As an athlete you may be feeling a bit of overwhelm as schedules are updated, new season start dates are announced, and training is resumed. After a long break, it can feel good to get back into the swing of things, but you might also be feeling busier than you have in months. When we get busy, it is often our nutrition that begins to slip first. But for athletes, nutrition plays an integral part in our performance, so we must prioritize it. One way to do this: meal prep.
Planning meals and snacks in advance can help you
- save time when grocery shopping
- have meals readily available
- reduce food waste by buying only what you need and will use
- save money that might have been spent on take out or convenience foods
- have more awareness about how you are fueling your body
Now that you know the importance of meal prepping, let’s discuss how to make a meal plan.
How to make a meal plan
- Consider all your meals and snacks and set aside time to plan what you would like to eat for each.
- Think about your schedule and how often you need to eat on each given day.
- Gather recipes and ideas to include in your meal plan, keeping a record of your favourites that you can reuse.
- Pick recipes that have overlapping ingredients to make for quicker and easier grocery shopping.
- Choose recipes that could use up ingredients you already have at home, ingredients that are in season, or ingredients that are on special to lower the cost of your meal plan.
- For larger meals try to make a recipe where half your plate is vegetables or fruits and half protein foods and whole grain foods.
- Prep basic ingredients, like pre-chopping vegetables, to save time in preparing future meals.
Meal prep hacks
Cook once and eat twice (at least): Be creative with leftovers - tacos one day can turn into taco salad the next day and burrito rice bowls the next.
Use your freezer space: If you don’t like to eat the same meal every day, having meals in the freezer from previous batches of meal preps is the best.
Use containers: Separate each meal into its own container, so that you can just grab and go.
Become a fan of one-pot meals: Meals made in one pot or baked in one dish are quick and easy to make with even quicker cleanup time.
Now that you have these meal prep tips, you are well-prepared to ensure your nutrition is always in check.