The biggest barrier to reaching your fitness goals isn’t whether you lift heavier. It’s the food you eat to fuel your body.
How well and how often you eat can make or break even the most disciplined training regimen. When you rush through your day without planning your meals, then you’re most likely to make bad choices.
To make the better choices and to fuel your workouts, you need to make meal prep as important as lifting in your training routine.
6 Meal Prep Tips for the Busy Athlete
- Schedule your meal prep. Without scheduling meal prep, you’ll just be trying to “fit it in”. You’re much more likely to be successful at it, if you schedule the time. Set aside about 2 hours during the week that is only for food prep. Just as you have a dedicated class schedule for your workouts, create a schedule for meal prep.
- Meal plan for the entire week. Meal planning replaces poor habits – such as eating fast food or take out – with smarter habits. You’ll build habits with positive nutrition choices and a stronger, more resilient body. Plan all three meals (yes, even breakfast!) plus snacks. The fewer choices you have to make at mealtime, the better choices you will make.
- Follow it up with a grocery list (& stick with it). It seems like a no brainer but making a grocery list will make the process easier for getting organized to make for successful meal planning.
- Invest in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. The return you get from the $20-$30 it costs to buy a slow cooker will be one of the best investments you make for your health. Most recipes are easy to find online, take about 20-25 minutes to prepare, and cook nutritious meal for any diet. You can leave the slow cooker on while you’re at work and come home to a delicious meal.
- Prepare extra portions for leftovers. Cooking in bulk or with a slow cooker gives you enough for several more meals. Those are meals that you can pack for lunch or heat up for dinner.
- Prepare snack bags. If you like to snack during the day, preparing Grab Bags in advance will help you make good snacking choices. Chop fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, or broccoli and store them in Ziploc bags. Grab them when you’re on-the-go or headed to work. Not only is it a healthy snack, it’s an easy way to add more servings of vegetables.
Start simple. Try just one of these tips today to improve your nutrition and your training.