Updated: Jan 6
It's easier to eat nutritious food and keep within your calories when meals are made in advance. Being in control will help you reach your fat loss goals quickly. Read our 5 meal prep tips for fat loss.
People often think that fat loss means eating chicken and broccoli and comes with endless sacrifices in order to get in shape. Losing fat isn’t going to come from eating whatever you desire. However, you can still get results by eating a fair amount of food. There is no need to cut out entire food groups or do a crazy shake diet.
The principle of fat loss is simple. In order to lose fat, you need to be in an energy deficit. Essentially this means you need to consume fewer calories than you expend.
Calorie saving tips for better results
Eat more calories than you burn during the day, and you’ll gain weight, eat less and you’ll lose it.
Calories are king when it comes to getting in shape. Adherence is what determines whether you’ll actually see the results. The best diet is the one that you can stick to.
5 meal prep tips for fat loss
It’s important to have strategies in place so you don’t fall off the wagon and slip into bad habits. Outlined below are tips to help you stay on track when losing fat.
We will give you smarter choices, ways to be savvy with your calories all to make sure you’re prepared and equipped to build the habits that are going to get you to your desired fat loss goals.
“BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL.” - BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Tip 1: Get organised
It sounds like an obvious point but if fat loss is all about eating fewer calories than you expend, you need to be in control of what you’re putting in your mouth. The more food you prepare at home, the more accurate your understanding will be of the calories that you’re consuming.
If you have your food planned out for the day, you’ll be less likely to make poor decisions when going into a food outlet when you are hungry.
Not prepping food means you might not have access to the nutritional information of what you’re eating. Often restaurant food will be higher in calories than you think as you don’t know what they’ve been cooked with or exactly what ingredients have been used to make the dish.
Sometimes a salad is not the best option if you’re trying to save on calories. Salads can be laden with dressings, seeds, salad toppers so the calories can easily stack up! Eating out is always more of a mind field when it comes to fat loss.
Tip 2: Maximise food volume
You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose body fat. There is a chance that you will feel hungry as your body deals with eating less food than it’s used to. This is why when prepping food you need to be smart with your choices. This will allow you to eat more food without the high-calorie price tag.
Bulk out meals so that they have lots of volume. This is great to do with salads and green/leafy veg. These foods are typically very low in calories so you can eat lots of them.
The high fibre content will also help you to feel fuller. Psychologically having a plate that’s loaded with food means you won’t feel deprived and you will be less likely to reach for snacks later.
There are also options to make swaps with lower-calorie alternatives that keep food volume high but calories low. Things like cauliflower rice instead of rice. Spiralised courgette instead of pasta, or you could go for a combination of both.
In comparison to this, there are some foods that provide very little volume for the calories they come with. Highly processed foods and sweetened drinks will often be loaded with calories.
Tip 3: Keep protein high
Having a high protein diet is not just for bodybuilders. It is a recommendation for everyone. It’s particularly important when trying to lose body fat.
Firstly, protein is the building block of muscle. Eating enough will ensure that you retain/build muscle – and you can do this while losing body fat.
More muscle means a higher metabolic rate (so you’ll be able to eat more in the long run). Eating foods high in protein will also keep you fuller for longer. Protein is more satiating compared to fats and carbohydrates.
It also takes more energy for the body to break down protein versus fats and carbs therefore, using more calories.
Tip 4: Go steady on the sauces
If there’s one easy way to rack up the calories it’s with oils, sauces, and condiments. People are often unaware of how calorie-laden sauces are particularly if they have an oil or creamy base.
When prepping food be very mindful of how much oil you’re using – perhaps try a different method of cooking, i.e. steaming, baking, boiling, or look at using a low-calorie oil alternative fry light oils for example.
Opt for less sauce when cooking, by using just a combination of herbs and spices this will reduce calories significantly. Additionally not covering your meals with sauce will save calories too.
Making food plainer, with less sauce is a twofold benefit. Firstly, you save calories by not having sauce on your food. But also, a lot of these sauces are high in sugar, which increases the palatability (pleasure from eating) of food.
A recent study showed that when you add sweet chilli sauce to boiled white rice you actually consume more compared to when you just eat a plain bowl of rice. The sugar increases the ability to eat more. Not what you need if you’re trying to reduce calories.
Tip 5: Be prepared for social situations
While eating out is not directly linked to meal prepping itself, it’s something you should factor into the equation when planning your meals.
When at restaurants, the same principles above still apply. Keep protein high, load up on veggies and go easy on sauces.
Additionally, if you know you’re going to be eating /drinking out then you need to make allowances for this beforehand.
You can ‘bank’ some calories earlier in the day to allow more that evening. Having smaller meals or fasting in the morning to save calories for the meal out is also an option.
Remember, drink calories count too. Be mindful and account for this when drinking alcohol/coffees/soft drinks. Perhaps try swapping beer/wine for a prosecco or light spirit and diet mixer to save some calories or taking the milk out of your coffee.
In summary, reaching your fat loss goal does require some planning and organisation in order to increase your chances of success. The more you can prep at home, the greater control you have over your calories thus making it easier to manage your calorie consumption.
You can still eat a fair amount of food if you’re clever with your choices. The key is to avoid unnecessary calories from foods that aren’t going to satisfy you.
Check out our E-book all about meal prepping here.