Prepping for success: Meal prep saves the day

Local fitness coach offers tips to prepare healthy meals each day

Maria Currie, Guest Writer

Maria Currie is a Independent Team Beachbody Coach.

We all know the dreaded scenario. Walk in from a busy day at school or work.

What to eat?

When it comes to your fi ness and nutrition it is best to have a game plan. You don’t want to walk into a gym and wander aimlessly around or workout at home without a game plan on what to do to achieve your goals.  The same rules apply in the kitchen. Luckily, planning and preparing your meals ahead of time will make healthy choices a no-brainer.

Instead of running out for fast food, you’ll have a home cooked feast on hand. Plus, this leaves you with more time to squeeze in your daily workout and you’ll save money while you’re at it.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine suggests that spending time on preparing and cooking meals at home is linked with better dietary habits. In this study, 1,319 adults were asked about the amount of time they spent preparing, cooking and cleaning up after meals. Of the respondents, 16 percent said that they spent less than one hour on food prep; 43 percent said they prepped for one to two hours; and 41 percent said that they prepped for two hours a day or more.

Bottom line, the more you prep the less likely you are to go off track.  Below are tricks to hack meal prep and to help make assembling delicious meals a breeze.

1. Season meat three ways using just one pan. If you’re sticking to lean meats like chicken, spice up your meals. Save time without boring your taste buds by preparing two or three variations of chicken at once, using aluminum foil dividers in your pan.

2. Freeze blended smoothies in muffin tins. Save time by buying the ingredients in bulk, blending, and then freezing the mixture in muffin tins. Next time you need a shake or smoothie toss two or three “smoothie cups” in a blender for a quick and easy breakfast. You can also separate your frozen berries, ice, spinach, etc into plastic baggies and freeze.

3. Chop raw vegetables in advance. Cutting up your carrots, celery, peppers and cucumbers (to name a few) in advance will save time during the week and you can easily throw them on your salad or in a baggie as a snack. This is a great time to also boil and cook your quinoa, rice and other grains.

4. Use muffin tins for eggs on the go.  You could enjoy a frittata every morning of the week by making Egg muffins.  Make with any ingredients you desire and they can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.  All you have to do is wrap them in a paper towel to microwave them so they won’t dry out. Another “eggcellent” idea is hard boiling a dozen eggs to have on hand throughout the week.

5. Make your own protein-rich snacks.  Protein is essential for muscle recovery after a tough workout and it also keeps hunger at bay — making it a great snack. Grabbing for a convince store bar could leave you consuming more calories and sugar than is required for a day, let alone a meal. Making your own energy balls and protein bars is easier than you think. Make it a part of your meal prep process.

Meal prep can mean different things to each person, so it is important you find a routine that works for you. Whether it is snacks, breakfast or a bigger meal, planning is key.

Get yourself into the actions and the proper daily habits for success.  Go and invest in some good quality containers and write out the meals you want to tackle first.

Having recipes on hand for the meals you want to make will help you avoid the grocery store drama.