5 meal prep tips from a busy basketball dad
I know you think you’re the busiest person in the world.
And I feel for you, I do.
It can feel overwhelming when you have your kid’s sports,
Your kid’s driving lessons,
Maintaining your house
And getting your own workouts in.
Oh and how about making sure you are eating high-quality foods to fuel your performance and your fat loss efforts?
It’s a daunting task, but everything I just described was the life of one of our athletes.
This guy is busy.
But for some reason, he gets way more done than you.
Drives his kid around,
Maintains his house,
Prepares his food,
Prepares his kid’s food,
And prepares his wife’s food.
Oh yeah, and he gets in 3 workouts (at least) per week.
This guy is definitely a rock-star,
But he’s no fitness saint.
He’s just a regular dude that has built some high-quality habits into his life.
And these habits are no earth-shattering,
Super-ninja, fitness-nut health habits.
They are just basic, simple habits done CONSISTENTLY.
There’s no reason that if he can do it, you can’t.
You’re every bit the dude he is, you just need to make a few choices,
Plan a few things,
And build a few habits.
So where do we start?
Start with why
The title concept from Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why“ is a great place to start.
Ask yourself why is this important to me?
Why is it important for me to prepare our meals?
Why is it important for me to get back into shape?
Why is it important for me to dedicate my free time to this health stuff?
I’ll tell you why our rock-star does it:
So, he can have energy to attack the job he loves.
So he can perform better when coaching and playing ball.
So he can be a role model to his kid.
So his kid can grow up to be healthy and happy.
So he can be around to see his kid graduate high school, start university and one day, get married.
So, start with why this is important to you.
Because when obstacles come up.
And they definitely will.
Knowing why you’re taking time to prepare meals,
Squeezing in a quick workout,
Or turning off the TV so you can get a good night’s sleep,
Makes these tasks that much more justified.
Who are you?
Another way you can go about this is by tapping into who you are and how you see yourself.
For instance, our rock-star is a fit dad that provides healthy meals for his family.
That’s who he is.
That’s how he sees himself.
He’s also an athlete who works out and eats well.
When you know who you are and you act in accordance with that identity, life gets a lot easier.
If you identify as someone and act in opposition to it, it feels weird.
You feel like a hypocrite.
Something feels off.
You can feel it in your bones.
So, ask yourself “who am I?”
And then tie those healthy habits to your identity.
Once you know your values, your why and your identity, it’s time to act.
It’s not all airy-fairy introspection and reflection.
When it comes down to it, you have to get to work.
And take some action.
Here are some tips that this rock-star uses to make meal prep easier:
1. Check the fridge, freezer and cupboards for food to use up
There is likely a ton of food in your house right now that is just sitting there.
Going to the grocery store and buying more stuff, just pushes that food to the back.
Before you plan your menu for the week, do a quick scan of your freezer, cupboard and fridge for food you can incorporate into meals.
You’ll save money, cupboard space and even waste less food.
2. Plan the meals using a meal plan template
This is one of the 4S we discussed in this article here.
“We always have a meat, a vegetable and a smart carb, we’ve done that for years”.
Having a meal template helps to avoid reinventing the wheel every time you menu plan.
Here’s a template you can use from our friends at Precision Nutrition.
3. Batch cooking
Cooking one meal at a time is fine.
It’s nice to have a hot, fresh meal every now and then.
But, it’s not always realistic.
Chances are when you add up the time it takes to think about the meal you want to have, gather the stuff to prepare it, cook it, eat it and then clean up after, it’s 9 pm.
Our rock-star doesn’t have all night, every night to do this.
So, he cooks up a bunch of grub when he has some extra time, then he’ll either have left-overs the next day for lunch or supper,
Or he’ll freeze them up and have them for a meal when he has less time to cook.
He says “then we have all of the food there for us ready – no excuses. We don’t have to rush to Mcdonald’s if my son has a game right after school”
So, for example, he will cut up some ham steaks, cook them, eat half and then place wax paper between the others and freeze them for later.
Crockpots are a game-changer.
You can just throw in your ingredients before work, set the crockpot and then let it cook throughout the day.
You can do stews, soups, roasts, you name it.
And another benefit is that these meals can last for a couple days.
So, you’ll save time there as well.
Here is what our rock-star does…
“for days when I don’t have time to cook, I chop up some veggies, throw in some chicken, hold off on the noodles and make a crockpot chicken soup that’s ready to go after school. I just throw the noodles in after”.
5. Be cooler at tournaments
All-day tournaments can get expensive if you’re eating all of your meals out.
Do that over the course of the season and the bill really starts to add up.
Plus, is the food you’re eating at these restaurants fuelling your kid’s performance optimally?
Our guy doesn’t think so.
That’s why “we have a cooler full of vegetables, fruit and sandwiches that feeds us for the whole day. We don’t have to rush to Tim’s between games. We just find a spot in the gym and eat together as a family”
Nice job, dude!
One habit at a time
To try to do all of this right now would be a daunting task.
I would never expect you to make all of these changes at once.
Chances are if you tried to do all of this right now, you likely would not succeed.
In the book, The Power of Less, Leo Baubata talks about how attempting one new habit will give you an 85% chance of success, doing two new habits drops that to 35% and doing 3 new habits drops it to less than 10%.
So, pick one thing.
The most important thing,
Or the thing that resonates with you the most.
And attack it.
Try it for 2 weeks and then assess how it went.
Did it work for your family?
Did it give you results?
What was the outcome?
Then make decisions for the next action step based on that outcome.
Although this guy is a rock-star, meal-prepping ninja, he doesn’t do anything crazy.
He just does it.
And he does it consistently.
He knows why he is doing it,
The impact it has on his health,
His family’s health
And his ability to be around for his family for years to come.
When it’s hard or difficult, he just does it.
If he can’t,
he forgets it,
then gets back to business the next time.
Use these strategies from this busy, basketball dad to take your health,
And your body to the next level.