Have you ever found yourself in the grocery store, staring blankly at the shelves, unsure of what to buy? You're not alone. I used to be in the same boat when I first started by fitness journey - feeling overwhelmed and clueless about what to put in my cart. As a result, I found myself relying on takeout, delivery and pre-packaged meals and my gym performance suffering as a result. I'd show up for my workouts feeling sluggish and weak, and I couldn't figure out why.
It wasn't until I started cooking my own meals that I realized how big of a difference it could make. Not only did my my body composition improve, but my energy during workouts was up, and I felt better in my everyday life with less general aches and pains. Cooking has become a cornerstone of my healthy lifestyle, and I want to share with you why it should be for you too. In this blog post, we'll explore the many benefits of cooking your own food, and provide tips and tricks for getting started so that you can stick to it. Let's dive in.
First off, cooking your own food is a great way to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients you need to fuel your body properly. When you cook at home, you can choose fresh, whole ingredients that are packed with vitamins and minerals, rather than relying on pre-packaged or processed foods that are often high in salt, sugar, and preservatives. Plus, cooking your own meals can help you save money in the long run, since eating out or buying pre-packaged meals can be expensive. For some people, it amounts to HUNDREDS of dollars per month!
In addition to being healthier and more cost-effective, cooking your own food can also help you manage your weight. When you cook at home, you have more control over portion sizes and ingredients, which can help you avoid overeating or consuming too many calories. Plus, cooking your own meals can be a fun and rewarding activity that helps you develop a deeper appreciation for food and where it comes from.
But what about gym performance? How does cooking your own food impact your workouts and fitness goals?
For starters, eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet is crucial for fueling your body during exercise and helping you recover afterwards. When you cook your own meals, you can choose ingredients that are high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, all of which are essential for building muscle, improving endurance, and maximizing performance. Plus, cooking your own meals can help you avoid the temptation to indulge in unhealthy foods that can derail your fitness goals.
Now that we've covered the reasons why cooking your own food is so important, let's talk about some tips and tricks to help you get started and stick to it:
1) Start Simple
If you're new to cooking, don't try to tackle complicated recipes right off the bat. Start with simple, easy-to-follow recipes that use basic ingredients and techniques. Gradually work your way up to more complex dishes as you become more comfortable in the kitchen. Our High Protein Recipe Pack is free to all members, and has over 50 easy-to-make, delicious options to choose from!
2) Ingredient Prep Instead of Meal Prep
Instead of spending hours meal prepping, try ingredient prepping. This involves batch-cooking your protein sources (like chicken or ground beef) and prepping your vegetables so that they're ready to go when you need them. This allows you to mix and match ingredients throughout the week to create different meals, and can save you time and effort in the long run. Plus, it can prevent your meals from getting boring or repetitive, as you have more freedom to mix and match ingredients based on your cravings or preferences.
3) Make Freezer-Friendly Meals
Freezer-friendly meals are a great way to simplify meal prep and ensure that you always have a healthy meal on hand, even when you're short on time. Consider making larger batches of burritos, bowls, and chili that you can portion out and freeze for later. This is a great option for anyone starting out who may feel overwhelmed by meal prep, as it allows you to cook in larger quantities and save time in the long run.
4) Use Low Barrier to Entry Modalities
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of cooking your own meals, consider using low barrier to entry modalities like a crock pot or instant pot. These devices allow you to simply dump all of your ingredients in, set it, and forget it. You can prep your ingredients in the morning and come home to a delicious, healthy meal at night without having to spend hours in the kitchen. Plus, using these devices can help you save time and reduce stress around meal prep.
Wrap It Up
Incorporating cooking into your healthy lifestyle may seem daunting, but the benefits are undeniable. By taking control of what you eat, you'll not only improve your health and fitness goals, but you'll also save money and feel more confident in the kitchen. From improving your gym performance to reducing stress, cooking is a simple yet effective way to take control of your health and wellness. So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and start cooking!