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December 20, 2022 1 Comment
Let's face it. Weight loss is hard. If it were easy, everyone would walk around with a beach-ready body 24/7. But if you're embarking on a weight loss journey, hard certainly doesn't mean impossible. Using the right strategies and a little organization can make losing weight a lot more manageable.
One such strategy to help with weight loss? Meal prep! Proper planning, having the right ingredients on hand, and putting in some time in the kitchen toward the beginning of your week can ensure you don't succumb to a quick fast food fix when hunger strikes.
To help you learn to effectively meal prep for weight loss, we're going to discuss the benefits of meal prep and how to do it, along with some great tips to get you started.
This article will discuss:
Read on to see how meal prep is a crucial part of your plan for weight loss.
Meal prepping is exactly what it sounds like. It's the practice of preparing your food at home in advance to ensure you have healthy meals throughout the week.
Once-a-week meal prep is popular for meal preppers, but in reality, meal prep can be done daily, three days a week, or even monthly (if your freezer is large enough!). The main point is that you're preparing food before eating it.
Calculating your food intake and preparing it ahead of time gives you full control of your food choices and how many calories you eat. This is why it's such a successful method to enlist when losing weight. Meal prep works great alongside many effective diets, including the metabolic confusion diet and the 80 20 rule diet.
One of the best ways to ensure diet success is by meal prepping. There are several great benefits to prepared meals for weight loss. Let's get into them!
The number one reason you need to enlist the help of the best prepared meals for weight loss is that it makes counting calories and counting macros much easier. In fact, it is one of the easiest ways to make sure you eat healthy while following your prescribed calories consistently.
By prepping your meals ahead of time, you will always know what you're going to eat, in addition to the right quantity and its associated calorie count.
Despite more restaurants labeling the nutritional content of their menu items, it's impossible to guarantee the correct size for every served meal. We're sure you've gone to plenty of restaurants where you may get more sauce during one visit or fewer veggies on another. The nutritional content would only be 100% consistent if the food is pre-made, which would suggest the quality is lacking.
At the end of the day, meal prepping and taking time to cook healthy meals is the most efficient way to count calories and eat nutritious dishes.
Another major issue with the Western diet is a lack of nutritious food. Americans eat a surplus of processed foods containing extra fat and too much sugar. A lot of this can be attributed to busy lifestyles and on-the-go eating. And we get it. It takes more effort to make a nutritious home-cooked meal than it does to stop through the drive-through on your way home from work.
The best way to follow a healthy lifestyle is to plan your meals ahead of time. If you go out of your house with a plan to eat healthier but have no plan on what to eat, you're not setting yourself up for success. But thanks to already prepared meals for weight loss, getting into a caloric deficit while eating enough nutrient-dense food is possible.
Some meal prep naysayers may state that putting together pre prepared meals for weight loss takes too long. But if you think about it, that argument doesn't make sense. Of course, meal prep takes time, but how long does it take to drive to a restaurant and then wait for your food?
While some prepared healthy meals for weight loss can take a long time, knowing a few easier meal prep recipes can help reduce your prep and cooking time.
And yes, cooking and prepping healthy recipes and meals does take time. But this is why we strongly recommend that you prep meals for at least a few days at a time. For example, baking a high protein low fat food like chicken breast will take 20 minutes, whether you're prepping 1 or 10 breasts at the same time.
Of course, there will be some things that take longer, but as a whole, prepping multiple meals at once significantly decreases your total prep time.
Back in the day, fast food was fairly cheap. At one point, there were 39-cent cheeseburgers at Mcdonald's, and it's hard to argue with those prices. However, this isn't the case anymore, as fast food prices have increased exponentially.
These days, purchasing the ingredients needed to make prepared meal plans for weight loss is oftentimes much cheaper. On top of that, as you can buy in bulk since you're preparing multiple meals at once, you can get even better prices.
Meal prepping is an excellent strategy for effectively following a cutting workout and diet plan (or any healthy eating plan, for that matter!). But as with most things, there are a few cons you need to be aware of. Here are some meal prep considerations to be mindful of.
The issue with prepping the best pre prepared meals for weight loss is that to save money and time, you more or less have to eat the same meals as you work your way through the "batch" of food you made.
It also doesn't allow for much spontaneity during the week. If you want to follow your meal planning, you don't have the luxury of having a random dinner with friends during the week or attending a last-minute business dinner with work associates.
Having said that, you can also half-full this one and see it as a pro, as feeling obligated to eat the meal prep dishes you prepared may just help you bypass calorie-riddled restaurant meals and stick to your diet.
Following up on our last issue, if you decide to be spontaneous with your food intake and frequently end up going out to eat during the week, you're likely wasting your meal prep food. While food can be kept refrigerated or frozen, keeping it in this condition for too long can degrade its taste. After several days in the fridge, it may even put you at risk for food poisoning.
The point being is that you will find yourself in this situation often. You can either turn down food or an outing with your friends or waste money and time on pre-made meals you aren't eating. None of these are desirable, and both defeat the point of meal planning.
If you've decided to get serious about your nutrition and workout split and want to start making easy to prepare healthy meals for weight loss, use these healthy meal prep ideas to make meal prepping easier.
These tips will show you how to prepare a meal plan for weight loss.
Starting your day with a nutrient-packed breakfast is a great way to eat healthily.
And fortunately, many easy meal plans for a healthy breakfast don't require a ton of time. For example, protein powder is a great go-to for your weekly meal prep.
