Meal Prep for Success: Natalie Kollars
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on the blog as preparations have been in full swing for my new clinic space to open on Monday (more on that to come)! I sure do love the freshness of a new year and fresh start! My passion for setting goals, self improvement and creating positive change is fully alive right now as I am sure it is in quite a few of you as well!
The most common new years resolutions involve changing exercise and eating habits. These are EXCELLENT areas to pursue and improve upon as we know both are key to our overall health and well-being. Today on the blog, my good friend Natalie Kollars is going to share with you one of the best ways you can create a sustainable, lasting change in terms ensuring you stick to your nutritional goals: MEAL PREP!
Not only is Natalie a meal prep queen, she is also a certified strength a conditioning coach who works with professional, college and youth athletes as well as celebrities, military personnel and weekend warriors. Natalie holds her Masters in Exercise Physiology and Strength and Conditioning from the University of Louisville and currently works at EXOS Performance in Scottsdale, Arizona.
TAKE IT AWAY NAT!
There are many components to a healthy lifestyle. In my opinion, two of the most important are the food that you put in your body (nutritional habits) and the way in which you move your body (exercise). Although maintaining a proper exercise schedule is no easy feat, creating proper nutritional habits can be far more challenging. This is because nutrition is a constant habitual decision multiple times throughout your day!
One of the best ways get and stay on track with nutrition is MEAL PREPPING! This involves preparing and/or cooking larger quantities of food in advance, and then consuming that food throughout the week. You spend more time intially but save SO much time in the end. Can you imagine going into your week with all your meals and snacks prepared to take with you each day? You can simply grab and go, knowing that you will be properly fueled no matter how busy or hectic your schedule is. You will save time, money and there is way less chance you will make a less than ideal nutritional decision while you’re hungry ;). Follow these FOUR simple steps to stay organized while meal prepping:
1. Create your menu
Decide what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
Locate the recipes for each of these (I recommend starting with something simple and familiar at first!)
I try to make one meal in the slow cooker, one on the stove top and one in the oven
2. Create your shopping list
Look at each menu item (breakfast, lunch etc) and write down the ingredients needed for each meal on a piece of paper or into the notes section of your phone
You can organize it by meal, or by sections of the grocery store, whichever is easiest for you
Pro Tip: I like to shop on Friday on my way home from work and cook on Sunday. By doing this on 2 different days it makes the task seem way less daunting!
3. Go shopping!
Purchase ONLY what is on your shopping list! Nothing else! Don’t be tempted by those items “on sale” at the end of the aisles.
4. Prep / Cook as much as you can!
Marinate / bake chicken or salmon or beef
Cook a large portion of brown rice/ quinoa
Cut up all the veggies for your salads
Make a large batch of homemade salad dressing
How much should I cook at once? How long does the food last? In general, cooked meat stays good in the fridge for 3-4 days. However, the number of days you cook in advance is often personal preference. With my busy schedule, I have found this works best for me: each week on Sunday, I prep for the upcoming Monday-Friday. I cook entirely for the first 3 days, and prep as much as I can for Thursday/Friday. That normally means I don’t cook the protein portion of my meals for Thursday and Friday until Wednesday.
For example: If I am making a salad with shredded chicken as the protein, I will prep the spinach, veggies, nuts, cheese, dressing etc for all 5 days on Sunday, but won’t cook the chicken for Thursday/Friday until Wednesday night.
Some people prefer their meals cooked fresh each day. If this is you, I recommend doing in recommend doing all the prep work on Sunday and not actually cooking anything until the day of. For example: if you are cooking Salmon, asparagus and rice for dinner, I would recommend portioning each day of Salmon into Tupperware, cutting the asparagus, making the marinade for the Salmon and pouring it into Tupperware. Then, when you get home from work, all that’s left is pre-heating the oven and baking the salmon and asparagus and letting the rice cook at the same time! It seems simple but when you are hungry and have just worked a long day, not having to decide what you are going to make or having to prep anything makes a world of a difference.
Another thing that’s very important is to make sure you have enough good quality containers. It’s best if you have containers that are of varying sizes. Larger ones for meals, smaller ones for snacks, and mini ones for dressings/ sauces. Once the food is prepped and or cooked, each meal needs to have a home! This makes it easier to grab and go as well.
Thank you so much Nat for sharing your tips! I know meal prepping is going to be an important aspect of my life as I become an entrepreneur. Natalie shares AWESOME recipes and both nutritional and exercise tips on her Instagram account (@nataliekollars )
If you have any questions or would like to work with Natalie in order to get more specific or more individualized in your nutritional goals feel free to contact her at Kollars.email@example.com. Trust me, she’s a star!