Nutrition Tutorial: Plan, Shop, and Prepare Your Meals in Advance

We’ve all struggled from meal to meal deciding what to eat. Those who work outside the home are at an even greater disadvantage trying to stick to a healthy diet. We know our goal is to get as lean as possible, but yet we fail to plan ahead. And here we are at the last minute trying to make good nutritional choices either at home or at work. What about our next meal? Do I have the proper foods in my pantry and fridge to eat well? Did I even pack a lunch or will my co-workers want to eat fast foods again for lunch? Lack of planning and preparing our meals in advance has disastrous effects on reaching our goal.

I’m about to suggest a new method of meal planning that will remove the anxiety of last minute meal decisions. Just a few hours of planning and work can solve all of your weekly meal decisions. You don’t need to stress when you are supposed to eat or what if you can do a few simple things on Sunday afternoon or evening. Not only will you not wonder when or what you will be eating, your results will dramatically improve AND your grocery bill will be quite a bit smaller! If you work outside your home, your lunch bill will be slashed giving you more money for new shoes or a purse.

If this sounds too good to be true it isn’t, it simply takes a few hours on Sunday evening. Taking the guesswork out of your meals is easy with some advance planning.

This system is tried and true and easy to follow. Let me break down the steps and then I will go in to detail on each step.

Weekly Meal Ritual (WRITE THESE DOWN)
1. What are your health and body composition goals? Be very specific and honest with yourself. Change takes effort and time. Allow yourself time to reach your goals. This is your journey and it might take 3 years to achieve. Only by beginning and being consistent and allowing yourself time can you succeed.
2. What foods will help you reach your goals? What foods do you like that will achieve the highest rate of success for you? Head out to the book store and find a book on healthy recipe’s. Expand your palate and knowledge base. Hire a dietician if you are clueless and struggling!
3. Plan and write out your meals for the next 7 days. Be thorough and be sure to use nutrient timing and our system of Anytime vs. Post Workout as your guide. If you need help understanding when and what to eat, read this article on Nutrient Timing.
4. Prepare your shopping list and hit the grocery store. Do NOT buy foods or items that are not on your list. Your trip to the store should mainly consist of fresh foods. Try to limit processed foods to a bare minimum or totally eliminate them.
5. Be sure to buy Tupperware or Glad containers, enough for at least 3-4 days. These will be used to store your pre-made meals. If you will be taking meals to work, buy a soft collapsable cooler you can use to take your pre-made meals to work and back. Be sure to get some plastic utensils as well.
6. Prepare your meals and place the correct serving sizes in to each container. Generally I shoot for 1/2 to 1 cup for lean proteins and 2 cups of mixed vegetables. If you are unsure, hire a dietician! They are very affordable and can provide a great deal of insight in to proper meal planning and timing.

Meals for one day

Prepared meals for one day. Fat Loss goal. Prepared and photo by Oklahoma City personal trainer Sal Ferreira, NASM-CPT based in Oklahoma City. Contact him @ 405.626.7477 if you would like meals made in advance.

Think about how much time you will save when you give up rummaging around for food and preparing each meal. Performing the task of meal preparation in bulk sounds like a lot of work and it is – but it will free up your entire week! This is the hard part and takes the most time, however, it saves time during the week as you are never making a meal from scratch or driving through a drive through window wasting money and gas.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS
– Jot down recipe’s and meals you run across that can help you achieve your goals. Add them in to your meal plans for variety.
– Make your meal plan consistent for the week, this reduces cooking time on Sunday. Your meals will be very similar each day of the week but these are foods you enjoy and are helping you reach your goals.
– Keep your menu fresh by changing up the meal plan from week to week while keeping in mind your overall goal.
– Never buy anything outside of your meal plan, this goes for quick snacks, late night binges, or extra food you may have lying around. Stick to your plan and you will reach your goal and SAVE MONEY!
– You don’t need to make meals for 7 days in advance. If this seems daunting, try preparing meals on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. I prepare my meals Sunday and Wednesday evenings, this allows me to keep the diet fresh and the foods even fresher.
– If you are short of time and would like to follow this system without preparing the meals yourself, you can easily find someone who can do this for you. There are many freelance chef’s as well as trainers who are now preparing customized meal plans for their clients. One such Oklahoma City personal trainer is Sal Ferreira, NASM-CPT based in Oklahoma City. He can help you plan and will fully prepare and deliver your meals daily. He can be reached at 405.626.7477 and will be happy to get you moving in the right direction.

BENEFITS
– Improved nutrition by eating fresh foods. Processed foods have no place in this system.
– Improved body composition.
– Reach your body composition and health goals much faster.
– Save money on weekly and monthly grocery bill.
– How much time is wasted driving to and from a drive through window? How much money is spent on the food and the gas? Save time and MONEY by preparing meals in advance.

I hope you find this step by step guide useful in achieving your health and body composition aspirations.

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