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The Best Foods to Meal Prep for Weight Loss

The Best Foods to Meal Prep for Weight Loss

January 16, 2024

The Best Foods to Meal Prep for Weight Loss

Summary:

  • Strategic meal prepping is crucial for weight loss, allowing control over ingredients and portions while reducing the need for snacks.
  • Benefits: reduces fast and processed food consumption, provides nutrient-rich control, facilitates portion management, minimizes snack needs, and alleviates meal decision stress.
  • Emphasize lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy, with optional dark chocolate and protein powder.

Introduction

Embarking on a weight loss journey requires a strategic blend of dedication, knowledge, and mindful choices. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the significance of meal prepping as a pivotal strategy. Beyond a mere reduction in fast food consumption, meal prepping empowers you to take charge of the ingredients you consume, ensures portion control, minimizes the need for snacks, and alleviates the stress associated with meal decisions.

Discover the power of meal prepping and explore a curated list of nutrient-dense foods tailored to support weight loss, enhance energy levels, and fortify overall well-being. It's time to take control, not only of what's on your plate but of your entire health journey.

 

Table of Contents

 

The Importance of Diet in Weight Loss

If you haven’t heard it before then the title probably clued you in that losing weight isn’t just about exercise. In fact, the Mayo Clinic suggests that diet is more effective than exercise when trying to lose weight. 

 

Meal Prepping for Weight Loss

Couple cooking healthy meal prep recipes

Unfortunately, losing weight doesn’t mean cutting down on the foods you’re currently eating. It’s less about quantity and more about quality. Portions do matter, however. Triglycerides, the body’s storage cells for excess energy, won’t be able to keep up if an unnecessary amount of food is constantly being consumed. Instead of the triglycerides being released to energize your body or sustain you until the next meal, they’ll continue to accumulate and essentially pile up. But what you’re eating will make even more of a difference in weight loss, energy levels, gut health, immune system, and so much more.

 

Benefits of Meal Prepping

Half the battle isn’t realizing you have to change your food lifestyle, it’s figuring out how to actually do that. That’s why we’re supplying you with a solution: meal prep. There are multiple reasons why meal planning and prepping is beneficial to weight loss:

  1. It reduces the amount of fast food you are eating because you already have a meal prepared at home.

  2. It lets you control the type of ingredients you are consuming, specifically food that have the nutrients you need to help you lose weight.

  3. It helps with portion control because you have already measured out a certain amount for your meal.

  4. It helps to reduce the need for snacks or unplanned meals.

  5. It can reduce stress because you won’t be spending time trying to figure out what to fix, if it’s healthy enough, or if you even have the time to fix it.

Meal prep won’t solve every problem; the cravings for processed foods that our bodies have become accustomed to will still be there. But having healthy, nutritional snacks ready to grab instead of a bag of chips will help keep you on track. Not to mention the time saved with easy recipe ideas and a list of best foods you can prepare to help you with your weight loss journey.

 

The Best Foods for Meal Prepping for Weight Loss

Healthy Food

Nutrient-dense foods provide your body with proper nutrition that promotes overall health and will keep you feeling sated until your next meal. Those types of foods are the ones suggested below. By packing your body full of the foods that can help you lose weight as well as maintain that weight, the need for something sweet, overly-saturated in sodium, or loaded with carbs that cause your blood glucose levels to rise quickly will be diminished.

All right, we’ve talked about the why, now let’s talk about the how; take a look at the categories and the best foods listed under each for men to meal prep for weight loss.

Lean Protein

Supports muscle growth by preserving muscle mass while also helping in recovery.

  1. Chicken, Turkey, and Lean Beef

  2. Seafood: Salmon, Shrimp, Tuna, Cod, Halibut, Tilapia

  3. Tofu

  4. Eggs

  5. Nuts and Seeds - Heart-healthy but high in calories so they need to be eaten in moderation.

    1. Walnuts are particularly beneficial because they reduce the amount of fat storage in your body and also help build a resistance against insulin.

    2. Chia seeds are very nutritious, loaded with antioxidants, and high in fiber and protein.

Fruits and Vegetables

Low calorie, high in fiber, full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Also contains lots of water, which helps in filling up your stomach.

  1. Apples, Berries, and Bananas

  2. Avocados

  3. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage (specifically Sauerkraut), Celery, and dark, green leafy vegetables

    1. Spinach is particularly low in calories and high in nutrients.

  4. Peppers - Contain lots of Vitamin C

  5. Mushrooms - Can be used as a meat substitute - provides flavor, fiber, and less calories.

Whole Grains

High in fiber, can help curb cravings, and keeps blood sugar levels stable.

  1. Raw Oats

  2. Brown Rice

  3. Quinoa

  4. Whole Wheat Bread

Legumes

High in fiber and protein that helps your stomach feel full.

  1. Lupin Beans

  2. Kidney and Black Beans - High in fiber and protein that contain large amounts of minerals like iron and zinc

  3. Lentils

  4. Chickpeas

Low-Fat Dairy

Source of protein healthy fats and calcium that isn’t high in calories.

  1. Low-fat or Skim Milk

  2. Greek Yogurt

  3. Cheese

Dark Chocolate

Curbs sweet cravings and can lower BMI (body mass index).

Water

Essential to life while also helping you feel full and supporting bodily functions.

