Meal preparation is the key to any successful physique transformation. It is a discipline that must be developed. In this article I am going to present you with my own approach. Feel free to use it exactly as is or modify it for your own use.
I use 5 steps for my meal preparation. The first step is only done as necessary while the other steps are part of a process that repeats over and over. I will be discussing the following meal preparation steps:
- Purchase the appropriate meal preparation containers.
- Analyze past results to create macro and calorie targets.
- Plan the menu for the week
- Create a meal preparation shopping list
- Complete the meal preparation
Purchase the appropriate meal preparation containers
When it comes to meal preparation you need a way to conveniently store and carry what you've prepared. You can go with one of those fancy bags made for this purpose or you can get containers. I personally prefer to get containers. It is far cheaper. This is one of those steps that only need to be completed when containers are required. For me that's about one time a year. I have found that ChefLand Microwavable Food Container with Lid Bento Box, Black, 10-Pack from Amazon are the best containers for me. They are capable of going into the microwave, clean up easily and hold plenty of food. The tops are very secure and do not leak easily.
Analyze past results to create macro and calorie targets
Meal preparation by itself isn't enough to achieve the results you want. You have to couple meal preparation with results analysis. I track things like body fat percentage, scale weight and body part circumference measurements to determine how my plan is going. I use this weekly analysis to make changes to my macro and calorie targets. If I am not losing fat like I want I simply make adjustments. Once I have settled on my macro and calorie targets for the week I can move on to the next step.
Plan the menu for the week
Planning is a key component of meal preparation. Armed with my macro and calorie targets from the previous meal preparation step I can plan my menu for the week. I like to keep it simple. At most I will have two different daily meal plans. I usually stick to one daily meal plan repeated seven times for a week. I look to vary my protein sources. I make sure I am getting the appropriate carbohydrates at the appropriate times. Along with this menu planning comes workout planning as well because I feel what I eat before and after a workout makes a difference
Create a meal preparation shopping list
Once I know what foods I will be eating I create a shopping list (being sure to include the spices I might need). I tend to shop at the same store over and over, so I try to plan my list in an order that will take me straight through the store. I use an iPhone and the built-in Reminders app to create my shopping list. This enables me to check off the items as they are completed. Two other amazing apps for this purpose are Clear and Evernote.
Complete the meal preparation
Once all ingredients have been compiled it is time to cook. I cook up my meals on Sunday and Thursday each week. It is like an assembly line. I am going to describe the process to you using some of the common foods involved. I will cook up a large batch of brown rice. Because my meals on Sunday are for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I calculate how many of my meals involve brown rice and portion that out into the containers. I then take my chicken that has been cooked and portion it out into the containers. I do the same thing with my beef. I then add a healthy portion of vegetables to all containers. I then attach the lids and place the containers into my fridge.
Meal preparation is the key to getting the results you want. Take the time to complete the steps as outlined and you will begin seeing some amazing results. If you have any meal preparation tips that I didn't share please leave them in a comment below.