Most Common Mistakes Series - Lack of planning with food
Ok, so everyone takes the mickey out of us Trainers or gym-goers about eating all of our meals out of tupperware.
It’s not strictly true, but there is something behind the joke.
If you don’t plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll end up either grabbing whatever’s handy (and we all know what the most convenient, easiest foods are, don’t we?!) or you’ll succumb to your cravings and make poor choices.
Knowing ahead of time what you’re going to eat, when, takes a lot of stress out of eating, especially if you’re trying to eat more healthily. It makes shopping easier, meal preparation easier, saves you time, and definitely helps you to eat better.
Taking it one step further and actually making your meals in advance will save you even more time, especially if you batch cook and make a dozen meals instead of just one.
Think about it - if you cook each time you eat, that’s a lot of time each day spent preparing food; but if you make a dozen portions of that meal, it takes about the same amount of time as cooking one meal, but you’ve now saved yourself 11 other cooking sessions. Now all you have to do is reheat something you’ve made already.
Why cook one dinner when you can cook 10 in the same time?!
Meal prep is one of the biggest time-savers you can do and when the food is already there, it’s easier to eat that healthy meal than to give in to temptation and make/buy something less conducive to your goals.
Obviously you want variety and don’t want to be eating chicken and rice 4 times a day for a week, so when you batch cook, maybe make 3 or 4 different meals, making 5-10 portions of each? That way you have a few options to choose from (let’s face it, most people tend to eat the same foods repeatedly anyway - it only seems to become a problem when they’re healthy meals???!!!) and you’re not stuck eating the same meals for days until you cook again.
You also only really HAVE to do this the first time, because once you have half a dozen portions of 3 or 4 different meals, every time you cook again, you add a few portions of yet another meal to the menu.
Give it a couple of weeks and you’ll have a good selection of options to choose from in your freezer.
Don’t want to eat out of tupperware? Don’t!
That’s just to store it. Stick it in a pan or the oven to reheat and serve it up on a plate like any normal meal.
The tupperware is just convenient for taking meals out with you, for lunch etc. I wouldn’t expect anyone to be eating from the tub at home!
Remember when you’re making your meals to dish up in the right quantities. You should know your nutrition targets and can make each meal to suit those.
If you need 35g of protein at each meal and you’re cooking 10 portions, stick 350g of protein in and make sure you divide it equally into 10 servings/containers (these can often look like smaller portions than you expect which highlights how much people tend to underestimate what they eat and have a tendency to serve up and eat larger portions than they need).
Now you have a selection of healthy meals, pre-made, that fit your nutrition targets!
If this doesn’t help you reach your goals then you’re doing it wrong! You almost can’t fail (as long as you’re not snacking like a beast between your allocated meals, but if you are a “snacker” then allocate some calories to snacks and adjust your main meals accordingly).
People often get overwhelmed at the thought of batch cooking, but it’s really no harder than cooking one meal, then boxing it up and sticking it in the freezer.
If you haven’t tried this, and struggle to reach your body composition goals, just try it!
A good idea is to have a set day for doing your batch cooking. Maybe use Sunday afternoons to cook up large batches of 2 or 3 different meals, then you’re done for the week.
Make this a routine - every Sunday, you prepare your meals for the week. You can sit down in advance and decide what meals you’d like, make your shopping list, and get everything done in one hit!
If you have kids, make their meals too - it’s far more preferable that they also eat good, healthy meals rather than quick, less nutritious meals. Just remember to also dish theirs out in the correct portions too - THEY’LL BE DIFFERENT TO YOURS!!! (sorry, it’s a bug bear of mine when people give kids adult-sized portions then wonder why they’re overweight and can’t join it at PE!).
In short, yes - many of us “gym freaks” do eat a lot of meals out of tupperware - but it’s for good reason and you;d benefit from doing it too! So, by all means take the piss, but join us and take the mickey out of yourself too! :)
NOT planning your meals and NOT batch cooking is the mistake that could be holding you back, and the best part is, doing it will save you time, effort and money as well as get you results! There’s literally nothing else that will get you results whilst being less effort than what you’re doing currently!