this article, we’re going to tell you exactly how you can create sustainable nutrition habits.
What is Meal Prep & Why and How You Should Do It
Meal prepping is without a doubt one of the most efficient ways to ensure you’ll get all your nutrients in. This method will save you time and money and will also give your body everything needed to sustain healthy functioning, as well as any daily physical and mental activities. At its very core, meal prepping implies cooking for a couple of days ahead, all at once. This is a very flexible approach, as it allows you to prepare certain foods in bulk, which you can then use to create a variety of recipes.
Step #1 - Choose your Protein & Fat sources
As you should know by now, protein & fats are essential to the body, as they regulate a variety of vital processes, including but not limited to recovery, healthy functioning of all bodily systems and tissues, regulating hormonal function, etc. If any of the 2 is in a deficit, you may experience unpleasant side effects, such as premature exhaustion, constant tiredness, brain fogs and disrupted sleep cycles.
Essential aminos acids are called essential because they are nutrients the body needs for optimal health but that it does not create on its own. Good sources of essential amino acids can be found in foods such as chicken, beef, eggs, fish, prawns, cheese, and other dairy products.
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you are best off combining different grains, beans, and other legumes, to get the full essential amino acid profile.
Step #2 - Choose Your Carbohydrate Sources
The best sources of carbohydrates which you have probably heard time and time again are all those whole grains, beans, legumes, and fruits (not fruit juices). These are the foods that keep a steady level of blood glucose (sugar) without severe spikes delivering a consistent flow of energy to the body which is ideal for physical and mental activities. Example of these foods are: wild and brown rice, oats, whole grain breads, starchy vegetables berries, melons, bananas, and others.
Step #3 - What about micronutrients
Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are considered macronutrients because we need to consume them in large quantities. However, we also needs many trace elements in order to function properly. We call those micronutrients. If you rely on diverse nutrition and include plenty of different whole foods in your menu, you don’t really need to pay specific attention to micronutrients.
That is unless of course, you have certain micronutrient deficiencies, in which case your best bet is to consult with your physician.
Step #4 - Cook in bulk!
Once you’ve picked out your favorite protein, fat and carbohydrate sources, it is time to cook!
For the meats, you can use basic marinade - Soy sauce, salt & pepper.
Once that’s done, you’ll have ~2-3 lbs of meat all cooked and ready.
For your grains and root crops, you can use basic seasoning and preparation.
Once that’s done, you’ll have a solid amount of carbohydrates ready on demand.
Since these are prepared in a very basic way, you can use them as a BASE to add upon.
For example, you can take some of the pre-cooked meat and toss it in a pre-heated pan with some vegetables, glazes & other spices.
The same goes for your carb sources, meaning that you can craft a variety of recipes and bring diversity to your nutrition, even though you cook the same foods every time.
Again, these are just your bases for meals and you can always add more vegetables such as , dried tomatoes, olives, capers and any other side products you may like.
Step #5 - Enjoy your food & time
Most people think that cooking your own food requires a lot of time and energy. However home prepped food is almost ALWAYS cheaper and takes less total time because its more efficient to execute a plan than it is to fly by the seat of your pants.
So, what do you have to lose?