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Monday, March 9, 2015

Meal Prep Fundamentals

Meal prep is a critical component of your nutrition plan. If you aren't prepping meals in advance, you are missing out on the opportunity to make great progress fast.

You need to develop a simple and effective system for meal prep that includes creating your weekly meal list, meal plan, grocery list and prep strategy. Your system has to be tailored to your needs and it has to be simple and effective, - something that you can realistically and easily accomplish.

The basic meal prep system looks like this:

1. make your food list of protein, fat and carbs with all foods in each category that You LIKE.

2. Make your meal list based upon your food list. Pick a protein, fat and carb and make it a meal. Example - chicken, almonds and broccoli = meal 1. Make however many meals that you need for however many days that you are prepping for. Example: I'm eating 6 meals a day and I am prepping for the next 5 days. 6 meals x 5 days = 30 meals.

3. Make your grocery list off of what is required by your meal plan that you just created. Example using the chicken, almonds and broccoli meal - for my grocery list, I need to get 1 bag of chicken breasts, 2 heads or stalks of broccoli and 1 bag of raw almonds. Go through your meal plan and list all required items on your grocery list.

4. Go to your favorite grocery store (Kroger, Publix, Earth Fare or Fresh Market recommended) and buy your groceries. Come home and put everything away.

5. Start prepping meals in sequence by cooking and cutting up items for each meal. Cooking in bulk is recommended. Example of how I do it: in the oven I use baking sheets with tin foil and disposable baking tins to bulk bake my steak, fish, chicken and pork and some vegetables like baby red and sweet potatoes. 

Meanwhile, I will have the crockpot going slow cooking stuff like brown rice.

While all that is going on I will be cooking more stuff on my george foreman grill and in the skillet on the stove top.

6. Put meals in containers such as Tupperware and make them in accordance  with your macronutrient ratio and calorie requirements. If you are not sure about what your calorie requirements and macronutrient ratio are, use this handy guide.

Once you have all of the meals created, put containers in your fridge. Some people even label each meal with the day, meal number and date created. Do what your OCD level dictates.

7. Then you simply have to schedule your meals and workouts for the upcoming week. Follow through by eating your meals and attending all of your workouts. By following this simple, structured program will increase your chances of reaching your fitness and nutrition goals and ultimately your bigger body composition and/or performance goals immensely. Tailor this program to meet your individual needs. Success and progress won't be far behind.

Good luck, stay focused, be committed, go the distance, have patience, do the required work and planning, be safe and most of all-HAVE FUN! 

Nutrition is not an evil thing that is an additional burden. If you make it that way, success will usually elude you. Change your behaviors, modify your lifestyle and make health, nutrition and fitness a scheduled part of your daily routine.

Best of luck! Contact me if you have questions or need help. 

Eric Dempsey
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army Retired
Ranger qualified, Infantry
Afghanistan & Iraq veteran with the 101st Airborne Division
NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist
Masters Degree in Exercise Science
Dempseys Resolution Fitness

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