Nutrition, Nutrition

How to maximise your meal prep

Whether you’re a meal prepping master or a newbie to the game, we’ve asked Aquanation and Aquahub gym instructor Laura English on how to get the best bang for your prepping buck.

What’s the point of meal prepping?

Some swear by it, while others prefer spontaneity. If you’re not sure why people cast aside a chunk of their weekend to fill their Tupperware® containers with food for the week ahead, English assures us there’s method to the madness.

“It’s definitely beneficial to do meal prepping, especially when you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet,” says English. 

The gym instructor says this is because “the more organised you are the more likely you are to stick with your health and fitness goals.”

Meal prepping is a great way to make sure temptation doesn’t tap you on the shoulder too. English recommends getting your healthy snack game on point so when you feel your sugar levels drop, you’re less likely to munch on something that doesn’t meet your goals.

How to prep like a pro

English recommends that rather than doing a big cook-up for the sake of it, at the start of the week “plan what’s actually going to match with what your goals are, create all of that food and have it ready to go, that means you’re less likely to reach for something you shouldn’t have when you don’t have your lunch ready.”

She adds it’s important to calculate your nutrients properly to hit your health and fitness goals because “it’s all about calories in calories out, as long as you’ve calculated that correctly you’ll be fine.”

And if you’re unsure, the gym instructor says a health professional can provide excellent guidance.

Shop for success

Have you ever arrived home from the supermarket and realised you forgot half the things you needed? Yeah, we’ve been there too.

For English, the best way to master your meal prep is to hit the shops with a list in hand to make sure you get everything you need in one hit.

And if you’re not sure where to start, “try and pick recipes that you can cook a big batch of quite easily,” she says.

To make sure your meals last the distance, English recommends freezer friendly recipes. “Not only are they more likely to keep, but if your meals are freezer friendly you can just grab and go really easily.”

Beat the boredom

If you need a bit of variety to spice up your recipe repertoire there are ways to keep your meal prep interesting.

“It’s different for everyone, some people find they can eat the same meals for months and be quite happy, but others need some variety,” says English. The gym instructor recommends if you do want a bit of flexibility, “choose two or three different lunches that you can pick from for lunch and dinners, that way you can mix it up during the week, so you don’t get bored.”

In addition, English reckons snacks are a really great way to shake up your daily eating habits while also keeping you on track to achieve your goals.

Top tips for newbies

Many who haven’t dabbled in preparing their meals for the week in advance are probably weary of their weekend being eaten up with cooking.

For English, it’s all about understanding that it will take you a bit of time, but this can help prepping meals seem a little less daunting for first timers.

Still, the gym instructor has some tips to make sure that time is used efficiently. “Pick meals you can cook in bulk, use frozen veggies to eliminate chopping time and choose vegetables that you can chuck in the oven multiple trays at a time, that will ideally speed up the process.”

For her number one tip, English says organisation is key to making sure prepping your meals works for your goals and your lifestyle.

Laura English is a Personal Trainer at Aquanation and Aquahub.