The Beginner's Guide to Meal Prep for Weight Loss
Are you looking for a little bit of weight loss motivation? We’re here to help. One way to get excited about the whole process is by learning how to meal prep for weight loss. If you like to cook, then you’ll probably be a natural at meal prep. If not, we’ll show you that it doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
Weight loss motivation through meal prep
Sometimes, if you want to dive headfirst into a new lifestyle, having a project that keeps you focused can make all the difference. For some of us, the project that keeps us going is meal prep. When it comes to losing weight, having tasty and ready-to-eat meals on hand can make all the difference, whether that means setting aside a few hours to meal prep on a Sunday, or simply making a big batch of your favorite dinner and packing up the leftovers for lunch at work.
Imagine it – you’re on your weight loss journey, and you’re desperately hungry. You decide to grab a burger at lunch that leaves you feeling sluggish and bloated. Chances are, if you'd have prepared a wholesome veggie bowl or a bean burrito with some salsa on the side, you wouldn't have ordered the burger and wouldn't have derailed your day.
That's not to say you shouldn't ever have a burger – indulging is just fine in moderation! It's more a matter of making better choices to keep from overindulging on the regular. By spending just a little bit of time preparing ahead, you’ll have a much easier time staying on track. We often reach for fast food simply because it’s convenient, so by making healthy food that’s already good to go, we’ll remove some of the temptations that can veer us off course on our healthier lifestyle.
Meal prep for weight loss: Our top tips
Just because you’re starting to meal prep doesn’t mean that you need to go full force with meal prepping every single thing you eat – doing so may produce the opposite effect and cause you to burn out. Instead, go easy on yourself! If you only want to meal prep just a couple of your lunches, that’s also completely ok. The main thing is that you start thinking about what you’re going to eat, rather than just winging it.
Without further ado, check out some of our three top tips for meal prep for weight loss:
Frozen vegetables FTW!
There’s a misconception that frozen vegetables are somehow less healthy or less delicious than fresh ones. In reality, it’s quite the opposite – frozen veggies and fruit get harvested at the height of freshness before being flash frozen, packaged, and shipped across the country. Because they're frozen at their prime, the vegetables retain much of their nutritional value and health benefits.
Frozen vegetables are excellent because they require little to no prep. All you have to do is add them directly to your stir-fry, heat them in the microwave or pour them into soups and you’re good to go. When we meal prep for weight loss, we like to add frozen vegetables to our quinoa or brown rice. Just add them in with a splash of water, and they’ll cook up right with the grains. They may come out a little soft, but they’ll give your food more volume so that you will feel fuller.
Speaking of frozen vegetables and cooking, can we just take a moment to reflect on how perfect whole grains are for weight loss? There are a seemingly endless number of food combinations that can come from just a big pot of brown rice. After making several servings at once, you could divide the brown rice (or other grains) into four to five servings and top them with any number of different vegetables, beans or proteins (plant-based or meat).
If you’re vegetarian, you can get all the essential amino acids you need in a meal from beans and brown rice. And, if you’re planning your lunches for the coming week ahead, divide a can of beans among your already-separated brown rice servings – then season and refrigerate. Alongside your beans and rice, pack some tomato and avocado if you’re taking your meal on the road. Once you’re at work (or wherever you are), you can then reheat the beans and rice and top them with sliced avocado and tomato for a filling, healthy and delicious meal!
Elevate your snack game
For some folks, grazing throughout the day is what keeps them from reaching their weight loss goals. The good news is that you don’t have to stop snacking altogether – you just have to change what you’re snacking on and eat mindfully.
Homemade popcorn is one good example – check out our recipe in the 8fit Pro recipe book! Popcorn is great because you can easily bag and take it with you as a snack for when the munchies strike in the afternoon. It’s also an excellent source of fiber and is low in calories as long as you don’t go overboard with toppings.
Another hack to use when meal prepping for weight loss is to always have boiled eggs on hand in the fridge. If you have a big pot, you can boil an entire carton of eggs to last you the whole week. Keep them in their shells inside your fridge, then pack the eggs alongside some fruit or nuts to snack on when you're on the go. They're a great source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Best foods for weight loss
Some of the best foods for weight loss that are also perfect to add to your meal prep regimen include:
Quinoa and other whole grains
Potatoes (sweet and regular)
As always, it’s essential to make sure you eat these foods in moderation. Be sure to watch out for pre-packaged sauces and other processed toppings – they're often high in calories or sugar and can derail your efforts!
Have fun experimenting with meal prepping and while you're at it, check out the recipes in your 8fit app for meal-prep meals and snacks that are perfect for your weight loss journey.