Protein Powder

Man making protein shake for healthy snacks

Along with the foods listed above, M Drive Lean Protein powder can also be included in the list of things you should add to your pantry. It consists of ingredients clinically tested to help you lose weight. It can be used as a snack when you’re craving something good but healthy, it can help satisfy your hunger until your next nutritious meal is, or it can be used as an energy boost for that next round of workout reps. The best thing about it? No preparation necessary! Lean Protein isn’t a substitute for the healthy meals you’ve prepped, but it can be an essential staple to add to your pantry for all the reasons just listed.

There are a lot of foods out there that can help men to lose weight. The key is stocking your refrigerator and pantry shelves with these ingredients so that you’re ready to grab something healthy instead of processed to drive those pounds away.

We get it. Just giving you a list of healthy foods might be helpful, but you still have to hunt for recipes to use those ingredients in. That’s why we’re helping you get started with a few easy meal prep and recipe ideas that’ll promote weight loss, satiation, and overall better health, which we’ve posted at the bottom of this article.

 

Timing and Frequency

Learning to eat healthy can be difficult, and the weight loss journey for men doesn’t end there. Along with meal prepping, timing should also be considered when trying to lose weight. So the question is, when is the best time and how often should you eat?

Three meals a day are still the norm

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast, especially, but also lunch should be substantial and full of nutrients. This not only helps with weight loss by energizing your body and filling you up so you’re not reaching for unhealthy snacks or the closest fast food, but it also energizes your mind, keeping you from feeling sluggish. Dinner is a must, as your body will need one more supply of food before it rests, but it is best for the last meal of the day to be before 7 pm. That way, your body has time to process its food, leading to better digestion, less acid reflux or heartburn, and better sleep. That’s right, if you lay down with a full stomach, your sleep will not be as good.

Another thing regarding timing is that breakfast should come 12 hours after dinner. This doesn’t mean that if you eat dinner at 7 pm the previous night, the next morning breakfast has to be at exactly 7 am. But a good rule of thumb is that the two should be separated overnight by at least twelve hours. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Stored up fat becomes energy so a longer amount of time between meals gives it the chance to burn up some of those fat cells.

  2. Inflammation in the body can be reduced, especially once weight has been reduced. Inflammation can lead to chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart problems. 

  3. When the body “fasts” for 12 or more hours, the good bacteria in the gut has time to multiply, cleanse, and balance the gut. Once food is consumed, however, the bacteria stops working.

     

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas

The below recipes each are one serving. To meal prep these in advance, increase the ingredient amounts and cook all at once, then separate into meal prep containers.

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Whole Grain Toast

 Ingredients:

- 4 large eggs

- Handful of fresh spinach

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Whole grain toast (2 slices)

 Instructions:

1. Scramble Eggs:

   - In a bowl, beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper.

   - In a non-stick pan, sauté the fresh spinach until wilted.

   - Add the beaten eggs to the pan and scramble until cooked through.

2. Toast:

   - Toast the whole grain bread slices.

3. Serve:

   - Plate the scrambled eggs and spinach alongside the toasted whole grain bread.

 

Snack: Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries and Almonds

Ingredients:

- Greek yogurt (1 cup)

- Mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries - 1/2 cup)

- Almonds (sliced or whole - 1/4 cup)

 Instructions

1. Combine:

   - In a bowl, mix Greek yogurt with mixed berries.

2. Top:

   - Sprinkle almonds on top for added crunch.

 

Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salad

 Ingredients:

- Grilled chicken breast (sliced - 6 oz)

- Mixed salad greens (2 cups)

- Cherry tomatoes (halved - 1 cup)

- Cucumber (sliced - 1/2 cup)

- Red bell pepper (sliced - 1/2 cup)

- Feta cheese (crumbled - 2 tbsp)

- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for salad dressing.

Instructions:

1. Prepare Salad:

   - In a large bowl, combine salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and red bell pepper.

2. Add Chicken:

   - Top the salad with sliced grilled chicken.

3. Dress:

   - Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss gently.

 

Snack: M Drive Lean Protein Shake

Ingredients:

- M Drive Lean

- 8oz of water, milk, or your choice of milk alternative

Instructions:

Add one scoop to 8oz of liquid and mix well.

 

Dinner: Baked Salmon with Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli

 Ingredients:

- Salmon filet (8 oz)

- Quinoa (1 cup, cooked)

- Broccoli florets (1 cup)

- Lemon (sliced)

- Olive oil fresh herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper for seasoning

 Instructions:

1. Prep Salmon:

   - Preheat the oven. Place the salmon on a baking sheet.

   - Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Place lemon slices on top.

2. Bake:

   - Bake the salmon at 375°F (190°C) for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

3. Prepare Quinoa:

   - Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

4. Steam Broccoli:

   - Steam broccoli until tender-crisp.

5. Serve:

   - Plate the baked salmon on a bed of quinoa with steamed broccoli on the side.

 

Conclusion

Losing weight is admirable, whether it’s for your physical physique, your mental state, or your health overall. One of the best ways to shred those pounds is with consistency and a plan. Meal prep, being aware of when you consume your food, and an exercise plan will all lead you to a healthier, leaner body. Prep those meals and prepare your mind and body for a new you!

 

Sources:

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-which-is-better-for-losing-weight-diet-or-exercise/

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/nutrition-news-carbohydrates-willett-hu/#:~:text=Bad%20carbs%2C%20like%20white%20bread,overall%20calories%20come%20from%20carbs)

https://www.muscleandfitness.com/nutrition/lose-fat/13-best-foods-lose-weight-feel-full/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/where-does-fat-go-when-you-lose-weight#how-it-works

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/meal-prep/

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7826585/best-times-to-eat-for-weight-loss

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/anti-inflammatory-diet

https://time.com/6216011/does-fasting-improve-gut-health/




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