This can be as simple as making a big protein shake with your favorite protein powder. This easy meal makes it simple to track calories while getting in a healthy pre-made dish. For best results, we suggest having the ingredients ready to go, so you can quickly blend them in the morning. To further increase your shake's nutritional value, you can also add in some pre-washed fruits and veggies before blending.
Overnight oats, which involves putting protein in oatmeal and mixing it with milk, is another breakfast dish that is simple to make and tastes delicious. You can use more or less milk, depending on the texture you're looking for. For some reason, letting it sit overnight completely changes the taste and texture, making it a favorite among health-conscious individuals. Serve with a protein coffee, and you'll have the easiest, most delicious meal ever!
Using a slow cooker is a game-changer when making easy to prepare meals for weight loss, particularly when you use one to prep your high protein lunch or dinner. This allows you some variety in your lunches and dinners, yet still mitigates the amount required for meal prep.
Many crock pot recipes call for very few ingredients, so you can quickly get everything going before work and come home to a delicious meal. If you're prepping lunch, you can have the slow cooker prepare your meal while you sleep and pack it for lunch the following morning.
In addition, instead of preparing everything from scratch the day you're going to make your slow cooker dish, you can get your ingredients ready ahead of time.
At first, meal-planning strategies can seem daunting. Prepping three meals a day, seven days a week means you need to prep 21 meals. That's a lot.
In reality, you don't need to prep every single meal ahead of time. Start with healthy meal prep for the meal that's hardest for you to make time to prepare. For many people, that's lunch. Therefore, when you first start meal prepping, concentrate on only prepping your lunches, or whatever meal it is you have the most trouble with.
This is similar to our point on slow cookers. Convenient meal prep means more than having full meals ready to go at any given moment. Just preparing the ingredients needed for recipes ahead of time can eliminate prep time for every meal.
For example, you can easily prepare various vegetables and keep them in a large Ziploc bag. Other options include:
Now when you come home, you can easily choose to bake the pre-weighed protein of your choice by tossing it in the oven. The same idea goes for your vegetables and carbs. Looking for some meal idea inspiration? Check out the meals highlighted in this 7 day meal plan for muscle gain.
Sandwiches are an excellent choice for healthy eating. They are very easy to prepare and allow you to easily control your macros.
Here are some food choices for meal prep to keep on hand for healthy sandwiches.
To properly meal prep and effectively make prepared weight loss meals, pick up some meal prep containers.
Depending on your budget, we suggest buying the best meal prep containers that you can afford, which can include anything from meal prep bags to glass meal prep containers. Nice meal prep containers can help maintain freshness while also keeping the appropriate temperature.
You can choose between containers that have one compartment or multiple compartments for dividing your food. We like one compartment for our meal prep container as it allows more room, but it just depends on your preference.
Check out some of our favorite meal prep containers!
Meal prepping takes time and forethought in planning what you want to eat and when you want to eat it. Then add the time it takes to visit your nearest grocery store to purchase the ingredients needed for your chosen recipes. Next, you still must cook and pack the food for the week.
If you're short on time or have busy weeks ahead of you, then you might want to look for a meal prep delivery service that can send you fresh, ready-to-eat healthy meals. We used a service called Trifecta Nutrition and had a great experience.
The best part about meal prep is there is no shortage of delicious high-protein meal prep recipes to follow. Having said that, when planning meal prep for weight loss, there are a few guidelines to consider.
Your main goal is to get into a calorie deficit no matter what. Without that, you will not lose weight, so this should be your primary goal. Aim for a modest 300-500 caloric deficit, as this will allow weight loss while helping you maintain muscle mass.
Research shows that high-protein diets make you feel more satisfied and help mitigate muscle loss¹. Therefore, try to eat 1.8-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Even if you follow a vegan diet, there are plenty of great veggie protein sources.
Your meal prep recipes should start with a healthy protein. Calculate how much protein you need per day and divide it into how many meals you eat. Try to keep the protein distributed evenly across the day as much as possible. While it doesn't need to be exact, the minimum amount you should eat per meal is 20 grams.
Next, choose some healthy fats. These should make up approximately 30% of your total calories. Some good options include avocado, high protein nuts and seeds, and fatty fish.
After that, fill your favorite meal prep containers with carbs, adjusting to meet your calorie needs. Because carbs are the most modifiable, it's easiest to have them last as you can just fill in your remaining calories with your carb source. In other words, pay the most attention to your protein, followed by healthy fats. Once you have those accounted for, choose your carb and put in as much or as little as you need.
In addition to having healthy meal ideas, plan for snacks ahead of time. Waiting until you're hungry is a great way to fall off track. As they say; "Failure to plan is planning to fail."
Meal prep for weight loss is a must for anyone serious about weight loss. Even if you don't do it long-term, meal prepping for a while can teach you a lot about proper meal portions, as well as calorie counting. In addition, meal prep teaches you what a healthy meal plan looks like, which is instrumental to maintaining your weight loss.
A good definition of meal prep is thinking about what your meals will look like for the week ahead and what you need to do to make them. Putting some time toward your weight loss prepared meals at the beginning of each week goes a long way.
Remember to set yourself up for success by investing in some good meal prep containers! They're great for sorting meals and staying organized, and grabbing a container on your way out the door in the morning is as simple as it gets.
And that is meal prep made easy.
Leidy HJ, Hoertel HA, Douglas SM, Higgins KA, Shafer RS. A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in “Breakfast skipping” adolescents. Obesity. 2015;23(9):1761-1764. doi:10.1002/oby.21185
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