Meal prep is simple and efficient, but it doesn’t have to be boring! Many bodybuilders choose to eat the same food day in and day out but there’s no reason to do it that way if it doesn’t work towards your goals.
You've probably seen thousands of Instagram post with the classic chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli meal prep. This would be great for a day or 2 until you get sick of eating the same boring meal all week!
Here are some tips on how you can add variety and optimize your meal prep:
1. Plan out your meals and make a grocery list of the exact items you need
This will allow you to budget your weekly expenses more effectively and avoid having left-overs that take up ample kitchen space.
Your meals should be tailored towards your goals. Plan ahead and limit carbohydrate intake if you're aiming to lose body fat or increase your calorie intake if your goal is to achieve mass gains.
2. Plan and prepare 2 or more meal variations:
To avoid eating the same meals every day, we recommend preparing at least 2 variations of meals a week. Mix and match your ingredients by choosing foods that prep well together.
Here's an example of what we prepped for 4 days with 2 delicious meals a day:
Meal 1: Pre-workout meal: Oven roasted chicken breast with Jamaican marinade, beans and zucchini, and mashed sweet potato for our carb source (stored in 900ml Glass Meal Prep Containers)
Meal 2: Post workout meal: slow cooked beef brisket and broccoli with added coconut oil (stored in 725ml Glass Meal Prep Containers)
3. Use quality ingredients
To get the most out of your meals, consider choosing organic produce and grass-fed/free-range meat to avoid all the chemicals and added hormones that will hinder your progress to achieving optimal health.
Be sure to mix and match your herbs and spices; this could make or break your meals. Some staple spices in the Eco Meal Prep kitchen are Himalayan pink salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, all-spice, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, cumin and turmeric. These spices are great when used in right combinations. Don't be afraid to try a new herb/spice each week, it's a learning experience after all.
4. Optimize your time in the kitchen
One of the greatest benefits of meal prepping is the amount of time you'll save in the kitchen. Meal prepping usually takes 1-2 hours; cook only once a week and enjoy the rest of the week away from the kitchen.
To optimize your time, be sure to have a plan and clear understanding of your recipes. We like to start by cooking our carbohydrate sources first as they tend to take the longest to cook. Don't wait until one ingredient is fully cooked, optimize your time by getting started on the next ingredient while the other is cooking. You can get creative with different cooking methods such as baking/roasting, grilling, stir-frying etc.
Bonus tip: Utilize the slow cooker. This will allow you to speed up your meal prep by up to 50%. We usually plan and prepare 1 variation of a meal in a slow cooker (set to low for 8 hours) the night before meal prep day and wake up the next morning with half the job done!
5. Choose the best storage for your meals
When it comes to storing your meals, there are a number options to choose from. You can use plastic containers which are cheap and light in weight but eventually crack and lose quality after a number uses. They've also been found to leach EDC's (endocrine disrupting chemicals) into your food which causes a number of adverse health effects such as birth defects, lowered sperm quality, diabetes, and even cancer.
The safe and recommended option is to choose minimal-plastic containers such as glass. They may be slightly heavier and a tad more expensive, but the benefits far outweigh the costs; a one-time investment in a set of glass containers could last you a lifetime (provided you don't have butter-fingers). Glass containers are genuinely food-safe (meaning no chemicals) and will never deteriorate over time or leave nasty odors behind.
Prepare for greatness!
It's now time to get started in your meal prep! We challenge you to switch to glass and prepare at least 2 meal variations in your next meal prep. Be sure to tag and follow us on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our page!
If you have any questions or need help with your meal prep, leave a message in the comments below or don't hesitate to reach out to us, we're here to help!