I’m going to let you in on a secret - you can drink alcohol and not ruin your training or diet. Happy hour can have its place in your meal plan, as long as you make smart choices.
You are what you eat. You've heard that so many times it's burned into your brain. The myriad of benefits of a balanced diet—from helping you get in better shape by meeting nutritional macros to simply helping you slim down or build muscle—are numerous. That's why eating well is one of the most important things that you do for yourself.
If you want to eat fresh, healthy food, you must do some of the work yourself. Cooking your own meals does take time, but there are ways to cut down on how many hours you spend in the kitchen. One of the best ways is to work on your knife skills so food prep doesn’t take so long. Use this guide to help you sharpen your knife skills so you’re more efficient.
When celebrities endorse weight loss meal plans, many people take notice.
But now that an esteemed group like the Navy SEALs endorses a method that suppresses their appetite, helps them lose fat, build muscle, hold their breathe longer, and bolster their strength and performance, many people are doing more than a double-take. They're wisely taking the time to educate themselves so that they can achieve some of the same results.
The Navy's Sea, Air and Land Forces—an elite maritime military force that engages in specialized warfare initiatives around the world—have turned to ketosis, which the American Diabetes Association defines as the state the body goes into as it breaks down body fat for energy. “The state is marked by raised levels of ketones in the blood, which can be used by the body as fuel.”
The number of calories your body needs to function at a basic level every day is called your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. This is the key piece of information you’ll need when creating a meal plan to support your fitness goals and is easy to determine, but the standard methods often produce inaccurate results.
We’re going to take a look at how to accurately determine the number of calories you should eat in a day, and why knowing your body fat percentage is a critical aspect in creating a meal plan to fit your goals.
A sufficient level of testosterone is important not only for building muscle and fueling your sex drive, but is crucial to maintaining bone mass and creating red blood cells. It’s understandable why you would want to increase levels of this important hormone, but how do you raise testosterone naturally?
Eating right, whether you’re doing it to lose weight, build muscle or simply to be as healthy as possible, is extremely important. While a smart meal plan is essential if you want to eat well, you also need to know how to work efficiently in the kitchen if you don’t have a private chef at home.
Knowing your way around the kitchen means knowing the tools you’ll be using every single day. Fancy blenders, food processors, zesters and other gadgets are fine, but you’re going to do most of your work with a few basic knives. Use this guide to get to know your knives and what they do well. Sure, they’re all sharp, but not every knife is up to each task in the kitchen.
Learning how to meal prep can save you time throughout the week while minimizing food waste. Prepping your meals ahead of time ensures that you stay on track with your meal plan.
There is a bit of a learning curve when figuring out how to meal prep in the way that works best for you, but no matter your strategy, these meal prep necessities will help you along the way.
Because their shape allows for layering, mason jars are a great way to prepare meals in advance that will remain fresh overnight in the fridge. Make this already simple meal assembly even easier by having vegetables chopped and ready to go in meal prep containers in your fridge. The jars also provide a spill-proof, durable container that you can take with you to work or school, and on a weekend hike!
These meals are simple and flexible. You can loosely follow the recipes below, changing ingredients and quantities to fit your specific meal plan, and even tweak the amounts in your meal planning program to achieve your nutritional goals without changing the flavor of the meal too much.
Half the battle of cooking a healthy meal is taking the time to cut up all the vegetables you’re using. In fact, a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that those who spent more time on preparing food ate healthier meals that included more fruits and vegetables. Prepping all of those veggies at the beginning of the week can help you to make the most of your meal prep time, while encouraging healthy eating!
It's a sorry looking assortment if there ever was one. As you unload your groceries on the kitchen counter, you take a closer look at the purchases you had hoped would get you through the week and fill those meal prep containers at the same time.
You've got a few tubs of Greek yogurt, an 8-ounce container of hummus, a 5-pound bag of apples, a 2-pound bag of whole-grain pasta and a box of oatmeal cereal. Clearly, you've got clean eating on your mind but have forgotten a few things, including meat and vegetables. Following a clean eating strategy requires filling your plate by mimicking a plate of a different kind: MyPlate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's guide to healthy eating.
Judging from your purchases, your best hope of putting together a dinner hinges on your ability to track down a creative casserole recipe that combines apples and pasta. And your meal prep containers? They'll have to wait for another time.
