October 6, 2021
How do you ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need each day? If you’re anything like the rest of us, it’s probably an overwhelming combination of reading food labels, counting calories, and eating the same healthy meals that you’ve already had a thousand times.
There’s a better way to give your body what it needs. It’s straightforward and effective, no matter your fitness goals. It’s macro-based meal prep.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with macro diets: counting your intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fats on a daily basis. It’s one step further than counting calories, but isn’t designed to deprive your body: in fact, the right macro diet can help you achieve practically any health and fitness goal, whether it’s losing weight or gaining muscle.
The most difficult part of a macro diet, especially for someone just starting out, is strategically planning your meals to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of each macro every day. The solution? Macro meal prep!
By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you won’t have to worry about checking your macros several times a day or missing a goal. You can be confident that whatever you eat will provide what your body needs.
Whether you want to meal prep for muscle growth or any other goal, macros can help you get there. Here are just a few of the benefits:
Important disclaimer: Always assess your situation and talk to a doctor before beginning a diet that focuses heavily on food measurement and tracking. While macro-based diets can be effective, they can also trigger or worsen eating disorders. Focus on your overall health above all else!
Every single person requires a different level of macros. The requirements depend on your weight, height, activity level, desired goal, and other individual factors. That’s why it’s so important to research your own macro needs rather than rely on what others are doing.
Talking to a nutritionist, doctor, or fitness coach is a great way to ensure that you’re meeting your macro needs without sacrificing any other aspect of your overall health.
You can also use an online calculator to get an idea of your macro needs. Just remember that any calculator should serve as a baseline, and you may have to tweak the targets to ensure they’re right for your body. 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good general guideline for most.
If you use the Prospre app, you can calculate your macro needs for any desired weight by visiting the ‘My Goals’ section.
Once you know how many macros you need, it’s time to start planning! You’ll need a variety of balanced meals that provide the protein, carbs, and fat you need. The only limit here is your own creativity and abilities: your meal plan can be as simple or complex as you like.
Start by deciding what meals you will be preparing and what recipes you want to use. Look for opportunities to use the same ingredient in multiple dishes! Map out your meal plan in a list or on a calendar, and then start making your grocery list.
Stick to whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. Some of the healthiest (and tastiest!) options from each category include:
It’s easy to be flexible in your meal plan since some foods provide multiple macros at the same time. For example, fatty fish is an excellent source of both protein and fat. And of course, don’t forget to add plenty of vegetables!
There are also plenty of healthy options that require no cooking or preparation. Use foods like fruit, yogourt, and healthy granola bars to bulk up your meal plan without adding to your workload.
Allow yourself the flexibility to indulge in cravings. The beauty of a macro diet is that you have the freedom to eat what you want, as long as it meets your macro goals! “Unhealthy” foods can still fit into the diet and make it easier to maintain in the long term.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a new and exciting meal plan, the Prospre App can create meal plans with the click of a button. You can add in your own recipes, replicate favorites, and even generate a grocery list.
You’ve created the perfect meal plan. Now it’s time to get cooking!
Buy ingredients in bulk whenever possible and use tinned or frozen ingredients to save money and reduce waste. Make sure that you use containers that are easy to freeze, transport, and reheat.
When preparing your meals, use a weight scale or measuring cups whenever possible to ensure that your portions are accurate. If you’re ever stuck, remember this easy rule: one serving of protein is the size of your open palm, while a veggie or starch serving should be as big as your fist.
Combine tasks during meal prep to make the task go faster. For example, you could cook broccoli for three meals at once while your chicken is finishing in the oven and you’re waiting for your pasta water to boil!
Once your food is prepared, it’s time to enjoy! You have healthy, balanced meals that are super convenient AND will help you meet your body goals.
Meal prep based on macros isn’t for everyone. But with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a macro diet that works for you:
If you’ve never tried meal prep before, it can be overwhelming to try and create a week’s worth of food all at once. Start with one meal, like breakfast or lunch, for 3-4 days in advance. Then use what you learn to meal prep for longer periods of time.
The hardest diets to maintain are ones that are boring. No one wants to eat the same thing every single day! Look for new macro meal prep ideas to spice things up, or try a new way to prepare an old favorite.
No matter how well you plan and prepare, there will be days when your macros don’t quite work out. Enter fixer foods! These are foods that are high in one macro and low in others, so they’re the perfect snack to grab if you’re missing something.
For example, chicken is high in protein but low in fat and carbs. If you realize that you’re under on protein at the end of the day, a small serving of chicken breast will help balance things out.
Try not to look at meal prep as a chore. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to relax and prepare for the week ahead. Listen to some music or a podcast, or use it as an excuse to spend some time with a loved one or your gym buddy!
Plus, when you’re able to grab ready-to-eat meals later in the week, you’ll be saving time and have more to do things that you enjoy.
If you’re doing weekly meal prep for bodybuilding, planning can get really complicated really quickly. Make it easier on yourself by using an app that can help you create your own custom meal plans, track your macros, and more.
You’ve determined your macro needs, planned out some amazing meals, and are ready to create delicious meals that will keep you moving towards your fitness goals.
Whether you’re trying to gain muscle, lose weight, or anything in between, macro meal prep will make it easy to get there without sacrificing anything.
Having trouble creating your meal plan? Need help figuring out your macro needs? Try the Prospre app -- it’s completely free! Download it today.