Your Meal Prep How-To Guide
Nov 16, 2023
You already know that you feel best when you eat whole foods and stick to a nutrition plan that works for you, but it can be hard to stay on track sometimes–especially when life gets hectic. At a Fitness Together® studio, the team is there to support you! Everyone is in this together, and the personal trainers are excited to help you boost your wellness, no matter where you’re starting.
The brand knows that life can get in the way of eating well (it happens to everyone–you’re not alone). Thankfully, getting into the routine of meal prepping can set you up for success, no matter how crazy life gets. Convenience is key when it comes to choosing what you’re going to eat, and meal prepping makes it simple to grab delicious foods that are ready to eat.
Here, you’ll take a look at why meal prep can be a good fit for all nutrition plans, some of the common pitfalls that stop people from seeing success with meal planning, and tried-and-true tips that you can use to help you get the most out of your prep process.
Why Meal Prep Makes Sense
There’s no way around it: life is busy! Whether you’re wrangling kids to soccer practice, taking on the responsibilities of a promotion at work, or simply trying to manage your daily to-do list, humans are hard-wired to look for ways to make life less stressful. Fitness Together studios are here to support you, and want to make it as simple as possible for you to make your hard work in the gym count.
This doesn’t just mean finding easier ways to run your household or complete spreadsheets at work. Low-stress is also what everyone looks for when it comes to food. Think about it: when you’re hungry on the way home from work, the drive-thru seems far more tempting than normal. When you go through the meal prep process, you’re removing the stress of figuring out what to eat all week, making it more likely that you’ll reach for the options that help you feel your best, rather than stopping to fill up on foods that don’t take you closer to your goals.
Many people find that meal prepping actually saves them time and money, even with the sting of a larger weekly shopping trip. When you prep your food in advance, you’re taking away the likelihood that you’ll order takeout or delivery, generally lowering your overall food costs. Prepping at the beginning of the week means that you won’t need to spend time wondering what to cook for dinner every night or stopping by the grocery store for last-minute ingredients. Bonus: you can also use your grocery store’s weekly flyer to guide your meal prep to be even more cost-effective.
Common Meal Prep Pitfalls
You’ve seen the perfectly-prepped meal containers on Instagram®, and maybe you’ve even tried to set yourself up for a week of healthy meals by getting on the meal prep bandwagon. Sometimes, meal prepping is easier said than done.
There are a few reasons why meal prep can be tough, including:
- Meal fatigue: If you’re not regularly switching up your meals, it can be easy to get bored with what you’ve prepared–making it more likely that you’ll stray from the plan.
- Failure to plan: You might have the best intentions when it comes to setting up your meal prep for the week, but there are several factors that can get in your way. If you don’t have the right containers, are short on ingredients, or don’t have enough time set aside to cook, it’s easy to fall into the “I’ll start next week” mindset.
- Food becomes unappealing: For some people, the idea of cooking food on Sunday to be eaten on Friday doesn’t sound appetizing. If you feel this way, you’re not alone–and there are solutions for you.
If you’ve hit some of these roadblocks, the brand gets it–and is here to help. The Fitness Together brand believes in you and your ability to hit your goals. Studio’s results tracking process will help your personal trainer get the information they need to support you through each step of the process.
Let’s dig into some tried-and-true strategies that can help meal prepping work for you.
Getting Started Right
It can take some time to find your groove when it comes to preparing your food for the week, and it’s normal to have some slip-ups here and there as you figure out what works for you.
One of the keys to getting started with meal prep is having the right tools. A set of leak-proof meal prep containers can go a long way in helping you store and transport your foods for the week.
When choosing your containers, you’ll want to think about the volume of food you usually eat. If you prefer to have large salads for lunch, for example, you’ll want to choose a larger container than someone who prefers to stick to protein and steamed veggies. You’ll also want to consider whether you’ll need to heat your food away from home–purchasing an inexpensive microwave for your office can help you stick to the plan when you’re at work.
To avoid food fatigue, it’s important to take some time to plan ahead each week instead of just grabbing the same staples time after time from the grocery store. As mentioned before, using your grocery store’s weekly specials circular can help spark some new ideas that can keep things fresh. Mixing up your veggies, dressings, and seasonings can also help you avoid getting tired of your prep routine.
A few key think-ahead tips that can help set you up for meal prep success:
- Make your grocery list while you’re in your kitchen, allowing you to take stock of what you already have and what you’ll need to pick up at the store.
- Set aside a few minutes each week to browse for new recipes.
- Set a Sunday prep time and treat it as you would an appointment.
- Look at your calendar each week before you prep–if you have a work dinner one night, for example, you might want to forgo prepping food for that evening.
If you find that you need an extra boost on the day you hit the gym (or train virtually!) be sure to build a pre- or post-workout snack into your plan. Not sure what foods will support you while you give your workout your all? Ask your personal trainer for some suggestions–they’re here to help.
If you’re able to find the time to go to the grocery store, setting aside a leisurely hour or two can be a great way to get excited about the food you’re going to cook for the week. If that’s not possible , ordering your groceries online and using a delivery or pickup service can be a great way to stock up on the food that you need without spending time shopping.
When grocery shopping, don’t forget about snacks! When you prep your meals for the week, slicing up grab-and-go fruits and veggies can help you stay on track. If desserts or other treats are a part of your plan, don’t forget to pick those up as well!
Time to put your plan into action. Setting aside a few hours on your prep day (Sunday works well for most people) will save you quite a bit of time later in the week. If you’re someone who doesn’t care for the idea of eating Sunday-prepped food at the end of the workweek, feel free to split your prep day into two–one prep session on Sunday and another on Wednesday, for example. If you’re prepping foods that freeze well, you can also complete your prep in one day, and freeze half of your meals so that they’re not sitting in the fridge all week. Most clients love keeping a few freezer meals on hand to ensure that there’s always something delicious to grab, even when life happens and your prep day gets rescheduled.
Many people find it helpful to make the prep process something to look forward to. Listening to your favorite music, watching a TV show or movie you’ve been looking forward to, or inviting a friend to prep with you can all help make meal prep a fun part of the weekend.
Ready to Move Your Fitness Forward? We’ve Got You!
The Fitness Together brand offers personal training programs custom built to meet each client's individual needs. With private suites and virtual training options, there’s something for everyone. No matter your age, fitness level, or your reason for starting this journey, certified personal trainers are invested in helping you reach your personal goals, whether that’s weight loss, weight management, building muscle, injury recovery and so much more. Fitness Together studios will put you on the path towards success and hold you accountable along the way through a combination of strength & cardio training, results tracking, and real-time adjustments. The brand exists to empower you to take back your health so that you can have the energy to do what you love. Reach out today to learn more.