With the new year on the horizon, many of us are already thinking about New Year’s resolutions. One of the most popular near resolutions of all time is the promise to lose weight. Whether this is 10 pounds or 100 pounds, weight loss is a journey and it does not look the same for everybody. Meal prepping for weight loss can have great results if you plan properly with the right foods.
In this blog, we will discuss the idea of meal prepping for weight loss. We will give some tips and insight on how to make meal prepping easier, and how you can maximize your results in the meantime.
But first, let’s discuss the concept of meal prepping.
What is Meal Prepping?
Have you ever packed a lunch ahead of time to prepare for work or school? This is the general idea of meal prepping. Meal prepping uses the concept of preparing food in advance so that you can easily have a meal on hand at a later time.
When you pack a work or school lunch, this is typically done in the morning or the night before you plan to eat it. With meal prepping, you can prepare a meal several days in advance, depending on the ingredients that you were using.
Meal prepping is essentially the bulk version of packing a lunch. However, it can also be used for any meal, including snacks, dinner, and breakfast.
The process is also a bit more involved than simply packing your lunch for the day. Depending on the complexity of your meals, you can spend one hour or more prepping your meals for the days or week ahead.
While meal prepping requires some thought, There are many benefits to meal prepping ranging from weight loss to convenience. Let’s discuss the benefits that you can expect in terms of meal prepping for weight loss and more.
What are the Benefits of Meal Prepping?
If you are considering meal prepping for weight loss, there are several reasons why this is a wise choice for your health and much more.
- Meal prepping helps alleviate decision fatigue. Decision fatigue happens as the day goes on, while you make decisions about many different things throughout the day. Eventually, your brain will tire from making too many decisions, which can result in poor choices for food consumption and more.
- Meal prepping can help reduce stress. It can take a considerable amount of time to determine what to eat each day. This is especially the case when you are trying to plan healthy meals, feeling as if you are regularly running out of ideas.
- You’ll have healthy food choices on hand no matter what happens during your day. If you get out of work late, you won’t need to resort to fast food since a healthy meal is waiting for you at home.
- Meal prepping always allows you to create a realistic picture in terms of what your daily food intake looks like. If you count calories or macros, you can do so in advance with the help of meal prepping.
- If you are concerned about getting specific nutrients such as protein, meal prepping can help with this as well.
How to Start Meal Prepping
Does meal prepping for weight loss sound right for you? Excellent! We can help you get started in the world of meal prepping, catering to what you need to help drop some pounds.
This is a basic guide on how to start meal prepping, especially with the goal of weight loss in mind.
Choosing Your Containers
What are the best containers to use for meal prepping? There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, the size, material, and even structure of your food storage containers will make a difference in your meal prepping experience.
Generally, you will want to look for meal prep containers at have the following characteristics:
- You will want to invest in good quality containers that are both airtight and leak proof
- Containers that are best for meal prepping are typically slim and stackable, as well as clear and color
- Many people prefer meal prep containers that are microwave-safe oven safe, freezer-safe as well as dishwasher safe
There are different types of containers you can buy as well, in terms of compartments. Some meal prep containers are just one large compartment, While others are divided into smaller sections. You will also find that meal prep containers vary widely in terms of affordability, with options available for nearly any budget.
Foods that Work with Meal Prep
While meal prepping is an incredibly convenient approach to planning your food, not all food is a good choice for meal prep. There are some foods that work well for meal prepping, while others do not.
Foods that are a good choice for meal prepping include beans, roasted vegetables, fresh vegetables, whole fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese, cooked beans, and cooked meat.
Foods that do not work well for meal prep include soft fruit such as berries and crunchy foods like chips or crackers.
Luckily, you can get creative and come up with all kinds of meal ideas to prepare. Meal prepping is also friendly for any kind of nutritional preferences such as keto or low carb.
What can you expect in terms of materials for meal prep containers? You’ll find that the cheaper options are made of plastic. You can start off by purchasing a pack of blue-top reusable plastic Ziploc containers per week. These are BPA free and can go inside the freezer, dishwasher and microwave. Best of all, they are inexpensive and come in an array of shapes and sizes.
Once you decide that meal prepping is right for you, you can graduate to glass containers. Pyrex is a good and trusted brand as well as Rubbermaid.
Here’s a tip: if you need to separate ingredients, you can use small ziplock baggies. You can back items inside such as croutons, seeds, and more.
How Long Will Meal Prep Food Last?
Many people ask the question, how long will meal prep food last? The answer to this question varies greatly depending on the type of food that you plan to store. Furthermore, changes in texture and taste is also subject to each person.
However, a good rule of thumb is to abide by the refrigeration guidelines set by the FDA. Many people take these guidelines with a grain of salt, evaluating them and deciding for themselves in terms of what is acceptable.
The FDA also notes that product dates are not supposed to be a guide for safe use and consumption. You want to purchase any product by the sell-by or expiration date. You will also want to follow any handling recommendations for the products.
How do you Start Meal Prepping?
Now that you know about meal prep containers and some refrigeration guidelines, how do you start meal prepping in the first place?
The best advice you can take is to start small. You can even start by using your leftovers for dinner so you don’t have to cook another full meal to use in the future.
You’ll want to pay careful attention in terms of what types of foods you use as leftovers, and how they taste when you eat them the next day. Pay attention to texture as well, as this is another important aspect of meal prepping.
From there, you can use that recipe to repeat the next week for your new meal prepping venture.
Meanwhile, you can also consider single recipe meal prep for simplicity purposes.
Another helpful tip is to pick a single day of the week to do all your meal prepping at once. The point is to get it out of the way so it saves you time in the future. Some people like to prepare meals on the weekends. The day that you choose to prepare meals depends on your personal preference and lifestyle.
Need Help with Nutrition?
One of the trickiest parts to meal prepping for weight loss entails the nutritional aspect. You’ll need to make sure that you are making the correct food choices. Whether it’s the number of calories or an overall plan for tracking your macros, Generation Fit can help!
We are here and available to make meal prepping an easy process for you. If you need direction on meal prepping for weight loss, especially after the holidays, please get in touch with us today.