Food Prep - get on top of it!

We all know that we should prepare our meals in advance. It’s the best way to make sure that we’re getting all the macronutrients that we need, and for a more affordable price.

So why is it such a struggle to actively do this? Why do we end up just not bothering?

  1. INSTINCT Unfortunately we are creatures of instinct and if we’ve had a big breakfast and no longer feel hungry right at that moment, in the back of our minds we can sometimes feel as if this feeling will keep us going for the rest of the day. As such, what we’re going to eat later takes a back seat in terms of priorities.

  2. LAZINESS We can’t be bothered sometimes. We just can’t. Often it is genuinely a general feeling of lethargy but sometimes we really do feel as if we haven’t even got the time. I will at times return home after training clients and throw a few carrots, courgettes and potatoes in an oven dish and chuck them in an oven, un-sliced. It’s that feeling that I’d better eat some veg having not had enough for that day, tied in with lacking the enthusiasm and energy to even slice up some carrots and throw on a bit of seasoning. This is totally uninspired, mundane, functional food.

  3. FEAR We might actually feel ashamed that we have our food ready made, when many work colleagues go to specific shops or restaurants for their lunches. This leaves you out. It is a subtle one but there is peer pressure there…just like when one gives up smoking they miss out on the conversations and story-telling that is rampant in the outside smoking area. In addition to having to change away from the daily habits of friends and colleagues, one might also have to face having the piss taken out of them. If you and your work colleagues were once beer swilling, drug taking, crap eating hell raisers, you may have to face some serious banter from them regarding your change in lifestyle.

  4. LACK OF INSPIRATION AND KNOWLEDGE What should we be eating and when? If your idea of healthy food is endless salads and fruit then it’s going to get very boring very quick. Often work drags us down and we feel the need for a little treat, a little pick me up. That often manifests itself in a favourite coffee or a delicious lunch somewhere. Taking that away can be heartbreaking.

  5. EATING ON THE GO IS SOMETHING TO DO It sounds silly but eating when out and about kills time as well as giving us something to look forward to. It can nicely fill little half hour gaps in the day and physically keep you going. Not to mention the fact that the smells from many food vendors when out and about can be utterly intoxicating.

So, how best to deal with these factors?

First of all you need to be ready to change. If your heart is not 100% in it, it’s never going to happen. You need to know what you want to achieve and be so fed up with the way things are currently going that you’re prepared to do anything to start getting results. Unfortunately this isn’t something that can be taught. You’ll know when you’re ready.

  1. Work out your macronutrients using a calculator such as the one on my facebook page. Then you can decipher what your body needs for your aims. Next, get some decent tupperware boxes of varying sizes. Then you need to set aside two days in your week that you’re going to make available for food prep…just a couple of hours each day. Following this, start an online account with a supermarket and decide which protein, fat and carbohydrate sources you enjoy. Then stock up! Keeping the shopping online helps to reduce impulse buys. You can find a list of some of the best sources on my home page.

  2. Combatting laziness is simple if you have 2 days set aside for all this food prep. If everything is ready and done for you there’s no need to worry about having to make things from scratch. You can afford to be a little lazy if all the food prep has already been done for you.

  3. Overcoming fear is simple. You’re so ready to change at this point that you’ll do anything. If not, you need to have a rethink of how important a new lifestyle is to you. You can still bring your tupperware boxes out when your friends go for lunch. You can make a bit of a joke about it and even just agree to go somewhere that would allow them to order and for you to bring your own. Perhaps even encourage your friends to do the same as you.

  4. To help with a lacking inspiration or knowledge you can research online, look up healthy recipes using the specific foods you enjoy. As long as you stay within your macronutrient aims you can afford to have the occasional treat, either shop bought beforehand or made by yourself. The best advice I could give is to speak directly with a dietician, nutritionist or personal trainer to find the best approach given your tastes and habits.

  5. To help with problem number 5, I’d suggest making foods you can have as treats on the go. Fat bombs and little pots of overnight oats spring to mind. Cheap, low in preservatives and easy to make. They’ll also fit nicely in little tupperware pots.

All this stuff is really about planning ahead. Get food prep into your weekly routine and you’ll have no problem staying on top of it. Just like getting more active, it requires a behaviour change that you need to be ready for. It’s not a big deal but you need to be ready to be committed.

Ben Savin