Have you ever heard the phrase’ you get fit in the gym and you lose weight in the kitchen’ or how about the phrase ‘you can’t out exercise a bad diet’?
Well I can tell you that both of these phrases are true. I know from my own experiences. I’ve had periods in the past where I have been 100% committed to my workouts, I’ve been putting in the time and effort, pushing myself to work harder, lift heavier, run further but at the same time my focus on my nutrition has been really poor. I’ve eaten too many take aways, too few vegetables and practically turned into a bar of chocolate!!
As a result, despite all the exercise I was doing, I put on weight, felt bloated and sluggish, my skin had lots of breakouts and I felt pretty bad about myself. So trust me when I say that those two statements are true.
The question then becomes how do you easily stay on track with your food? We are all busy, we all have multiple demands on our time and if you’re like me you sometimes just can’t be bothered to cook even if you have the time to.
It’s when we don’t have the time or we simply aren’t in the mood to cook that we tend to make the bad choices. Maybe this is when you order that pizza or Chinese, maybe you skip eating a meal and just snack your way through the evening on crisps and chocolate, either way it’s not ideal and you can change things to help yourself.
Meal planning and then meal prepping in advance is a great way to:
- Save time
- Save money
- Cut out junk food
- Be prepared for those days where you just can’t be bothered
- Save on excess calories
- Feel more positive about what you are achieving
- Remain on track regardless of life throwing you the odd curve ball.
So how do you make a start on meal planning? First of all this is designed to make life easier so don’t feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to plan out every single meal if you don’t want to but I find it useful to plan what meals we’re going to have for the week, then I can use this to put together my shopping list so I only buy what we need – this is how you save money.
When I first got started with meal planning I thought about the food items we enjoy eating that are versatile and can be used in multiple ways, that meant I could keep my shopping list relatively short but just by more of them. For example bell peppers, courgettes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, minced meat, eggs and chicken breasts are all regulars in our house- they can be cooked and used in lots of different ways.
From here I planned what our evening meals would be and added any extra ingredients to the shopping list.
TIP: Meals that can be made in bulk can then be used for the next days lunch or the extra portions can be frozen.
Then throw in a few other staples, which for us is cheese, wraps, sliced ham, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, yogurts, milk, and fresh fruit and that’s breakfast and lunch pretty much done too.
In part two I’ll share with you a sample 5 day meal plan and also go into the benefits of meal prep and how that can really help you stay on track.