Starting out: Meal Planning & Prep
A message from Sam:
RebelHealth’s general philosophical approach to this section has developed over time as a result of continued learning and trial and error. Before you venture out into the process and download the Meal Plan or the Kitchen & Pantry Inventory, know this:
- We believe robust health and wellness is a direct result of what you eat and how you move (physical activity).
- We believe that food is only food when it’s in it’s most natural, unaltered state. In this state, it’s the healthiest and provides the most nutrients. The least man has “messed with” the food, the better it will be.
- Real food typically doesn’t come in a box, bag or container with an ingredient list that rivals Merriam Webster’s recent publication.
- The INGREDIENTS on the label (if the food has a label… fresh produce typically doesn’t have a label – all the better!) are the most important information on the box. The fewer the better. If you know what they all are, great! If there’s only one, perfect! If, however, you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t know what they are and don’t have time to read the list..if it’s me, I prefer not to consume it…”it” being all of those different non-food substances. My body was designed to digest and use the nutrients from the food provided by the land, not what is manufactured in a lab to make what used to be a food last for a year on a shelf.
- We believe that if you’re not prepared, you will either fail or perform at a level below your potential, and that goes for eating as well. Prior to each week, I know my family’s commitments and our “schedule”. I know how many meals need prepared, how many snacks are needed and how often we’ll eat out. This is a major key to meal planning.
- We believe you’ll spend less money up front and have less waste if you use what you have on hand first, and shop for what’s needed for the week – with a plan, not a hodge-podge “let’s have Hamburger Helper” a few nights.
- We believe our health and our performance level in training is a direct result of how we eat – but there’s no way to prove this because we refuse to eat what 80% of America eats on a daily basis. In a nutshell, we are healthier, stronger and faster at our ages than most in our circle of friends. And I’m not speaking arrogantly, but if I list my friends, I can only list about 10% that are at or near my age and can out perform me, or appear healthier. (OK, off soapbox now).
In a nutshell, you have to do this (Inventory, Plan, Shop, Prep… eat healthy 80-90% of the time) because you believe in it – not because someone told you it might work.
You have to have an understanding of the connection between your diet and your health and incidence or lack of disease, and you have to believe it’s a logical connection. Once these things “click” with you, then RebelHealth & CrossFit Rebels are here to help.
Kitchen and Pantry Inventory In RebelHealth 101, we cover this ad nauseum! In a nutshell (because nuts are SOOO healthy!), you can’t plan meals for a week, prep them so they come together quickly and easily, and do it cost effectively if you don’t know what you already have in the kitchen.
Olive oil is expensive. Fresh produce is expensive..not something you want to buy and then throw out because you didn’t know you had it or you kept forgetting to use it. So we “inventory”. Make a list of everything you have in the kitchen, by category. Use the “KPI” or Kitchen & Pantry Inventory to make your list. The structure of this list will transfer beautifully over into meal planning!
This is where no amount of attendance at seminars, lectures, or books can help you! How does your week roll out? I mean, do you know on Sunday night what your week looks like? Work, appointments, kids, sports…CrossFit! Do you coordinate your schedule with your husband’s? Your boyfriends? Your kids? Your job? Do you know how many meals you need to prep for to eat healthy versus grabbing something on the go?…meals for yourself, AND your family!
This is where the Meal Plan comes in. It’s a weekly grid that you can use to identify which meals you need to prep for, timing (e.g. snacks), and reference throughout the week. I keep mine taped inside a kitchen cabinet I go into every morning. A quick glance, and I know the plan for the day.
You create the plan with the use of our schedule for the week and the Kitchen and Pantry Inventory. Plan around what you already have. If you have an abundance of meat or fish stored in your freezer, you’ll plan meals, left over lunches, etc. using what you have, and build our grocery/shopping list off of what you need.
It’s from the Meal Plan Form and the Kitchen & Pantry Inventory that you create your shopping list. If you’re REALLY good, and buy the freshest produce, you can shop one time for the week. Oftentimes, by Thursday, you have to make a quick run for some fresh veggies to finish off the week.
Meal prep can be like a long drive without a radio…but get used to it. Put on a Robb Wolf podcast or your favorite tunes…news radio…whatever, but get used to it. It’s an investment, just like your retirement.
Make sure you have plastic or glass storage containers and ZipLoc bags, a permanent marker and masking tape. Prep and label. Spend the time before your week gets going and not only will it pay off with less headaches related to “what’s for dinner”, but you’ll be healthier, have more energy, and wonder why you didn’t think of this before!