How to Save Time and Meal Prep in Just 5 Minutes
Have you been struggling to stay on track with your health and fitness goals because you are balancing work, life responsibilities, homeschooling, and more? Listen, we get it! After the events of 2020, all of our families have been thrown a massive curveball that we are trying to recover from. As a husband, father and business owner, most of us honestly are looking for REAL ways to get some of our time back! Hence why I believe we shouldn’t be spending multiple hours in the kitchen each week.
So What is Meal Prepping?
For those that don’t know, meal prepping (or meal prep) has become a popularized term that represents individuals preparing their various meals ahead of time that compliment their healthier lifestyles and/or diets. Typically this means taking one day out of the week, typically a weekend day, grocery shopping, and then spending several hours cooking and separating your various food items into different containers so you can easily pull them out of your refrigerator or take them on the road with you for ultimate convenience.
Why Should We Meal Prep?
The main reason individuals that are seeking to achieve a particular health or physique goal perform weekly meal prepping is that it helps drive compliance. While we are performing a particular diet or nutritional protocol, it’s too easy (and tempting) to drive to a local fast food restaurant on your lunch break or randomly snack on items in your home since we don’t have time to cook every separate meal whenever we are hungry. By not preparing your meals ahead of time, this ultimately limits the appropriate amount of calories, macronutrients and/or micronutrients your body needs to perform at optimal levels and improve overall body composition.
After being an avid meal prepper for almost 8 years - several of those years while I was in the middle of competing in various physique and fitness competitions - it’s definitely eye-opening and humbling when you have your first child, especially while starting up a new business and realizing your time is a lot more valuable than what it use to be. I had a set of beliefs that thought we HAD to meal prep to be physically healthy or to have nice waistlines. That just wasn’t the case.
After my wife and I had our daughter, I started looking at ways to save time and the reality was we just couldn’t spend every Sunday cooking and preparing meals for 4-6 hours. We had to find a more simple formula that wouldn’t result in us gaining tons of weight. I eventually found myself purchasing food items that I could consume quickly while I was on the run and with the guidance from my own Nutrition Coach, I started to notice how I was losing weight again and my “Dad-Bod” in the process.
The most common misconception that I see in today’s society is, to avoid becoming bored of eating the same meals over and over again, people will try to develop these complex recipes each week which require us to spend more time in the kitchen and away from what is really important in our busy lives such as our faith, our families or our careers.
If you’re struggling with finding time to meal prep, I encourage you to download our brand new 5 MINUTE MEAL PREP GUIDE here.
Until then, here’s some tips that will give you your time back so you can focus on what is really important...
1. Understand Macronutrients
Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the 3 macronutrients aka the nutritive components of the food that we eat that provide our bodies the energy and the ability to maintain the body’s structure and systems. To best be able to properly manipulate our body composition as well as our daily performance, it’s important we understand what roles each macronutrient plays into our lifestyle goals and health requirements.
You might have heard at one point or another that carbohydrates are a “non-essential” macronutrients, meaning, our body’s don’t require it’s consumption to survive. As this might be a true statement, it can typically lead to misunderstanding. Our body’s may not require this particular macronutrient for survival but it definitely needs it to achieve optimal levels of health and performance as carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source. Also, carbohydrates aid in reducing stress hormone release which may help us sleep better, it improves overall physical performance and recovery, and we’ve seen the benefits carbohydrates have on thyroid health.*
2. Pick Hot ‘n Ready, Microwavable or Fresh Options
Several years ago, there was this misconception being spread that packaged foods shouldn’t be consumed potentially due to particular preservatives within those packaged foods that have a negative effect on our health. Similarly, there was information being spread that microwavable foods should be avoided as well due to its elimination of nutrients during elevated heat levels. As of the writing of this article, information is still widely mixed on these two subject matters depending upon who you speak with. Research listed from the Publication of Medicine suggests these statements to be accurate, however, when speaking to Food Manufacturers, this information may be misleading since particular preservatives have been seen as having limiting effects on our health.
What we do know for certain is fresh is always best. This is why having a wide variety of whole/plant-based foods are best such as vegetables, fruits, potatoes, fish, etc. Although, great alternatives to this to save time can be choosing hot and ready meals at your local deli such as rotisserie chickens, potatoes and other sides and buying them in bulk. Then, once you get home, simply separate everything out into different meal containers. Also, if necessary, picking up some microwavable options to keep your life stress-free can be a beneficial decision such as microwavable rice, steamables, and frozen meals.
3. Simple Meals Are Best
If you’re the type of individual that gets bored of eating the same meals every day, simply change up the seasonings, toppings, and/or condiments you use to flavor your meals. As mentioned previously, you don’t have to stress yourself out by coming up with highly complexing recipes!
My go-to quick meals typically consist of choosing 1 protein source, 1 carb source and 1 vegetable source while adding in a random sauce I’m craving that day. For example, it takes only a few minutes to cook some ground beef or turkey in a pan or skillet, throw in some microwavable rice or Bird’s Eye steamable, top it off with some organic spring mix and BOOM, you’re done and moving along. Now, for my crazy on the road days, I’ll typically buy a frozen meal I see at the supermarket, heat it up for 5 minutes and I’m on my way again. Point is, keep it simple!
4. Portion Your Plates Properly
This is where things get a bit more tricky depending upon what your health needs are as well as the goals you’re trying to achieve. Some individuals will need more vegetables while some may need more fats. The great news is that everything can be adjusted by simply portioning out your macronutrients on your plate. For more information on how to portion out your meals by each macronutrient, download our free 5 Minute Meal Guide.
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be strenuous or time consuming. As nice of an idea it is to be able to beautifully prepare each meal for each day, in the times we are currently living in, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult so adjustments must be made if we hope to keep our health a priority. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and we hope to have you join our fit parent community.
About the Author: Taylor Rodriguez
"Coach Taz" aka Taylor Rodriguez is the owner and head coach of Taz Fitness & Nutrition. He is a Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach located in Deltona, FL that coaches individuals online and in person. Taylor was a former partying pro wrestler turned fitness enthusiast after the economic downturn of 2008-2010. After losing almost 70 lbs, his new passion is to help struggling individuals find new confidence within themselves to achieve any goal that they see possible. To begin coaching with Taylor or to request a free consultation, contact us today.
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