Whether you’re busy with family, work, or hobbies, it can sometimes feel like there’s not enough time to dedicate to fitness or meal prep. Finding ways to simplify your life and schedule can provide you with more time to hit the gym and develop positive practices. Creating these routines can give you a sense of accomplishment and control as you continue your fitness journey.
One of the best things you can do to simplify your life is to plan your meals and cook in advance. Let’s talk about why this is so important and what it could mean for you.
Meal planning and bulk cooking are both wonderful techniques you can utilize and modify to fit your needs. The idea behind this is simple… The principle is that you cook or prepare your meals ahead of time and then preserve them by either freezing or refrigerating them.
Learning to cook ahead can also help stretch your food budget further, since you can cook one large meal and get two or three other meals from it with the proper planning. Making sure that you’re planning ahead is important for this, so it can be helpful to write out a schedule of when you’ll eat certain meals. Doing this will ensure that you space your food out accordingly and don’t end up with an unexpected shortage.
How to Get Started
Meal prepping might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s really simple. Sometimes the hardest part of the process is getting started. If you’re feeling unsure about whether this is the right choice for you, consider taking the first steps and seeing how easy it really can be.
Start by writing down a list of your favorite healthy meals and then prepare a grocery list that will coincide with your menu. Since you’re learning to cook in bulk, your shopping list will have to change accordingly so that you’re sure to have enough ingredients on hand when the time comes to do the cooking.
Planning what days you’ll eat certain foods can save you time because you’ll know exactly what needs to be done when. If you meal prep on Sunday, then you can be sure that dinner’s already prepared for Tuesday. Therefore, you can spend thirty extra minutes at the gym because you know dinner’s already in the fridge.
Unexpected things can happen, so consider prepping an extra meal. If one of your recipes doesn’t work out the way you planned, then you’ll be grateful that you have more options. Having multiple meals can also help when you’re wanting to change up what you’re eating and not have lots of repetition.
Doing the Shopping
Shopping is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of cooking ahead. Plan in advance for when you’ll go shopping and make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time.
It’s easy to get distracted at the grocery store, so make a plan for how you’re going to stick to your schedule. Will you search for each item individually? Walk up and down the aisles one at a time? Creating a method for your shopping can make the trip go easier and help you stick to your plan.
Planning ahead can save you money because you know exactly what you want to get from the store. Many of us will end up leaving the store with different foods that we don’t actually need, so having a specific plan can cut down your grocery bill and make sure that you’re buying essentials.
Using the Right Tools
The most important tool in meal prep and bulk cooking is your freezer. Freezer bags are a great space saver if you have a small freezer, as they’re more flexible than storage contains.
Throughout the process of meal planning and prepping you’ll also learn to love your slow cooker. Experiment with different recipes and variations on your favorites, finding healthy ways to incorporate nutritious foods.
You’re only limited by your own imagination when cooking in bulk for the week ahead. Factor in the time you save by not having to do a lot of after dinner cleanup or dishes and you’ll be glad you took the time to master this important organizational skill.
Consider Ultimate Phitness
If you need help with planning your menus for your meal prep, check out our personal plans to get signed up. Our team is here to provide you with support and help you throughout your fitness journey.