In a word, “yes,” and especially for gastric sleeve patients. Between work, school, family, and everything else on your figurative plate, it’s easy to let nutrition slide on your literal plate. One thing that helps more than anything else I can suggest is meal prepping.
Plan, Plan, and Then Plan Some More
Sleever April confesses, “I find if I forget to prep, my week is terrible. I usually prep breakfast and lunch…that way I can quickly grab my snacks and start my day.”
She’s in good company. Maybe you’re an old pro at packing your lunch to save money, but think about how much more smoothly your life will flow—not to mention how much more weight you could lose—if you prepped the rest of your meals and snacks. I mean, do you have a ton of energy to cook every night when you get home? Probably not. And wouldn’t you rather spend your energy taking a walk or hanging out with your family anyway?
Then there’s the reality that getting in all of your protein and produce will be nearly impossible on a consistent basis without meal prepping. Reaching for a protein-rich hard-boiled egg, rather than a carby granola bar, is a lot easier if the eggs are already cooked and waiting for you in the fridge!
One of the steps involved in planning is hunting for recipes you’ll enjoy making and eating. And keep investing a little time once in a while digging up new recipes so you don’t get bored. The good news is that there’s so much information on the web, from recipes to entire weekly meal plan ideas, that it should be relatively easy to get started. Endobariatric even offers a printable weekly meal plan sheet and printable grocery list to help you stay organized.
Weigh the Real Cost
Most of us don’t like the idea of spending more than we have to on anything. But when it comes to post-surgery success, you truly can’t put a price tag on your health. Sleever Teresa has a great way of looking at the cost of higher-quality food: “If we cut back on all the stuff that caused us to get here in the first place and purchase items that are so much better for us, it (actually costs) so much less.”
If the best quality protein powder costs over $1 per serving, for example, you might be tempted to say no and opt for something of lesser quality. But how much money would you spend on food that packs 30 grams of protein per serving? Just get the higher quality stuff. It’s the same with investing in perfect-portion containers for meal prepping or foods like pre-chopped veggies or rotisserie chicken. Whatever makes your life easier and helps you stay on track with your nutrition is worth its weight in gold.
Yes, meal prep can be very labor- and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. Maybe you genuinely enjoy cooking and have the time to do so. But maybe that sounds like your idea of hell. Please know that meal prep doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even necessarily have to result in homemade meals. The most important thing is the thought you put into it. Make big batches of meats, soups, etc. if you want to, but know that it still counts as meal prep to stock up on pre-bagged salad mix or ordering a meal delivery service from a company that specialize in low-carb and keto meals.
If you do plan on cooking, take a realistic look at your schedule. Will you set aside half a day every weekend to make and freeze proteins in individual portions? Or are you going to cook batches two or three times a week so you can skip the freezer and keep pre-cooked meat in the fridge?
The bottom line is that there’s no one way to do meal prepping “right.” It’s all about doing what works for you and having a plan for success every day.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.