Food Prep - A Complete Guide
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
A lack of preparation is one of the biggest problems I see with clients. It’s not that you need the 12 Tupperware box’s of chicken and veg you see floating around IG, but simply ensuring you don’t get caught short by making a note of when you need to prepare for. I like to map out for the week what I’m going to be cooking, jot down what I need to get in and also keep track of days when I’m going to be out and about. This ensures I don’t have those ‘argh, what shall I have’ moments, or left being stranded at work with nothing to get other than the Boots sandwich and crisps meal deal.
Preparation is arguably the most important step to get right. Those who embrace it as part of their new weekly schedule will ultimately get better results in the gym. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail really does hold true here.
Building Your Box Nutrition kitchen
My top kitchen appliances :) Sad I know! But it does make your preparation a lot easier.
1. Plastic Tupperware/containers – Get some. No-one wants to be a Tupperware w*nker but they make prepping so much easier. Get a set of different size Tupperware if you don’t already have any, it keeps food fresh, neat and makes an excellent way to transport your food.
2. George Foreman Grill – It’s simple to use, cooks quickly and it's easy to clear up. Also perfect for fattier cuts of meat.
3. Protein shaker – If you don’t have one of these, use a plastic bottle (it works just as well) but keep it really clean after each shake as residue can build up.
4. Soup maker! I'm sure you've seen some of my soup posts. This is the one I use, sauté your onions, put everything else in and it's done in 20mins. Genius.
5. Smoothie maker –Get one of these. You definitely DON'T need a nutribullet though, but any simple smoothie maker with a mug to take away on the go. Good for snacks, breakfasts and fruit smoothies.
6. A set of measuring spoons and cups – If you don’t have any of these you could use an old protein powder scoop, or just invest in a set (they shouldn’t be expensive). Measuring cups or spoons are useful when working out portion sizes, but hide them when eating peanut butter.....
7. Egg poacher – There's nothing worse than an overcooked poached egg or white going everything. Yes, you use the vinegar and spin the water trick but this just stops any faff, it's easy to use and keeps your egg whole. So no more burst eggs meaning more protein.
8. A good set of non stick pans – Invest in a decent set of pans, it makes cooking so much easier – definitely worth spending a little more cash and they will last you many years.
Now your kitchen is in order it’s time to get you prepared. It is always wise to be prepared for any eventuality.
I'm sure you've had it before , you have to work late but you were not expecting to and you haven’t brought any extra food with you. You could run out and grab an unhealthy snack.... Or, you could take your own.
By always being prepared means when the unpredictable happens, you can deal with it.
Remember, there are no excuses when it comes to preparation; all it takes is 20 minutes each evening. There is no truth in saying you don’t have the time – if you want results you will make time.
A good tip is to give yourself one day a week to plan what meals you are going to eat during the coming 7 days. You don’t have to be rigid about it but by giving yourself a weekly meal-plan you will reduce the chances of being tempted by unhealthy foods when shopping. Another tip is to never shop when you’re hungry – this only increases temptation to pick up “bad” foods.
1. Your Day Off Rituals
Schedule in just one hour from Sunday or your day to sit down and arrange meal ideas and needs for the coming week. You need to look at your schedule and plan accordingly using the meal planner provided at the bottom. Is your week going to be really busy where you’ll be late home? Are you going to be travelling, which days are you going to the gym? Are you competing away? From this you can decide which days you need to plan for. So if you’re going to be late home on Thursday, prepare something on your day off and freeze it, so you have something readily available.
It doesn’t need to be for the whole week but it’s a good idea to get at least half of the week organised into a shopping list. By doing this you know what you need to buy and your next task is to take a trip to the supermarket and use your shopping list.
You don’t have to do one large shop, this can be done over the course of the week or why not order online? Online shopping also enables you to save your shopping list so you can reorder the same foods each week without the hassle of even visiting the shops. I have also prepared a great example shopping list which will help you with foods you will need to build your meals.
I find that preparing food in batches is the easiest and most efficient way of ensuring meals are ready to use whenever you need them. By preparing large amounts of food in one go you will have quick access to good, nutritious meals thereby eliminating the need to cook every day.
Remember the selection of Tupperware I suggested you buy in the Kitchen Appliances section? Batch preparation is the reason that Tupperware is your new best friend!
Make one big dish such as chilli con carne, bolognaise, curry or stew, for example and then portion it up before freezing it. It’s as simple as removing a meal you fancy from the freezer on a daily basis and letting it de-frost safely in the fridge before heating it up.
Chicken Breasts freeze well, cook them, allow them to cool, seal them in Tupperware and freeze.
MuscleFood is great for cheap and good quality meat. Try it and get 4 free chicken breasts.
• Buy a big bag of nuts and seeds such as almonds, unsalted cashews, pumpkin seeds etc. and fill up your smaller Tupperware with 1 big handful a day.
If you don't mind stinking the office out then boiled eggs and tins of mackerel are full of protein and satiating
• Packets of deli meat are also ideal high protein snacks to keep you full throughout the day-snacks
• Total 0 Yoghurt or similar are a great, healthy snack. Buy the 100g pots and take one to your workplace, why not add your berries or nuts from your Tupperware
2. Daily Prep Strategies
If you prefer, allow 10 to 15 minutes to prepare your lunch and snacks for the next day. Here’s a guide to how it can be done:
Pan fry your green vegetables in butter, olive oil or steam them
Add red onion & cherry tomatoes
Use the George Foreman Grill© for your chicken and add chilli flakes or balsamic vinegar afterwards
Boil some rice, quinoa or any other carbohydrate source
Super shakes! Although not as satiating as proper food, this is where your smoothie maker comes in useful. If you prefer, you could opt for a smoothie instead of a meal. Pre-blend your smoothie in the morning, take it to work and pop it into the fridge or take the smoothie maker to work.
Being healthy is so much easier when you enjoy your food, it shouldn’t be a chore to eat your lunch and dinner. Be creative and mix your food sources and flavours to alleviate any boredom and discover great new foods! Websites like Pinterest, Yummly and BBC Good Food for more inspiration. Remember to share your ideas on the community page!
Our resource pack includes:
Daily meal planner
Weekly meal planner