Do you ever find yourself saying; ‘I know what to, eat I just struggle doing it.’ Well so do most of our clients, until we educated them about prep day. The concept is simple; choose an allotted amount of time to suit you on one of your ‘rest’ days and prep as much food as possible for your busier days in the coming week. It works every time but the reason behind why it works might surprise you…..
Why it works
Ultimately, it protects your decision budget aka your willpower. Numerous studies have shown that decision making is a limited resource. Each day we have a specific decision or willpower budget, which is replenished when we rest. This is why dieters are notorious for breaking their diet at the end of the day or later in the week.
If you find yourself consistently doing the opposite action to your intended goals – it’s not will power your missing, it’s prioritisation. Your conscious brain is literally getting depleted which in turn is causing you to default back to your current habitual behaviour. Of course, habits can be re-programmed but you have to break that cycle first. Follow the steps below to break the habits you don’t want so you can start building the ones you do.
One hour is all you need on your rest days to feel more in control and save time and money in the process.
How to do it!
The simplest step but the most overlooked. Set yourself an allotted time and plan it into your calendar on a weekly basis.
Use the prep hour below to write a list of everything you need and grab your bags for life.
Don’t worry about getting too fancy with what you’re batch cooking, think about it more from a nutritional quality not quantity point of view. Proteins typically take the longest to prepare/ cook. This is often why we’ll reach for sugary snacks or ‘nibbles’ whilst we wait. Fill your fridge with ready to go proteins (more on this below) and watch your cravings diminish.
As with ANYTHING in life, if you can find a way to make it more enjoyable – you’ll be more likely to do it. An upbeat playlist or interesting podcast/ audio book keeps me in the kitchen much longer because it feels less of a chore.
Start the timer
**60 minutes starts now**
1. Prep your kitchen
Turn the oven on to 180C, fill the kettle and boil it, dust your slow cooker off and plug it in.
2. Prep your Carbs
Wash your sweet potato’s, pierce them with a fork and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of sweet potato. OR Batch some overnight oats for a breakfast on the go.
3. Prep your Protein
Marinate chicken thighs with your favourite rub or seasoning and place in the oven for 35-45 minutes. OR Place a gammon joint in the slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
4. Prep more Protein
Fill a saucepan with boiling water, add eggs (I typically do 4-6) and boil for 10 minutes before running under cold water and leaving to cool. OR Drain a tin of mackerel and mix with no dairy yoghurt, tsp of dill and 1/2 the juice of a lemon.
5. Prep your Veggies
In the summer I’ll typically roast a tray of vegetables and in the winter I’ll make soups.
For roasted veg: Chop the harder/ starchier veg first (like; carrots, butternut, beetroot & aubergines – these will take 35-45 minutes) and continue to add the watery veg to the roasting dish as you chop (like peppers, courgettes, onions etc.)
6. Prep your Snack Bags
My go to snacks are; Trail mix, Shakes and Veggie sticks with dip.
For the trail mix: Portion out 70% nuts, 20% mixed seeds and 10% dried fruit you can also turn this into our homemade nut crunch cereal.
For the veggie sticks and dip: Chop veggies of your choice and store in the fridge (in water to keep fresher.) To make the dip use a dairy free yoghurt and mix in your favourite seasonings. Some of my favourites are; Curry powder, cayenne pepper & paprika or lemon and chives.
7. Safe Storing
Cool food quickly by transferring it into containers and placing the lid underneath to increase air flow. Once cool, seal with cling film or in a container and place in the fridge.
8. Washing up
With batch cooking, comes batch clearing but the more you do it the less equipment you’ll start to use. By default, this makes the process more and more efficient each time you do it.