If you follow me on instagram you will know that I am all about packing my own lunches and prepping my meals and snacks for the week on a Sunday so they are all done and dusted and I can just lift them out of the fridge at 6am before hitting the gym. I had always done this but since starting Kayla Itsines’ BBG programme I have been properly dedicated to the cause. I will post more about BBG soon but I’m now on week 14 of Kayla’s guides and love them. If you put in the work you can definitely see results, plus the BBG community is great, very supportive!
First of all, why is meal prep important? Well, ever heard the expression “abs are made in the kitchen”? It is true. You can work out and do all the crunches you want but if you aren’t getting your nutrition right – I definitely wasn’t before – then you’re just going to get frustrated – I did! I’m also willing to bet that very few of you have a full service kitchen at work so taking your food with you is pretty important. Not to mention that it will save you a fortune and buying processed/”ready meal” food is going to be full of hidden, abs destroying ingredients. It’s not just lunch either, offices are hot beds of unhealthy snacks so you’re going to need your own snacks to both look forward to throughout the day and help you avoid the biscuits, chocolate and sweets! So these are my top tips for meal prepping that I have learned whilst doing BBG.
1. Pick a guide and stick to it. I don’t know about you but I find all the conflicting “facts” about eating healthily pretty confusing. Carbs being good or bad would be the main one. Until I discovered Kayla I had started to see carbs as the enemy, now I eat carbs with pretty much every meal, I’ve lost body fat, including the most stubborn areas (argh hips) and those abs are starting to threaten to make an appearance, yay. So my point here is, find one guide/trainer that you like and follow their advice, give your body a chance to get used to a regime rather than ping ponging between starvation diets (I could never do this), juice cleanses, carb free, high protein etc etc.
2. Experiment with different recipes from your chosen guide. I bought Kayla’s recipe planner which along with the education in her guides, her blogs etc has given me a good range of meals to try. Some have been more enjoyable than others and some are better to prep than others so these are the ones I eat regularly (Kayla’s Waldorf Salad, tex mex bowl, quinoa salad, smoked salmon on rye with avocado, egg white and avo sandwich)
3. Make it easy on yourself. I eat very similar “Kayla lunches” for a whole week because I’m not going to spend hours of my weekend making loads of different lunches so I will pick the lunch I fancy and tweak it a bit for a bit of difference e.g. change the veg in the dish from cucumber to pepper or change the protein. I also change my snacks so that even if my lunch is very similar my food for the day, in general, is different.
4. Get the right equipment. It’s going to be pretty tricky to tote your lunch to the office without any containers! It will also make your life easier if you have enough to put all your lunches together in advance rather than cleaning a tub every night to refill for the next day. Treat yourself to a weeks supply of lunch boxes/containers in some cheery colours and this will take even more pressure off. I like the sistema ones, they are good quality and have loads of different shapes and purposes from salad boxes with dividers (2 of these above) and dressing pots to simple sandwich boxes (pink box at top of pic).
5. Think ahead. If you know what your work week is going to look like in terms of in the office/travelling/meetings etc then you know what kind of meals to prep. If I know I am going to be driving/getting the trains to meetings then I will prep a sandwich/wrap which is much easier to carry around than a lunch box. I will also then take a carrot or some fruit that is easy to transport and snack on on the go.
6. The prep part of prep. So you know what plan you’re following, what meals you like, you’ve got your lunch boxes now what? Shop and cook. Write yourself a list of ingredients you will need e.g.
Reduced fat feta
Chicken for grilling
Fat free yoghurt (no added sugar)
The above list would be my lunch and snack list for a week and I would have all this in the house for Sunday night which then goes to…
Cook (and chop). On Sundays I will cook up enough quinoa for the week (I use half a cup of cooked quinoa per lunch) and probably bake some sweet potatoes too. A note on the “cups” measurement, when it comes to easily measuring portions, I find the American method a lot easier than having to get scales out. I then chop up the veg, make any dressings I will need etc and once the quinoa has cooled I will box everything up and put it back in the fridge ready to grab each morning.
I hope this all helps, I’m going to do another post soon on how to cook quinoa perfectly every time, it can be a bit of a tricky grain to perfect and another on the easiest way to prep sweet potatoes for lunches too!