During the colder months where you aren't exactly excited to go outside and grill, do you ever find yourself watching the Food Network on television and drooling over all of the amazing grill creations chefs are making? No? Ok, maybe that's just me. But it makes me want to fire up my grill and start some meal prep.
When summer finally arrives, what's the one thing we can't wait to do? Get outside and enjoy the weather, right? That sunshine and the warmth beating down on you, the natural source of vitamin D, and who can forget the smell of cookouts and barbeques? The summer months are perfect for meal prep and allow you the opportunity to grill up some masterpieces that you can enjoy all week long – and share your excellent meals with the family (and even friends) as well.
Fire Up the Grill
It doesn't matter if you love a gas grill, charcoal, wood, or you get creative with a smoker or "The Egg," just being outside manning the grill brings many people excitement and satisfaction when it's all cooked, prepared, and ready to eat.
Meal prep for many is an area where they are either successful, or they fail miserably. The fact is, most people don't meal prep. They make their meals as they are hungry. Sure, this is great from a freshness standpoint, but from a planning and meal prep standpoint, it could cause you to overeat or consume foods you shouldn't be eating in order to achieve your goals. Remember, you don't know what you don't know, and if you're eating too much and putting yourself in a caloric surplus, your chances of losing weight are zero.
In the summer months, many people are watching their waistline and want to stay lean for vacations, pool parties, or being outside working on their tan. This is where meal prep really shines. When you plan all of your meals out, you have no excuse why you can't stick to a nutrition plan. Everything is right there for you – all you need to do is grab it out of the fridge, and you're ready to grub. It takes the guesswork out of what to eat.
What can you put on the grill?
- Turkey Burgers
- Chicken Breast
- Corn on the Cob
Now, the above is simply a few selections to give you an idea – you can put just about anything on the grill (use your imagination). Do you like kabobs? Cut up some lean protein sources along with some delicious peppers (both hot and sweet) and onion, stick a skewer through them and toss them on the grill. You can even marinate them or put on some low-calorie condiments like BBQ sauce or a topping of your choice.
You can be creative and put whatever you want on the grill for your meal prep. A tip is to meal prep in bulk. That means if you're grilling up chicken breast, do a few pounds worth or do chicken breast along with another protein source like shrimp to have a good variety of options for the week. Do the same with your vegetables. Grill up vegetables that can be used for all of your protein sources, so everything is there and ready to go throughout the week when you need a quick grab and go meal.
How to Meal Prep Successfully
When it comes to meal prep, many people think it's such a long and tedious process, but when you break it down, not only will it save you time and effort, but also your waistline.
Sure, when you grill things in bulk, it will take a little longer to grill everything up, but that time is well spent. If you can make around five days worth of food all at once, that gives you five days of no excuses as to why you can't stay on a clean nutrition plan. If you make food on a Sunday afternoon for the week, that will last you through Friday.
There are two ways of storing your food:
- Put all of the same items in individual containers
- Create your meals and put one meal in each container
There is no wrong way to do this, and both have their merits. What it comes down to is which is easier and more convenient for you? After all, the whole reason you meal prep is to make your life easier, right?
In the first example, you would put all of your chicken breasts (using this as a for instance) in one large Tupperware container. All of your asparagus would go in a separate container. All of your [fill in the blank] would go in a separate container. You get the idea.
For the second example, you actually make up and prepare actual meals. In one container you put in one serving of chicken breast and one serving of asparagus. In another container, you would put in one serving of your steak and one serving of your potatoes. In a nutshell, you meal prep individual meals, so all you need to do is grab one from the refrigerator, pop it in the microwave, and you're good to go with a healthy and delicious meal.
If you plan on heating your meals in the actual Tupperware container, I would highly suggest you invest in the glass Tupperware containers and not the plastic.
Should you want to flavor things, add some spices on top to get the taste you desire. Most of the herbs and spices you find at the grocery store are zero-calorie or low single-digit at most. Black pepper, peppercorn, pink Himalayan sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, lime, oregano, basil, or even take things to the next level with amino acid soy sauce or coconut aminos.
It's totally up to you how you choose to flavor your meals. The key is to keep them exciting and delicious.
Have Fun and Be Creative
Let your mind be free when you use your grill for your meal prep. Enjoy the process, the smells, the flavors, the experience. Everyone is so regimented when they start watching what they eat, and the food becomes boring because there's no variety. They find themselves eating chicken and broccoli at every meal, and that gets old fast.
Constantly be changing up the protein and carb sources, use low-calorie condiments, spices, and herbs to provide new flavors, and stick to your plan. One of the hardest things to do when trying to lose weight or even manage it is to follow a nutrition plan. Through meal prep, this should help alleviate this issue and keep things fun and enjoyable.