This isn’t a diet - it’s a lifestyle. You are aiming to make changes that are sustainable and you can foresee doing for the years to come.
‘Optimal’ isn’t always best for you and your lifestyle. If it's impractical and you can’t do it - it wont work. Work around your lifestyle so that you can identify opportunities and seize them in order to yield results. One of the most useful methods is to look at the days ahead, identify any potential problems that may arise and then, along with the help of your coach find a solution.
Food prep is essentially the art of thinking ahead.
Look at the days/week ahead and observe your routine. Seek opportunities, identify potential problems and find solutions so that you are never caught off guard!
Here are a few basic ones to start with:
BUILDING A BALANCED MEAL
Think of your diet on a meal to meal basis. Your coach will provide you with a portion guideline. In order to construct a meal, first, think ahead.
- Consider how much time you have to prepare, cook and wash up.
- Where will you be eating the meal? You may have to transport or not be able to heat the food.
- How many portions do you need to cook? Could you cook extra and use some for a following day?
- Think about the protein and carb sources as they are typically the ingredients that will take the longest to cook.
- Vegetables will often take the least amount of time to cook, though often require prep with chopping. This can often be done as protein/carbs are cooking, or beforehand for those with less experience with knife skills.
Once this is done, establish your ingredients as they will be subject to cooking times etc.
- What source of protein will you choose in your specified portion?
- Add a matching vegetable or group of vegetables in the specified portions.
- Then think about a matching carbohydrate source in its specified portion.
- Finish by thinking about the fat source. Perhaps its already included in your protein source or you an oil you may cook in.
PLAN YOUR SHOP
If you head into the supermarket and buy food as and when you feel like it, two things are likely to happen:
1. You will spend more
2. You will increase your number of trips to the supermarket.
If you take a bit of time, to think what you need. Write it down, you can make that time back by flying through the aisles, grabbing the right amounts of food and getting out! Most supermarkets have online shopping which is a great tool for planning.
Try get a wide range of sources, with some that you can prep quickly and others that you might prefer to take a bit more time with. This will give you more options.
LEARN BASIC KNIFE SKILLS
The majority of time and effort spent cooking is chopping ingredients. Watch any chef and they can turn anything into fine slices within seconds - We were going to make a video going through knife skills - however, there are professional chefs that are far more qualified to do the job MUCH better.
LEARN OTHER COOKING FUNDAMENTALS
- Boiling - Eggs, Rice, Potatoes
- Roasting - Meat, Fish,Vegetables
- Frying - Meat, Fish, Vegetables
- Steaming - Vegetables
It may start off as a bit of trial and error, but follow recipes and get used to preparing your favourite food sources/meals. After a while it will become second nature.
We recommend that you come up with a few 'signature dishes' - if you are struggling, ask your coach for solutions.
Strong food doesn't have to be bland. Think of adding the following ingredients to add extra flavour to your meals with little to no extra additional calories/nutrition.
COOKING/PREPARING IN BULK
Cook/prepare as if you were feeding a family to cover your bases for the next few days. Cooking in bulk takes a fraction more time in the short term and save time in the long run! Yes, you have to buy more food, but once it's portioned off and put into tuppaware, that's money you will save by not paying someone else to prepare it.
Food costs money and in some cases, it can go bad pretty quick. Don't waste it. Money aside, ruined food is ruined nutritional intake. Good food options frozen are going to be better than good food options spoilt and eating bad food options as an alternative.
A few tips when freezing food
- Portion the food before freezing.
- Allow foods to cool before freezing.
- Wrap/seal food before freezing to reduce freezer burn.