Meal prep and meal planning may not be what you think …
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What does meal prep and planning MEAN?
We often think of meal prep as what’s portrayed by “influencers” on Instagram with their beautifully portioned meals all laid out in Tupperware.
Then, they’re like “meal prep doesn’t need to be hard or time consuming! I put this together in 5 quick hours on Sunday and now I’m set for the week!”
Ummm, that’s gonna be a no for me ?♂️
For some people, this can work. Carefully portioned and organized meals for the week can certainly make things easier. BUT, it’s absolutely not for everyone.
Similarly, we often hear the same message about meal planning.
Enter all of your meals ahead of time and then just stick to the script! It’s so easy!
That’s also gonna be a no for me ?♂️
Once again, it can work for some people but our lives and schedules are often unpredictable and it can be frustrating when you have to throw an entire plan out the window.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, the first thing to understand is that meal prep and meal planning will look different for everyone!
Remove the notion of a “right way” to do it.
This is why the fitness industry is so frustrating because there’s the perpetuation of universal application to many areas of training and nutrition that are very personal and context dependent.
I’ll give you a practical example … meal prep for me is making more than I need to eat for dinner and having some protein leftover for the next day. If I am roasting veggies, I’ll have leftovers there, too, but most of the time I have frozen microwavable veggies that are ready in 4 minutes.
Meal planning for me looks like similar meal structure each day but allowing for variety to appease my neurotype 2A nature.
Easy swaps for protein and carbs make it feel like I’m not eating the same thing each day.
But here’s another thing … when I’m cutting (like I am now) … I do eat a lot of the same things each day.
I’m aware of my 2A tendencies but I also have a goal and less choices means less mental energy being drained.
Meal prep and planning should compliment your schedule and lifestyle
If the thought of bulk cooking for 3 hours on a Sunday gives you anxiety … don’t do it!
If entering every single meal ahead of time adds stress to your life … don’t do it!
There are plenty of ways to have a PLAN that suits YOU without following what someone else told you is the “right” solution.
Having said all that … having some kind of a plan will allow you to use less mental resources on your food choices.
Another practical example is my gf, Mel. She is a snacker, so her planning includes keeping snacks around the house that she enjoys.
She doesn’t like to go long periods of time without eating so she’ll keep simple snack options on deck … built bars, rice cakes, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, dark chocolate, cereal, etc.
It’s not a free for all. She has a plan that works for her and it fits her schedule and personality.
One of the things we often do with clients is eliminate the idea that they have to eat a certain way or on a certain schedule or based on something they heard from a “guru.”
It’s liberating to find the way that works best for you and actually accommodates your schedule, rather than complicates it.
I hope so!