5 Secrets for Meal Prepping Like a Pro
Meal prepping is a workout warrior’s best friend. By carving out an afternoon each weekend for some food prep, you can get an entire week’s worth of healthy, muscle-building meals squared away.
It takes your daily calorie counting and guesswork out in one fell swoop, giving you more time in the evenings to workout or get a good night’s sleep if you’re an early bird. Not to mention, any temptation for a midweek Cheat Day disappears when you know you’ve got a nutritious, easy meal waiting for you in the fridge at home!
Meal prepping circles around the idea of smashing out a bunch of dietary-conscious meals that are quick to heat up and pack a serious punch of nutrients. The recipes are all ideal for stacking on muscle and keeping your weight in check... But while the concept is awesome, it can also get a bit repetitive to eat the same thing for several days in a row.
Today, we’re sharing 5 secrets from the meal prepping pros to streamline your mealtimes & shake up your healthy dinners with a flavor bomb:
5. Use Aluminum Foil Dividers to Season Your Proteins
One-pan baking is a no-brainer for your proteins. You can cook up a whole sheet pan of meat, tofu or legumes at once and switch up the daily flavors with this nifty foil packet hack.
Try setting up aluminum foil dividers in your pans that you use to cook lean meats such as chicken or turkey. This baking method works wonders on chickpeas too! By separating your daily portions on the pan with foil, you can season different days’ protein in a variety of ways, using spice rubs like paprika, Moroccan flavors, curry powder, rosemary, and more.
It can be boring eating the same flavor over and over, but seasoning your meat or plant-based protein portions differently can spice up your routine significantly.
4. Get Adventurous With Your Veggies
We’ve all had it with eating boiled chicken and broccoli for 5 days straight! Remember not to get tunnel vision with your veggie choices: We need all kinds of colors, textures and flavors in our side dishes to keep dinner interesting and get all the nutrients we need.
Try new combos of veggies, visiting all the corners of the globe for inspiration. For a Mediterranean take, try roasting eggplant, red onion and cherry tomatoes with garlic and oregano. Then, satisfy your Friday takeout cravings with an Asian-inspired bok choy, mushroom and sugar snap pea combo with soy sauce and honey.
Choose veggies that have similar cooking times, then chop them up into containers on meal prep day. That way, when you get home in the evening, all it takes is a quick flash in the pan for an exciting side to your protein main.
3. Discover Flavor Without Calories
Meal prep isn’t just about planning your major nutrient intake for the week - you should also give some thought to the flavors you’ll need to keep those healthy meals tantalizing. This can be especially challenging if your tastebuds are used to pouring pre-packaged sauces or dressings over your food, but it just takes a bit of creativity to rethink the way you season things.
For a flavor bomb without the sugar, fat and preservatives in fan-favorites like ranch and ketchup, look to your spice rack. There’s a plethora of exotic spice blends out there these days, that just require a shake to transform your basic dishes to flavor powerhouses. A tiny spritz of olive oil spray and a big squeeze of lemon pairs wonderfully with many spice mixes, uplifting all sorts of protein and veg.
2. Don’t Forget You Can Prep Breakfast Too!
If breakfast is usually a protein shake for you, that’s an easy one. But for those of us who start the day with something more substantial, the meal prep treatment can be given to plenty of things to grab on your way out the door.
A big batch of overnight oats can be divided into containers for each morning of the week, with different daily fruit/nut toppings for variety.
Or, try chopping up a bunch of fruit and popping tubs into the freezer ready to throw in the blender, for a lightning-fast fruit smoothie in the morning. Combinations like pineapple, mint leaves and apricots, or frozen strawberries, peaches and mango are perfect ways to start your day with natural hydration and vitamin C.
1. Avoid Overcooking During Your Prepping Phase
Lastly, spend some time practicing your cooking skills as you develop your meal plan routine. Lots of meal preppers overdo it a bit in the pre-cooking stages, then suffer all week as they have to chew through mushy vegetables or tough meat.
If you pre-cook your food gently, your meal prep efforts will be a lot tastier, the nutrient content will remain intact, and you’ll be much more likely to stick with it!
Here’s to a week full of healthy mains, easy reheats and (most importantly) not grabbing takeout because you don’t feel like cooking again!
Use these secrets for meal prepping like a pro and be guided toward your easiest, most nutrient-dense diet ever. And above all else, remember that smashing those gains takes some energy: So eating right for your workout schedule is more sustainable if your meals taste awesome and don’t take the entire night to cook.
Got a lazy Sunday afternoon coming up? Use it wisely and you’ll be thanking yourself all week...
Thanks for reading,
Fefe | MME Wellness Contributor
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