Food Prep to Fuel your Workouts



by Paul Young, BS, CPT

So, you’ve been getting in some great workouts, but you’re not seeing the results you think you should, what gives? Most often, it is what you put in your body before and after a workout that can make the difference you’re looking for. Meal prep is the easiest way to ensure you’re always going to give your body the nutrition it is starving for.

Most people believe that meal prep is so time consuming and expensive, but studies have shown this is not true. Think about what is spent on going to Starbucks for your quick breakfast, or Potbelly for lunch. Those little meals quickly add up, just check your bank account.

While it does take time, it is not nearly as much as you might think. I had the same feelings before I started to do it, but then I realized that all I’m really doing extra is packaging the meals up. Think about it this way: if you were going to make chicken breast, quinoa, and broccoli for dinner, the time it takes to make six servings of that meal takes no longer than it does to make one serving. Sure, you’re unpackaging and seasoning a few more, but we’re talking about maybe a few minutes.

Further, once you have done it a couple times, you know what to do to make it go faster the next time. And let’s not forget the time you will save not waiting in line at the restaurant you’ve chosen for whichever meal you haven’t brought with you to work.

To get you started, you may need to spend some extra dollars, but these are purchases that will last for a long time. These include:

  • Good knives

  • Food scale

  • Skillet

  • Storage containers

  • Freezer/Storage bags

  • Meat thermometer (optional but helpful)

  • Insulated lunch box or bag (if no fridge at work)

Once you have those things, it’s time to head to the grocery store. For what foods you should buy, reach out to your LifeStart Wellness dietitian. But we’re going to continue with some tips on how to meal prep like a pro.

First, buying in bulk is always going to save you money. With that being said, frozen goods, or products that freeze well are best to buy, as well as dried goods that do not expire for long periods of time. If you want to maximize your dollar, Costco is a great place to get many of your good meal prep proteins, veggies, and grains.

Next, when you get your groceries and you’re ready to cook, look at your recipes and find out what is going to take the longest. Get that started first. While something is baking in the oven for 45 minutes, you can boil water, or cut up and sauté veggies, as well as get your containers ready. This is also where the repetition comes in handy. You will be able to know where the time saving opportunities come up.

Does meal prep take some extra time and effort to get started? Yes, it definitely does, but the benefits are very measurable. I know that when I have the proper nutrients in my body, I have maximized my workout to its fullest potential. There is no workout that makes up for a bad diet! The best part is you will never have to worry about where you’re going to eat or how much it is going to cost you. You’ve already got it covered. Every day of every week. I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that once you’ve done it for even just a week or two, you will wonder why you weren’t doing it a long time ago!


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