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There are a few non-sexy, non-negotiables the super-vast-majority of people who create and keep a fit, strong, healthy body adhere to.
Meal Prep is one such example. Now take it from this little non kitchen queen. I totally understand there are limitless things more fun than kitchen time. However I’ve also admitted that a little meal prep in advance is more than worth the time and energy invested.
In todays show:
4 Ways To Make Meal Prep Easier.
One: Temptation Bundling.
This is the process of taking a necessary yet perhaps not so exciting habit you want to commit to (like meal prep or exercise) and bundling it with a habit you find very easy to keep. (credit to Katherine Milkman who coined the term).
So perhaps you’ve struggled in the past to set aside a few hours on the weekend for meal prep?
How about if you decide that meal prep time is the time – The Only Time – you catch up on your favourite podcasts? Or audio books?
It’ll turn a tedious chore into something you might almost look forward to.
Time Saver Tactic: If you feel guilty for indulging in your fav podcast or audio book habit then this is one of the only times multi-tasking is actually an efficient and effective use of your time. Additionally, I like to relegate meal prep and podcast listening to that time of the day when I’m a little tired and least efficient. It’d be a waste of prime thinking or prime discipline time however it’s a great way to utilize that time when your daily discipline quota is running a little low.
Two: Complex Equivalent.
A complex equivalent is when you make something mean something else. It does not even need to be 100% true and factual. It just needs to be effective. I guess it’s a mind game you play with yourself.
So for example to use pleasure as a motivation perhaps:
=> Preparing 5 meals of vegan curry on mass means I eat the best possible fuel for my body Sunday – Thursday and get to enjoy the subsequent results so far as body composition and energy.
Time Saver Tactic: You don’t have to start with a mass of fresh veg each week. I’ve actually (now!) come to find the shopping, washing, chopping process relatively calming… however if I wanted to make my curry in 1/4 of the time I’d swap out my fresh veg for 2-3 bags of frozen fibrous friends such as: a green pea, green bean and carrot mix, a cauli and broccoli mix and perhaps some brussels.
To use pain as a motivation perhaps:
=> Skipping food prep Sunday means I’m going to be much more tempted by the less ideal meal after a long day. Potentially it also means my goal is not the priority I claim it to be. In fact it could mean – with each opportunity for weekend prep I miss – that I eat away a little at the reputation I have with myself as someone who keeps my commitments to myself.
Another way to look at it is: What do the things you’re choosing to do instead of meal prep mean so far as your priorities?
Do your current choices mean Social Media or Netflix are more important than starting the week with a fridge and freezer full of delicious, nutritious meals?
Could a different choice this week mean you are now a person who will do whatever it takes to achieve your body gain goal?
Three: Invert Borrowing From Tomorrow.
Borrowing from tomorrow is a clever yet detrimental tactic we use to cheat ourselves out of results. I discuss it in show #043.
The non effective way to borrow from tomorrow is to reason yourself out of a beneficial action today by promising you’ll make up for it tomorrow. No time for making salads on mass today? That’s cool because tomorrow you’ll make such perfect salads that today’s easy cheese sandwich is fine… surely?
It’s the classic: “I’ll eat half the cashews tomorrow!” Or “I’ll do double the cardio tomorrow!” Except how often do you come through for you tomorrow?
To invert borrowing from tomorrow is to do extra today. To get ahead of yourself in a good way.
I love to start the week knowing my meals are sorted. It helps me feel in control. In a world where there is plenty you have zero control over why not set yourself up to win in the food game?
Some borrowing from tomorrow examples:
=> Making a weeks worth of your fav dressings or dips for your salads on Sunday. I’ll link to my dairy free pesto and protein pimped hummus in the show notes.
=> Batching the weeks worth of smoothies in zip lock bags and freezing them ready to go so you’ve got zero excuses before an early am start.
Time Saver Tactic: Although fresh might be best… done always beats best! The quicker smoothie option involves frozen kale, spinach and berries. I’ll also add a 1/2 teaspoon of spirulina, perhaps a tablespoon of hemp or chia seeds and a scoop of vegan protein powder. Just add liquid in the morning and it’s ready faster than you can say: “What a relief I don’t have to kid myself that I’ll skip breakie tomorrow to make up for the 2 slices of banana bread I devoured today!”
Dependant on your personality you may respond better to being held accountable to yourself or to someone else.
Self accountability might take the form of the weekly non negotiable actions you tick off as you complete them. In doing so you’re also tracking your progress and a growing pile of reference points for success. Focusing on a habit enforces it. Perhaps you even reward yourself for each week you follow the plan.
Being held accountable by someone else might mean you find a meal prep buddy. Someone else who also wants to create the habit of making meal prep happen each week. Perhaps you sms each other a photo of your completed prep each week?
Time Saver Tactic: I have a friend in a mothers group where they each prepare extra meals on mass and swap their excess. This does not appeal to me as I’m way too fussy and I might be hard pressed to find someone else local who’s committed to HUGE high protein, low carb, primarily one ingredient vegan meals! However a workable variation might be someone prepares the dips and dressings and someone else prepares the main meals? Or even one person sorts meals for Sunday – Tuesday and the other sorts for Wednesday – Friday?
The surprise bonus benefit of getting into a meal prep routine is that you actually spend LESS time thinking about food.
Yes, initially you have to work out a few meals that work for you to make on mass. However that’s a once off investment in advance that saves you food thinking time week after week after week.
It saves you from risking that after work trip to the supermarket where you’ll have to resist those TimTams and chocolate bars on special as you hunt down something quick for dinner.
It prevents you from getting super-over-crazy-hungry and mindlessly munching away at high caloric density snack food to tide you over as you prepare dinner from scratch.
It makes you less inclined to accept the impromptu pub dinner or takeaway invitation that you know is not aligned with your goal… however it just sounds so easy.
To get actionable today, let’s keep it simple: What is ONE of the regular meals you eat and enjoy that would be brilliant to make on mass?
If you liked 4 Ways To Make Meal Prep Easier, you’ll also like: Turn 3 Mass Cook-ups into 9 Different Meals.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.