Meal planning and preparation are valuable tools to have in your health and wellness toolbox as an MMA fighter. A well-planned meal plan will help you improve the consistency of your diet or achieve a particular health goal while still saving you time and money. While good nutrition and eating habits are always important, they can have an especially big impact on your workout goals. Following these tips will not only help you to be generally healthier but will aid you in pre and post-workout recovery.
1. Use All the Food Groups
If you’re planning meals for a week, a month, or only a few days, it’s important to include each food category in your menu. Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, are prioritized in the healthiest meal plan, while refined grains, added sugars, and excess salt should be limited. Consider each of these food groups as you look at your favorite recipes. Make it a point to fill in the blanks if any of them are missing. If you’re working out a lot, be sure to add a lot of protein and cook the healthiest oatmeal.
2. Use What You Have On Hand
Take stock of what you already have on hand before you sit down to prepare your meals. Examine your entire food storage area, including your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator, for any particular foods you want or need to use up. This allows you to use all the food you already have, eliminates waste and prevents you from purchasing the same items over and over again.
3. Spice It Up
Herbs and spices will make the difference between a fantastic meal and a mediocre one. For most people, a meal plan that is regularly full of delectable dishes can be sufficient to keep the meal planning habit alive. Herbs and spices, in addition to being excellent taste enhancers, are rich in plant compounds that have a host of health benefits, including decreased cellular damage and inflammation. If you don’t already have a large supply of dried herbs and spices, start by grabbing a couple of jars of your spices each time you go grocery shopping.
4. Keep a Meal Diary
It’s aggravating when you forget a meal that you or your family loved. Or, much worse, forgetting how much you hated a recipe just to have to make it again and suffer through it. Keep a diary of your favorite and least favorite meals to avoid these culinary snares. It’s also a good idea to keep track of any changes you’ve made or want to make to a recipe so you can easily progress from novice to expert in the kitchen.
5. Portion Out Your Meals
Meal pre-portioning into individual containers is a great meal prep technique, particularly if you’re trying to eat a certain amount of food. This approach is common among athletes and fitness buffs who keep a close eye on their calorie and nutrient intake. It’s also a fantastic way to promote weight loss or simply get ahead when you’re low on time. Prepare a big meal with at least 4–6 servings to take advantage of this process. Place each serving in its own container and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply reheat and serve when ready.
6. Incorporate Variety
It’s easy to fall into a rut when it comes to dieting and consume the same foods day after day. Your meals can become monotonous, resulting in a lack of culinary inspiration. In the worst-case scenario, the lack of variety may lead to nutrient deficiencies. To stop this, make it a habit to experiment with different recipes or meals on a regular basis. If brown rice is your go-to grain, try quinoa or barley instead. If broccoli is your go-to vegetable, try cauliflower, asparagus, or romanesco for a change.
You may also try allowing the seasons to dictate your menu. Consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables allows you to diversify your diet while still saving money. Applying some of these tips can help you meet your fitness goals.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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