Inside Sport - - Eat Better -

You may have seen the meal prep phe­nom­e­non tak­ing so­cial me­dia by storm. Rows of con­tain­ers filled with healthy meals line kitchen benches ready for the week ahead. Plan­ning what you eat in ad­vance is a use­ful tool to help you stay on track with your health and fit­ness goals, save money and most im­por­tantly, save time when life gets busy.

But does it mean you have to eat the same old meal of chicken breast, brown rice and broc­coli day af­ter day? Ab­so­lutely not! Meal plan­ning doesn’t mean reg­i­mented, bor­ing meals. It’s sim­ply a way to help keep de­ci­sions to a min­i­mum, which means you’re less likely to rely on take­away or fast food when you’re pressed for time. Here’s how to get started.

Write a plan

As the say­ing goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Start by writ­ing down what you will have for din­ner for the next few days, week or fort­night. Then work out if you can make any of the meals in bulk to freeze for the next week, or if you can cook ex­tra to have for lunch the next day.

Keep it in­ter­est­ing

You don’t have to eat the same thing ev­ery sin­gle day (un­less you want to), but it can help if you have a theme for each night. For ex­am­ple, Mon­day: meat free, Tues­day: fish, Wed­nes­day: mince, Thurs­day: eggs, Fri­day: home­made, healthy piz­zas or burg­ers. Or maybe go with coun­try themes, such as Ital­ian, Mex­i­can and Thai – va­ri­ety is key!

Find a bal­ance

Fo­cus on pre­par­ing meal com­po­nents, rather than a full meal. For ex­am­ple:

Carbs – roasted sweet potato and pump­kin, steamed brown rice or quinoa, cooked pasta;

Pro­tein – shred­ded roast chicken, lean beef strips, grilled salmon fil­lets, boiled eggs;

Veg­eta­bles – chopped salad, steamed veg­eta­bles, canned beans and lentils.

Stock your pantry

It’s amaz­ing what you can throw to­gether at the last minute with what’s in your pantry. Stock up on mi­crowav­able rice, baked beans, canned tuna, dried pasta and pasta sauces for a last-minute healthy meal.

Brooke Long­field Healthy Food Guide’s Ac­cred­ited Prac­tis­ing Di­eti­tian (APD) and Ex­er­cise Phys­i­ol­o­gist, BSc (Nu­tri­tion) (Hons), BAp­pSc (Ex&SpSc)

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