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September 26, 2018by info0

Meal Prep 101

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”

Preparation is key

Preparation makes perfection. Regardless of what your goals are, success will only be achieved when you are prepared. Not only does meal prepping help you achieve your fitness goals, it saves you significant amounts of money and time!  

 

Pick your day

Pick your day for shopping as well as for cooking. Prior to your shopping day, make a list of everything you already have on hand you would like to use (proteins, veggies, etc.). Taking inventory of your pantry allows you to stretch your dollars and avoid excess food waste. Bringing a cooler or insulated bag with you allows you to stop at more than one grocery store or market per trip, so you can buy the freshest meats and produce at the best prices.

 

Calculate your macronutrients

To assess what ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fats your body will need on a daily basis, visit http://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/ and enter your information as well as an accurate assessment of your physical activity. This will also help you determine the quantities of protein you will need to purchase.

A macro calculator of this sort will help you determine how many grams of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats you will need based on your goal. Take your totals and break them up into a minimum of four meals per day. Ideally, most meals should be broken down between 4 to 6 meals per day. This ensures that your body will metabolize and absorb nutrients properly while keeping insulin stable. 

For example: 

120g Protein divided by 4 = 30g Protein per meal 

165g Carbohydrates divided by 4= 35g Carbs per meal + 25g Carb Snack 

48g Fats divided by 4 = 12g Fat per meal 

For certain workout days (cardio and heavy lifting, or lifting targeting larger muscle groups) carbohydrates must be increased to aid in muscle recovery. For just cardio days, carbohydrate levels should remain at the suggested amount for general lifestyle activity. If you want a closer ballpark, try entering different levels of activity in the above calculator to get daily macros for rest, low activity, and high activity days.

For a precise, custom assessment of your body fat percentage, resting metabolic rate, and v02 output, visit www.thefitlabsd.com today to schedule an appointment.

Storage

Choose containers that are appropriate for your lifestyle. Some people like containers with multiple compartments to separate foods with sauces or dressings. Containers that are too large should be avoided for individual meals, as having a surplus of space on your plate will trick your brain into thinking the amount of food present will not be enough. It is also important to look for containers that are BPA-free as well as microwave and dishwasher safe. If you travel frequently or eat more than one meal at work, investing in a well-insulated lunch box and several ice packs will ensure your hard work does not go to waste!

Get creative!

Think of ways to incorporate the flavors of your favorite foods into your prep. Make your own salt-free seasoning blends as well as dips and sauces that can be pre-portioned into their own containers ahead of time that will last several prep cycles, or order The Meal Prep Co’s salt-free secret recipe rub at www.themealprepco.com

Keep breakfast simple. Limit your items to 3 to 4 ingredients to make breakfast a habit. Egg whites are always a perfect source of a clean protein. If you will be working out within the next 1-2 hour of your breakfast, add a complex carbohydrate to the meal (oatmeal). If you will not be working out, pair your eggs with 2-3 servings of vegetables.

Snacks

Stock up on snack size Ziploc bags or get small Tupperware containers to pre-portion snacks for grab and go convenience. Purchasing large containers of items like yogurt is cost-effective and eliminates overeating when it can be pre-portioned with toppings like seasonal or frozen berries, nuts, and granola. Preparing smoothie ingredients ahead of time makes it effortless to combine fresh or frozen fruit and veggies in individual servings, which can be put in a blender with a scoop of protein, and almond/coconut milk or water.

Make a plan

Plan a specific number of meals to stretch across a certain number of days. This is useful if you are carb cycling so you don’t end up overeating carbs on a rest day.  Plan to use the same side, whether it be your carbs (rice, beans, potatoes, etc.) or your veggies (crispy broccoli, roasted Brussel sprouts, sauteed green beans, etc). For multiple proteins significantly reduces the opportunity for waste.

Execution

Timing is everything: it will take you twice as long as you plan to execute. Start by defrosting your proteins in the refrigerator. Fire up the rice cooker, and then begin cooking your proteins and veggies, since they will require more attention.

The freezer is your friend! Placing meat in a ziplock bag with marinade and freeze until ready to cook. Protein staples such as meatloaf, meatballs, and burger patties can be cooked ahead of time and frozen until ready to use. Making your own chicken stock or bone broths and freezing in ice cube trays will also make any last minute dishes you’d like to whip up a breeze. These are great for the end of the week “kitchen sink” stews or soups- toss any leftovers in a pot and let the flavors meld together- shredded chicken, quinoa, onions, tomatoes, zucchini or seasonal squash, asparagus, and mushrooms make a beautiful cold-weather stew and can be topped with cilantro and avocado.  

