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The importance of food prep

by Personal Trainer Ross Potter

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You’ve heard it should be done time and time again but you still fail to prepare your meals for the coming week and then wonder why you end up running to the fridge to snack or popping out for lunch with work colleagues. From now on, I’d like you to prep meals before your week starts, so that you’re ready and can eat without the fuss.

Food prep is extremely easy but yet is often overcomplicated, with most simply cooking too much, leading to waste and a lack of motivation. There are hundreds of reasons to start food prep ahead of time but the biggest is that it saves time, money and sanity. Obviously it goes without saying some foods are easier to prepare than others which is why it will take you a few attempts to find out what work best for you. I’m hoping that when it becomes second nature it will not only help you, but may also help your family as life becomes much easier. As I mentioned above, different things work for different people, some will make a list, go shopping and prep for the whole week, whereas others may prepare the night before. From working with my clients I’ve been able to put the below list together to help you organise everything accordingly:

1) Before the week starts check your calendar for events, what have you got going on?

2) Look up new recipes or simply your use current favorites to create a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need for recipes chosen.

3) Look in the cupboards and find things you can use up, we’ve all got spices and ingredients lying around that are shouting out to be added to a meal.

4) When you return from doing the food shop, place all the ingredients on your work surface and sort into ‘make now’ and ‘make later’ piles.

5) For fruits and vegetables, I want you to cut and slice them into the portions you’ll need before placing into small tubs or bags in the fridge.

6) Bake, grill or slow cook your meats before placing into separate containers, again in the fridge, remembering to keep all meat separate and stored in individually air locked containers. As a general rule I’d say consume all meat prepared within 3-4 days.

7) Cook rice and pasta and again store in containers and make sure it’s consumed within 3-4 days.

8) Smoothies or breakfast shakes can be made the night before but be aware the contents will separate and if oats are added they will swell up.

And then… label individual items and containers with dry wipe makers or stickers with a ‘use by date’ on for health and safety reasons. If you’re extremely on the ball or suffer from OCD like myself, colour code meals for use throughout the day.

By following the above steps you won’t run out of food mid week and will find yourself with more time, which can be spent with the family of if you’re like me, at the gym. When you do go food shopping (assuming you’re not shopping online) please try and stick to the perimeter of the supermarket because this is where fresh produce can be found, compared to the man-made high fat/sugar foods which are usually found in the middle. Don’t forget - supermarkets are designed in such a way that you’ll visit every aisle, picking up offers and bargains which seem too good to leave and it’s for this reason that, you will only be buying the things on the list you made at the start of the week.



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