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Meal prep made easy

It’s no secret that the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts partake in the world of meal prepping, and many confess that this is the secret weapon behind their jaw-dropping body transformations. Meal prep is without a doubt one of the most reliable ways to consistently shed pounds, week after week.

What is meal prep? It is a method of batch cooking your meals once or twice a week, portioning meals into Tupperware and stacking it all conveniently in your fridge. Every meal and snack is pre-planned, pre-packed, and ready to be eaten on-the-go.

This method works for delivering major fat loss results for a multitude of reasons:

  • It eliminates mindless eating.
  • It ensures that every bite is approved.
  • It controls calorie and nutritional counts.
  • It plans when the nutrients will be consumed.

In other words, every single factor is taken into consideration to produce optimal levels of fat burning and muscle toning. If results slow or reverse in a given week then the plan is reevaluated and tweaked until progress resumes.

How to get started… The thought of cooking all of your meals ahead of time probably sounds a little intimidating, but don’t worry, let’s break it down into 7 simple, doable steps:

Meal Prep Step #1: Outline a Plan

Before you ever step foot in the kitchen to start the process of cooking and packing your meals, it is important to get an overview plan of your needs. Having a professional help you with this portion of the process is key to making sure that you pack and eat exactly the nutrients and in the portions that will get you to your fat goals. Outline these key parts of your plan:

  1. How many meals will you eat each day? Most plans will include three main meals and three smaller snack meals.
  2. What key nutrients will be included in each meal? For a program focused on losing fat and toning muscle, you will need each meal to be largely protein, with complex carbohydrates in the first three meals of the day and fiber included in the final 4 meals of the day.
  3. What size will your meals be? This is where it’s important to have a professional help you outline the parameters of each meal to ensure that you are eating enough protein, fiber, fat and complex carbs. You should know in ounces how much protein to consume in each meal as well as a physical measurement for the complex carbs, fiber and fat.

Meal Prep Step #2: Find Pre-Made Options

Let’s be honest, even if you love spending time in the kitchen, it’s not practical to expect that you will make every component of your meal prep meals from scratch at home. This is where having a great deli in your local supermarket or having a couple of restaurants nearby to pick up some of your meal list from will make a huge time saving difference in your meal prep experience. Look for these:

  1. Roasted Chicken, Turkey or Pork
  2. Cooked Brown Rice
  3. Steamed Veggies

Meal Prep Step #3: Create a List of Recipes

After you’ve crossed some of your food requirements off due to the convenience of your local deli or supermarket, it’s time to make a list of the items left to make. Find simple, wholesome recipes that will fill in the remaining gaps in your meal prep meals. Make a list of all the ingredients needed to make the recipes. Recipes like:

  1. Sautéed Veggies
  2. Slow Cooker Lean Beef
  3. Slow Cooker Chicken
  4. Baked Sweet Potato
  5. Rolled Oats
  6. Baked Fish (see recipe below)
  7. Egg Muffins
  8. Hard Boiled Eggs

Meal Prep Step #4: Go Shopping

Take your list of ingredients and your list of pre-made foods and get shopping! It can be very helpful to do a quick cleaning out of your fridge before your shopping trip, in order to free up room for the fresh items you’ll be purchasing. Also be sure to pick up containers for your prepped meals as well as cold packs and an insulated lunch bag if you don’t already have these items.

Meal Prep Step #5: Start Cooking

Take a couple of hours to cook the recipes on your list, as well as chopping any veggies for salads. Allow everything to cool before moving onto the next step.

Meal Prep Step #6: Measure and Pack Your Meals

It’s time to create your daily meals assembly line! Line up your containers, pull out your food scale and find your measuring cups. Weigh, measure, and season each meal before stacking and placing in the fridge. You may find it helpful to group a day of meals together, in the order that you will eat them.

Meal Prep Step #7: Grab-N-Go

This may be the easiest step, in meal prep success, but it is the most important.

Remember to grab your meals at the start of your day and to pack with plenty of cold packs. If you fail to bring your meals with you then you won’t reap the benefit of all that effort that you put into creating the meals. A plastic fork and a stack of napkins is also good to remember!

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to making meal prep happen! If you would like more assistance with your specific meal plan creation, or if you would like to join my results driven fitness program, then feel free to reach out to me now over email or phone.

I look forward to working with you!


The Effort Illusion

One of the most overlooked ways to avoid belly fat is to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Studies continue to show that this amount of sleep is necessary in order to create the optimal hormone balance for fat loss.

When you are faced with the option of watching one more episode or getting to bed for a solid night’s sleep, consider your abs and get the sleep!


Rainbow Trout with Mango Chutney

Here’s a tasty way to prepare and enjoy fresh trout from the lake! The mango chutney is phenomenal all by itself, with notes of ginger, curry and lime taking center stage. The simple marinade on the trout saturates pleasing flavor into each bite. This recipe is a great one to add to your meal prep recipe list.

Don’t limit yourself to just using trout with this recipe. If Mahi Mahi is more readily available to you then go with that.

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

Servings: 4

Here’s what you need

For the Rainbow Trout

  • 1 lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • dash of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 4 Rainbow Trout Fillets (or Mahi Mahi)

For the Chutney

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger Root, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 ripe Mangoes, chopped (don’t worry if your mangoes aren’t very ripe — once cooked it tastes much sweeter)
  • 2 lime juices
  • 1 tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of Red Pepper Flakes

For the Sautéed Cabbage

  • 1 small head Green Cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of black pepper

Instructions

For the Trout

  1. Place all ingredients, except the fish, in a high-speed blender. Blend until fully combined.
  2. Combine the marinade with fillets in a large ziplock bag. Place in the fridge for 60 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, if fish is frozen; or 375 degrees F, if fish is thawed.
  4. Grease a pan and place fish fillets on it. For frozen fish, bake for 12-20 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily. For thawed fish, bake for 6 minutes, then flip and bake for additional 6 minutes.

For the Chutney

  1. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger root and sauté for a minute.
  2. Add the onion and bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add the mango and spices. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, until everything has softened.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for another 10 minutes.

For the Sautéed Cabbage

  1. Wash cabbage and discard the first few leaves. Slice it thinly.
  2. Place a large skillet on medium heat. Add the coconut oil, and once that melts, add the cabbage.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

To Serve

  1. Arrange each plate with a bed of cabbage then top with a fillet smothered in chutney. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis

One serving equals: 364 calories, 13g fat, 45g carbohydrate, 38g sugar, 338mg sodium, 6g fiber, and 20g protein.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ARMEN T. GHAZARIANS

DEGREE: B.S. IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES FROM UC IRVINE

PT CERTIFICATIONS: ACSM EP-C, ACSM CPT, NASM CES, ACE CPT, NASM YOUTH, PRECISION NUTRITION LEVEL I, EQUINOX EFTI, KETTLEBELL ATHELETICS LEVEL I & II, PRE-POST NATAL, TRX, FMS, TRIGGER POINT THERAPY CERTIFIED