Hey Angels and Alphas,
A well-balanced meal that includes lean protein, slow-digesting carbohydrates and some fat (like avocado or olive oil) will give you long lasting energy without the crash that can come after eating high-sugar, low-fiber foods that don’t keep you feeling full for very long.
This is why it’s recommended to prep at least one meal each day with lean meat and veggies to ensure you always have something healthy on hand to eat when hunger strikes. Below, let’s explore the elements of your meal prep and answer the question – exactly what should the meal you’re prepping look like?
Elements of the Meal Prep
1. Protein, or your lean meat, is the centerpiece of any meal prep. You want to ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet and it’s also what will keep you full for the longest period of time.
2. Vegetables – You can never have too many veggies, so make sure you include some kind of leafy green or vegetable with each meal prep.
3. Slow-Digesting Carbohydrates – In order to sustain energy throughout the day, it is important to include some type of slow-digesting carbohydrates with each meal prep, such as whole grain pasta, brown rice or quinoa, or even sweet potatoes!
Veggies should be included in your meal prep because they are high in fiber, which will help you feel full and satisfied for hours. Veggies also provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and water to keep you feeling hydrated and energized throughout the day. Plus, vegetables are low calorie so they won’t ruin your daily calorie count.
Vegetables like spinach, kale, green beans and broccoli can be found at most grocery stores year round or could easily be grown in your own garden making them even cheaper! When cooking your veggies make sure to steam, boil, or microwave them rather than frying them as this will leave less fat and calories in the dish.
Carbohydrates are important when it comes to providing energy all day long. You want a slow-digesting carbohydrate that provides lasting energy instead of just causing spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and barley would be great additions to any meal preps while potatoes would not work as well since they spike blood sugar quickly.
Potatoes do contain carbs but they would not be sufficient enough on their own to make up an entire meal preps worth of carbohydrates. Other options for the carbohydrates portion of your meal prep would be oatmeal, steel cut oatmeal, oat groats, white/brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes, all of which can then serve as the base for other ingredients.
Fats are an important part of any healthy meal. They help your body absorb the nutrients in your food, and they’re necessary for a variety of bodily functions. That said, not all fats are created equal. When it comes to meal prepping, make sure you’re eating the right fats!
Avoid saturated fats like animal fat and coconut oil. These types of fats can increase your risk for a variety of diseases because they will raise your cholesterol levels. Use healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish oils instead. These types of fats have lots of benefits including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Protein is the most important part of your meal because it will keep you full and energized throughout the day. It’s best to find lean meats like skinless chicken, turkey, or fish.
However, protein doesn’t have to be limited to just meat- based sources! Beans, eggs, and dairy are all great sources of protein too. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals which will give your body the fuel it needs to power through the day. Be sure not to overcook these proteins so they don’t become dry and unappealing!