You’ve tried dieting, exercise, yoga, green tea, but not a kilo has dropped. So maybe it’s time to try something new? Learn how to use meal prepping, the practice of preparing part or whole meals in advance, to your advantage.
How does this seemingly prosaic activity help in weight loss, you may wonder? Meal prepping involves conscious and deliberate planning of your meals for the entire week (or more or less). It works by preparing you for those awkward hunger pangs and cravings, enabling you to overcome the impulse to go for quicker fast food meals.
3 Easy Steps for Meal Prepping
Buying a week’s worth of groceries every Sunday, or any other designated day, is how you begin your meal prep. Here are some tips for economical and efficient shopping:
- The heart of meal prepping lies in the planning and organisation. Before you go out to shop, make sure you have looked up recipes, counted exact number of meals and persons you are prepping for, and measured portions. Basically, do the math. On paper, preferably.
- Integrate shopping into your fitness routine. Bike to the sabzi mandi every Sunday, or the local weekly haat, and do some weightlifting!
- Buy fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Stock up on the dry groceries, and acquire healthy condiments and accompaniments.
The next step is to wholly or partly prepare your meals. It’s neither necessary nor advisable to prepare full meals in advance. Only do the most time consuming processes in advance. You can chop fruits and salads last minute to preserve their vitamins.
- Wash and dry fruits and vegetables, and divide them into smaller portions according to the day/meal. Peeling and chopping is optional.
- Knead roti dough in advance. You could even stash cooked chapattis in the freezer.
- Make basic tomato and onion masala in advance for curries, sabzi, sambhar, etc.
- Idli/dosa batter can also be prepared and kept for a few days.
- Marinate meats and other proteins. Proteins can be pressure cooked or baked on the day of the meal.
- Bake eggs (yes) in muffin trays.
- Bake or boil vegetable in large batches.
- Make smoothies and shakes, and freeze them in ice cube trays.
- Chutneys and dips can also be frozen.
- Pressure cook dal, and lightly temper when you reheat it.
- Use jars for salads – but don’t shake it up until the last minute.
The last and most crucial step is to effectively preserve your meals till they are ready to be consumed. The most obvious way is to drop them all in your fridge, or better still, the deep freezer.
- In a hot country like ours where power cuts are frequent, it might be prudent to meal prep for smaller periods like Monday to Wednesday, and Thursday to Saturday.
- Invest in a few food-grade jars and zipper bags to store measured portions. Make sure they are airtight and pest proof. Try these transparent ones from ABC shop.
- Preserve safely. You could even ask your grandmothers for pickle recipes, and adapt them to make them healthier.
- Should there be any spoilage, keep a few healthy recipes based on dry ingredients as backup or as a part of your week’s inventory.
Weight loss really couldn’t get simpler than this, so get preppin’ today!