Preparing meals in advance is a great way to give dieters and those looking to eat right an extra push in a positive direction. As #mealprep posts litter fitness Instagram feeds and bloggers share tips on making the most of pre-made meals, Atlanta dietitan Nicole German Morgan, RDN, LD, CLT, shared some of her tips on embracing the trend and setting the tone for a healthy week.
Start when you get home from the grocery store.
"Start cutting up and sorting food as soon as you get home from the grocery store to cut down on meal prep time later on," said Morgan. Setting aside the ingredients you will need to chop and measure, whether they're parts of a recipe or fresh veggies for a week's worth of snacks, will cut down on the possibility that you'll feel too rushed later to finish the job.
Pick a day.
"Pick a 'meal prep' day, and stick to a routine so it becomes an easier habit," said Morgan. Many people choose Sundays so their week of workday lunches and quick dinners can already be put together, but pick whatever day your schedule allows for the time you need to do it right. Building the prep day into your weekly routine increases the likelihood that this new healthy habit will stick — an essential factor in managing (or losing) weight.
Pay attention to balance.
"A mistake often made in meal prep is not preparing the correct balance of macronutrients," Morgan said. This doesn't mean looking for a fad diet you can cling to. Everyone has a different set of needs, so serious meal preppers should look at exactly what proportions are right for them. "Each person is a unique individual with a specific goal, so the balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats will need to be correctly adjusted for the goal."
Just get started.
Whether it's preparing grab-and-go snacks, packing a week's worth of lunches or doing a total overhaul on your meal plan, meal prep can be a game-changer in dieting no matter how involved you are. "Planning meals ahead of time allows you the complete control of making a healthy choice," Morgan said. "When you are hungry, you will have a healthy choice ready to go, and not feel the need to give in to an unhealthy fast food choice."