It just might be time for an apron—the full-body type that chefs proudly wear in their kitchen.
You're not just getting the hang of food prep; you're becoming a diligent student of the kitchen, having read previous articles from our “recipe book” such as “Five Food Prep Tips for Beginners,” “Meal Planning Basics: How Long Does Prepped Food Last” and “Glass vs. Plastic: Choosing the Best Meal Prep Containers.”
As your food prep learning curve continues to glide and arc in new directions, you know you must learn to properly store your prepped food to preserve its quality, nutrients and flavor and extend your valuable food dollar by preventing spoilage. Another goal of smart prepped food storage: preventing food-borne illnesses that stem from the growth of bacteria.
While common sense underscores many food prep protocols, other tips for storing food in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer just might enlighten and surprise you.
So go ahead: reward your studious efforts with a chef's apron—and be sure to tie up the package with a practical meal planning tool at your side.
If you're about to make even a small investment in kitchen storage and meal prep containers, the debate between which is better—glass or plastic—probably has landed squarely on your table.
So get ready for a little “kitchen chemistry.” Just like when you learned why yeast must “proof,” why shortening produces different results than butter in baked goods, and why extra virgin olive reigns supreme, your eyes might roll as easily as a turkey meatball off a spoon. It might help to think of this as a painless and short-term condition that, in the end, will help you make an informed and educated decision about glass vs. plastic.
But here's a pointer to ponder: Think about which type of person you are—the type who is content to plunk down an open bag of almonds on a table or the type who empties the almonds in a bowl. If you're the latter—careful and somewhat fussy—then you're likely to invest in glass meal prep containers.
If you've done any reading on the subject of healthy eating, you know how important eating foods high in protein content can be. Meat, fish, cheese, beans, tofu, yogurt and nuts are all high-protein foods. Just blindly eating foods high in protein isn't always the best strategy, however. It's important to know why protein is vital, as well as which high protein foods are best for your bodybuilding meal plan.
One of the most common questions we’ve encountered is “What are the best/safest methods for storing food?” Well, here are the answers. These tips are focused on refrigerating and freezing foods. That said, don’t forget that foods sitting at room temperature (dry pasta, for example) should not be stored anywhere near cleaning supplies. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands when dealing with your food. So, without further ado...
For every brother, son or husband who has watched helplessly as a sister, mother or wife deals with monthly “hormone issues,” there probably is a female who might be thinking, “Not so fast there. Men's health involves hormone issues, too, you know.”
And it's true. In some ways, hormones are non-gender specific. But there also is a group of hormones affecting men's health known as “the male hormones” (with testosterone arguably being the most well known of all).
Like women, men can feel—and even feel captive to—subtle hormonal changes. And so it makes sense that hormones themselves are touchy entities. As the National Institutes of Health says: “It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body. That is why too much or too little of a certain hormone can be serious.”
You're making a valiant effort to make food prep more than a goal in your life; you want to make it part of your weekly routine.
And for good reason: food prep is one of those meal planning basics that saves you time and keeps your healthy meal plan on track, whether you define “food prep” as cutting and chopping fruits and vegetables, mixing a marinade, or preparing a vegetable casserole so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven.
It's downright fun to see your kitchen counters resemble an assembly line—and a sure sign of your growing skill and confidence with meal planning basics. But before you get too carried away, be sure that you know how long prepped food will last in your refrigerator. After all, you don't want your time and efforts to go to waste, literally.
Storing prepped food wisely begins with mastering smart washing and wrapping techniques—some of which may prompt you to alter some longstanding kitchen rituals.
You reach for them, rely on them, and press them into active “KP duty” like few other tools in your kitchen, making them essential to your healthy eating plan. But now they might be rusted, warped or even disintegrating.
The manufacturer's warranty—in large, bold print—fortifies your idea that you just might have a case to wage, because the warranty clearly says that your kitchen knives are covered by a “lifetime guarantee.”
Whose lifetime, you may ask. Yours or the knives'?
Carb cycling is the practice of alternating high-carb and low-carb days—with just one simple proviso: you consume more carbs on high intensity (or training) days and fewer carbs on lower intensity days.
It might help to think of carb cycling as a way to keep your body in optimal balance: You fire up your metabolism on high-carb days and burn fat and retain muscle on low-carb days.