We all know that meal planning and prepping is not only an efficient way to stick to a healthy diet plan, but that it can also take your fitness game to a whole new level and allow you to reach your physique, strength, and weight goals faster.
In essence, you should be meal prepping regularly no matter if you’re a gym addict or just a regular Joe (or Jane) looking to get healthy and achieve a toned physique.
However, many people dread meal planning as something time-consuming and expensive, when in reality meal preparation will actually save you precious time during the week, ensure optimal macronutrient intake, and help you stick to a healthy diet on daily basis.
With that in mind, here are the 10 meal planning mistakes you shouldn’t be making if you want to step up your fitness game and reach your goals.
Not planning ahead
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one trying to wrap your head around the meal prep game, and you’re certainly not the only one who failed your first prep.
The truth is, meal planning and preparation takes some getting used to, but the rewards will definitely be worth the effort.
A common mistake beginners make is not planning ahead, trying to squeeze the shopping and preparation in a single afternoon.
If you want your prep to be successful, you need to plan your budget, schedule your grocery hauls, and set aside several hours during the weekend to prepare everything for the following week.
Indulging in the wrong recipes
If you’re a beginner, pinpointing your exact macro and calorie requirements is difficult enough without having to source all your recipes to correspond with your fitness goals.
Meal preparation can be quite confusing for beginners, and you can easily get your macros all wrong or even pick the recipes that aren’t going to get you the desired results.
This is why it’s important that every meal you prep in advance follows your macronutrient requirements.
Sometimes you won’t be able to cook an endurance athlete’s favourite meal simply because you’re targeting muscle growth, or trying to lose excess fat, and that’s okay.
Remember that meal prep exists in order to make your life easier and get you results, so give it your best to find recipes that will help you reach your goals.
Not having realistic expectations
Many people make the inadvertent mistake of biting off much more than they can chew, meaning that you need to have realistic expectations when it comes to your meal prep schedule rather than trying to become a gourmet chef overnight.
Setting up an overly ambitious cooking schedule will only leave you frustrated and with an empty belly.
You need a plan that’s not overly complicated or demanding – a meal prep schedule you can actually work into your hectic weekly routine.
Failing to keep a stocked pantry
Everyone is guilty of this, even professional athletes: sometimes the pantry winds up empty before you even had the chance to realise what day of the week it is.
Don’t worry, such mistakes are completely normal in the modern, hectic world.
However, it does serve as a reminder to check your pantry regularly and try to keep it topped off on a daily basis.
Simply getting some extra groceries on your way to work should do the trick, but don’t forget to devote one weekend afternoon when you’re going to buy the bulk of your groceries.
Not knowing what the heck you’re doing
Like I’ve mentioned before, meal prep is not exactly easy when you’re just starting out, and it does require some trial and error before you get it right.
Especially when you have to combine all your calories and macronutrients into a somewhat tasty whole you will actually want to eat instead of reaching for unhealthy substitutes.
Luckily, there are plenty of delicious healthy meal plans the pros in the health and fitness industry regularly use to reach their goals.
If you’re unsure where to start, you can always have a professional meal plan made for your specific needs.
You can then make some truly delicious meals according to that plan that will inspire you to pursue your fitness dreams.
Thinking you can remember every recipe
You’re not Sherlock, okay. Unless you have mastered the art of storing information in your Mind Palace and retrieving it whenever the occasion calls for it, you’re going to need to create your personal cookbook.
Instead of thinking “oh, this is easy enough, I’m bound to remember it”, think more along the lines of “hmm, mum always told me to write stuff down”. And mum was right. Write it down.
Not using the leftovers
It’s only common sense that your dog should get to enjoy the delicious leftovers. But if you don’t have a canine companion, there is no reason why your leftovers should go to waste.
Simply combine them into a new meal or top off your existing meals with some older ingredients. Once you mix it all together, you won’t be able to taste the difference.
Not prepping in advance
This might seem like a no-brainer, but meal prep is supposed to be done well in advance, not just the day before.
Think about it, why spend an hour every night after work prepping your meals for the day ahead, when you can spend three or four hours over the weekend prepping meals for the entire week?
Trying out too many new recipes
When it comes to healthy eating, consistency is vital.
If you’re trying out new recipes all the time, not taking the time to master prepping your basic meals, you are probably going to give it up altogether at some point.
The key is to keep it efficient and effective, so learn to walk before you try to run.
Betting everything on plan A
Sometimes you simply won’t be able to make your favourite recipes, whether it’s because you got home late or work simply piled up.
You need a contingency plan. In order to be able to whip up something healthy you can take to work the next day without spending an hour in the kitchen, you want to identify your healthy back pocket recipes.
This should be something that requires minimal time and effort, boasting common ingredients you always have at hand.
Meal planning and preparation is one of the healthiest habits any active, or sedentary, individual should introduce into their weekly routine in order to boost their daily performance, and safeguard their overall well-being.
With these common mistakes out of the way, you will have a fun and rewarding time planning your perfect diet plan and prepping delicious meals for the upcoming week.
Author: Peter Minkoff
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