You’ve opened and closed the fridge more times than the tabs on your computer, that once fully stocked snack drawer is looking emptier by the day and, let’s just say, your pre-lockdown healthy eating promise has been well and truly broken.
Change isn't always easy and sticking to a diet during such a challenging time is, of course, going to be tough. But it doesn’t need to be! If anyone knows a thing or two about healthy eating, it’s John Clark, also known as The Meal Prep King. John, and his girlfriend Charlotte, have lost over 15 stone between them and, you may think this has been down to a harsh, restrictive diet, but nope. The couple insist that they still eat everything they want and enjoy. They simply use meal prepping and calorie counting to allow them to enjoy all of their favourite foods.
Sounds too good to be true, right? For those struggling to stay on track during lockdown, we asked John to share his dieting tips and tricks.
“I’m not a huge fan of the word ‘diet’. Mainly because modern day society has linked the word ‘diet’ to many restrictive and unsustainable eating plans designed, in my opinion, to confuse people. When put simply, the word diet means “the kind of food that a person or animal habitually eats”. I prefer to use the word ‘lifestyle’ as it signals something you will do for the rest of your life, rather than a short-term change in a bid to lose weight.
Due to the current situation, we’re at home more than ever, being less active and, many of us are eating through sheer boredom and stress. Whilst exercise is extremely beneficial (we’re all missing the gym, right?), I’d like to point out that my girlfriend lost 6 stone in 10 months eating everything from spinach and kale to chips and pasta and everything in between – and she never set foot in a gym! This shows just how important a healthy, balanced diet is for us all.
What is meal prep?
I have used meal prepping to control my eating habits for over 18 years and I’ve never looked back. Meal prepping is simply the process of pre-preparing your meals. I meal prep a full weeks meals at a time, however, you don’t have to do the exact same. Try prepping lunches or snacks first if a full weeks meal preparation seems like too much and work your way up. You’ll be surprised how therapeutic is can be and it’s reassuring to know that you’re prepared for the week ahead, giving you one less thing to think about when mealtimes come around.
Being prepared with your food not only helps you maintain a balanced lifestyle, but it saves you a lot of cash too, whist keeping you in total control. Having a fridge or freezer with pre-prepared, healthier snacks and dinners is a great way to stay on top of your game during lockdown.
What are some healthy meal prep ideas?
Think about the foods you love and try to make healthier alternatives. As an example, I make things such as home-made chocolate doughnuts and pizzas – these both freeze perfectly too, so you can make in bulk and eat throughout the week. It’s worth remembering that the Corona virus may have kept us all indoors for now and that’s something you can’t control. However, you’re still in control of what you eat. So, don’t underestimate the power of being prepared using meal prep.
Another fantastic Meal Prep King tip is to make your own ‘fake-away’ meal alternatives. We make healthier versions of fast food favourites Subway, McDonalds and KFC on a regular basis. My personal favourite, and a huge hit on my Instagram, has to be my very own version of the famous Big Mac Burger. It has less calories than the original, tastes fantastic and it’ll keep you fuller for longer too!
Should I count calories or just eat healthy?
To help you stay on track during lockdown, decide how your calorific needs have changed given your current circumstances and adjust your calories accordingly. Sit down one evening and choose a day you are going to set aside to cook and prep. Make a list of things you need and shop for those ingredients the day before so you are all organised when it comes to meal prep day. With kids off school, why not get them involved too? Family food prep can be a great way to do things as a family, while allowing your children to learn something new.
Remember, there are things you can still control during the Corona Virus pandemic. It’s a perfect time to learn some life-long skills that you will most definitely continue once lockdown finishes. For me, meal prep is a way of life.”
Want to find out more about John’s story and, of course, his tasty meal prep recipes and tips? His Instagram is the place to go!
If you’re planning on pre-preparing meals, here’s 5 meal prepping tips to follow to ensure you’re prep goes smoothly.