Find your tribe

Staying on track is easier when you are accountable to someone other than yourself. Add meal preppers to your social feeds to get ideas. Create a private facebook page and invite friends that would also like to share recipes and success stories. Find workout buddies or hiking partners through meetup groups, or organize them yourself!

Recipes to get started

Inflammation Elimination Smoothie

-¼ cup fresh or frozen raspberries

-A handful of spinach, or kale

-¼ cup of parsley

-½ tsp ginger paste or a few slices of fresh ginger

-Juice from ½ a lemon

-One Persian cucumber (or about ½ a regular cucumber)

-Two stalks of celery

-One pear or apple

-One scoop of protein powder of choice

All of the ingredients in this recipe can be cut up and bagged or placed in a container ahead of time, except the protein powder and almond/coconut milk or water!


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August 24, 2017by AGW0

It is not uncommon to need a protein powder to supplement your meal prep- regardless of what your goal is, be it fat loss, muscle gain, or a healthy lifestyle, here are the differences:

Whey protein is derived from milk and contains a wide range of amino acids that absorb quickly, aiding in recovery and lean muscle development.

Our Favorite: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

Where To Buy: Ultimate Sport Nutrition (mention you’re a client of The Meal Prep Company for a discount!), GNC, bodybuilding.com, amazon.com

 

Hydrolyzed whey isolate is still derived from milk but is extracted through a different process that allows more of the amino acids to stay bonded and nearly eliminates residual lactose, fat, and carbs.

Our Favorite: Dymatize Iso-100

Where To Buy: Ultimate Sport Nutrition (mention you’re a client of The Meal Prep Company for a discount!), GNC, bodybuilding.com, amazon.com

 

Egg white protein powder is a lactose-free alternative to whey that is low in carbs and abundant in vitamins A, B, D, and E.

Our Favorite: Jay Robb

Where To Buy: The Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, jayrobb.com

 

Vegan proteins are popular for post-workout recovery as well as meal replacements because a lot of manufacturers add raw fruit and veggie blends as well as vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Since they contain no dairy byproducts, these proteins are bloat-free for people who don’t digest dairy well.

Our Favorite: Garden of Life Raw Meal

Where To Buy: The Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, amazon.com

 

More than half of the typical American diet is made up of added fats, sugars, and refined grains- consistent protein consumption has a myriad of benefits, including but not limited to;

  1. Increased Muscle Mass

Exercise causes tiny tears in the muscle fibers, so consuming a post-workout protein shake before you dig into your meal prep will ensure muscle fibers are repaired rapidly, and can become larger. The amino acids are also super-helpful for reducing soreness!

  1. Fat Loss without Feeling Hungry

The body’s preferred source of energy is carbohydrates because they are a quick burning fuel that spikes glucose levels, which is great to support a workout. High levels of protein must be consumed to get the body to use stored fat as its primary energy source.

  1. Blood Sugar Stabilization

The body relies on the hormone insulin to break down protein, fat, and carbs to produce energy, but the amount of insulin required to process carbohydrates is much higher than the required amount for protein or fat. This is taxing, but when the body stops expecting to ride the glucose rollercoaster, more balanced moods and energy levels are to be expected. Our low-carb (vegetables only) and paleo (sweet potatoes and yams only) meal prep plans are best for individuals seeking blood sugar stabilization.

  1. Mood Improvement and Brain Function

Some of us are no strangers to the phenomenon sweeping the nation known as “hanger” (a combination of hungry and angry)- not only does waiting too long to eat or not consuming enough protein in general put us in a bad mood, it affects how your brain makes and transports dopamine and serotonin. Additionally, the brain needs the amino acids from complete proteins to maintain healthy motor skills, coordination, and learning ability.

  1. Slowing of the Aging Process

Glutathione is considered the Godfather of all antioxidants, sort of the Don Corleone of detox, if you will. Antioxidants scoop up and get rid of nasty free-radicals that harm the immune system and can cause a host of other issues like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, cataracts, and heart problems. Thankfully, the incredible human body produces Glutathione on its own- but it can only be produced by intaking an optimal amount of protein.

 

Your Meal Prep Company consultant will recommend the best protein supplement for your lifestyle, body composition, and goals as well as guide you in how to track and achieve your daily macros that are calculated specifically for you. If you’re ready to make your diet one of your success factors, follow the link to book your in-person meal prep consultation today.


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