Being prepared is the most important part of ensuring you are consistent with your fitness goals. Most people tend to fall off the wagon when they find themselves in situations where they are hungry, and there is nothing readily available. This is what often leads to less-healthy choices, or convenience foods- laden with sodium, fat, and refined sugars. Don't let that happen to you! I am here to offer tips to ensure to stay prepared and on track :)
1) Create a meal plan
You don't need to run out and hire a nutritionist per se, but take the time to sit down and write a list of the foods you'd like to eat day-to-day. More specifically, list the foods that you know you'd enjoy and also adhere to your fitness goals. In doing this you will be able to make more thought-out choices that will more nutritionally sound than when you are hungry and scrambling at the grocery store.
2) Buy a food scale
It may seem a little anal-retentive, but I do weigh and measure my food year round. If I didn't, I'd probably be eating way too little protein and way too much nut butter! A food scale is essential when practicing portion control. Many packaged foods list their nutritional information based on weight and sometimes measuring cups/spoons can be deceiving. Once you have created a meal plan, you can plan out your portion sizes which will greatly help with your staying consistent.
3) Prepare foods in advance
Some like to prepare their food once per week; I like to cook in bulk twice. Since I typically incorporate fish and a lot of fresh produce in my plan, this works best for me. I calculate approximately how much protein, starch, veggies I will need for 3-4 days and will prepare them all accordingly. I always aim to 'over-guess' so that I am never without.
[caption id="attachment_69028" align="alignnone" width="300"]
Planning and preparing your meals ahead and pre-portioning saves loads of time for a busy week ahead.[/caption]
4) Tools for cooking in bulk
The following are must-have helpful tools for cooking in bulk:
- Barbecue: my favourite! I love cooking a mass-amount of chicken breasts on the barbie. It only takes 13-15 mins (depending on the size of breasts) and always tastes delicious.
- Broiling (oven): this is how I typically prepared my fish. Depending on the fish, you can broil a whole sheet of fish for 20-25 mins.
- Rice cooker: this is extremely helpful and easy for those that love their rice! Buying rice in bulk is cost-effective (as opposed to packaged) and you just put your rice and water in, set it, and forget it! You can multitask making your other food items as your rice cooks :)
- A solid Tupperware collection: a good amount of food containers is essential for bulk cooking. Ensure your containers are microwave-safe and lids are air-tight if storing food items in the freezer.
[caption id="attachment_69027" align="alignnone" width="169"]
Barbecuing your protein and vegetables is one of the quickest (and tasty) ways to prepare your food in bulk.[/caption]
5) Allow yourself to live (a little)!
I am 100% an advocate for the occasional treat. Once you have established a functional, working nutrition regime it's good to reward yourself with a treat meal or some comfort food. I enjoy having a nice meal with friends or family when the opportunity arises to reward my hard work. I either go out for dinner or stay in, allowing myself ONE meal where I am not counting calories or macros- whatever I want! It's planned out so there's no guilt. the very next day I am back it again, returning to my routine :)
These tips I have listed here will definitely assist you in being consistent with your nutritional goals. The more consistent you are with your routine, the quicker you will see a change in what you see in the mirror.