Yeah I know you've heard this one before. #Yawn
Give me a second here.
Meal prep is MORE than cooking 'meals'.
It's ANYTHING that makes your ability to stay on track during the week. And on your journey to ultimate you should be doing EVERYTHING possible to make your life easy peasy. Prepping snacks is a ridiculously simple way to stay on top of your nutrition game without making meals on meals ahead of time.
Fruits and veggies are always a solid choice buuuuttttt chances are during your work day if you have to wash and cut up your fiber packed snack then it might not happen and you'll grab that candy bar instead because......well.... it’s just plain easier.
I get the struggle. Trust me. I love convenience and simplicity. And when I'm busy AF at work, if it isn't blended in a smoothie or already precut for me, I probably won’t eat it.
To help you nail your snack prep game like (insert sportsballer here...I don't know sports), I'm going to share a few tips and tricks to help make your life easier.
Tip #1: Know Your Options
SO many options! This is where you would have to sit down and make a list of the things you like so you're easily able to plan ahead. It also helps to understand what a 'good' portion of that snack is so you don't go too cray on the calories. Here are 2 tiers of what to choose...
Your best options are always going to be 4 realz food. This would be anything that has lived or grown from the earth with minimal tampering from those pesky scientists. You have a little more wiggle room to go ape shit on a package of strawberries than picking up a hyper palatable bag of chips.
- Fruits - fresh fruit, dried fruit, frozen fruit, it's all good! These are super easy because most of them come naturally packaged. PRO TIP: A whole pound of strawberries only has 151 calories! Fuck yeah!
- Veggies - raw veggies (ones you actually like) like carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, roasted edamame, kale chips, pickles or green smoothies are great here. Toss in a low-calorie dipping sauce for the win!
- Jerky - or other meat snacks. Just keep an eye on the sodium content which can add up super fast.
- Nuts - Mr. Peanut is the man when it comes to snacking. Just keep in mind what a serving is and portion accordingly since nuts are higher in calories and it's easy to get carried away.
- Yogurt - All the yogurt! Yogurt is super healthy as long as it doesn't have a bunch of 'stuff' added to it. Greek yogurt gets bonus points for added protein.
Not our first choice but sometimes we have to work with what we've got whether that's grabbing something from a convenience store or a sweet tooth that's 2 legit 2 quit. These foods tend to be packaged but we DO like the ones that are minimally processed with few ingredients. It's best to avoid the stuff that has been designed by food scientists since it will always leave you craving more.
- Bars - Not all bars are created equal so you'll have to look at the ingredients (as well as the calories). We like Quest, Kind, and RX Bars to name a few.
- Veggie chips - These seem to be everywhere now and we LOVE it! Beet chips, root vegetables, sweet potato, etc. tend to be minimally processed. Make sure to not sit down with the whole bag in front of you.
- Pretzels and Flax Chips - Get the kind that are plain AF and don't eat out of the big bag. Flax and other healthy tortilla chips are a solid option if you're a salty/crunchy kind of human.
- Chocolate - The darker the better and it's best to avoid the stuff with a butt load of added sugar. Sometimes you just gotta have it!
- Frozen stuff - Some ice-cream and frozen yogurt is a good choice and nowadays you can find some GREAT stuff that is lower in calories like HaloTop, Skinny Cow, or Enlightened.
Tip #2: Prep That Shit
Remember, to cut down on mental space and having to choose during the week it's good to get into the habit of snack prep. The less decisions you have to make the better to keep you lean and hot AF. Much of this requires little work and can be done in minutes with a little strategic planning on the weekend or a day that works for you. Here are a few tips to get you started...
- Wash and chop veggies immediately. I rarely have the time to food prep (aka I don't want to) during the week. I make sure to prep as soon as I'm back from shopping since I have to put it away anyways. Chop it up stick it in a bag and it will be ready to roll when you are!
- Choose a variety of fruit. Most fruit is already prepped #winning! However, I find that if I buy a giant bag of apples I get sick of them real quick. One thing that has helped me is having a variety of fruit on hand. One of these, one of those. Yum!
- Don't let your kids choose. They always go for the one with the cartoon on the box which is more often than not a poor choice. Blame the marketers.
- Tupperware bitches. I can't stress enough how important it is to have containers to put all this stuff in. Bodybuilders nailed this one since having it ready and portioned cuts down on mental space.
- In your grocer's freezer section... We love freezer fruit. Once I discovered you can throw it in overnight oats, a yogurt cup or a smoothie it was a game changer. You can also cut up fresh fruit and toss that in the freezer, too. Yass!
These tricks aren’t earth shattering. But they can make a massive impact!
Tip #3: It’s All About Timing!
This is where you don't want to fight your biology and natural tendencies of how you already do things. Personally, I'm not a morning person so chances are if it's not there for me when I wake up, I'm screwed. Which kind of person are you?
More of a night owl?
Set up your snacks and put your lunch into Tupperware the night before. There is a concept from chemistry known as “activation energy.” Simply put, it requires more energy to START a task than it does to keep the ball rolling.
So when you’re preparing for a great day the night before, you can reduce “activation energy” before you go to bed. Put your fruit, yogurt and granola, smoothie in the fridge together so it’s a grab and go. This reduces the friction required to execute your good nutrition habit.
More of Morning Glory?
Then prep yo snacks as you're dancing around your kitchen while the coffee is brewing so you can get to bed earlier later that night. This is the kind of person my husband is and I loathe and love him for it. Because bed = Life.
If you're not a morning person, don't force yourself to wake up early to get it done. You want to choose what will create the 'path of least resistance' for you. It’s all about creating habits that work WITH your lifestyle and not AGAINST it.
Wrapping it up...
While we don't necessarily believe that any food is inherently good or bad, we do believe that making better choices WILL in fact help you live a much happier and healthier life. To help, here's a meme with our top snacking choices:
The tips listed above are just a way to help you simplify your routine in order to make healthy choices and develop better habits. Just remember that regardless of your choices, you ARE an awesome human and we love you always. Keep nailing your nutrition!