Personal Trainer Tips: Prepare Your Food In Advance

Our Raleigh personal trainers recommend planning, preparing, and home-cooking your meals

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If you are serious about your health, then you probably choose to cook your own food instead of resorting to fast food or other convenience based, unhealthy foods.

When it comes to cooking, it is better to plan ahead in order to save trouble later on. No one wants to spend hours in the kitchen after a hectic day of work. The solution is preparing your food in advance to save time and avoid resorting to fast food when hunger pangs strike.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare your food in advance:

1)      Plan out your week’s menu in advance.

Think ahead and devise strategies to cook food that can be served again in a different way or recipe.Then buy all your groceries in bulk, accordingly. You’ll have to develop the habit of cooking larger portions, possibly doubling or even tripling your recipes. For example, if you are to prepare three meals that feature chicken, then buy thrice the amount of chicken on one trip to the store. Cook it all at once, and store the extra for later use.

With smart planning, you can create very different meals from the same main ingredients. The key is to think differently about food when planning your weekly menu. Instead of thinking in terms of individual, unrelated meals, think about meals that are connected by ingredients. This will save time and money! Frozen chicken breasts are also a great solution; buying them in bulk can be very cost effective.


2)      Become more organized
Use air tight containers to store your food in the refrigerator or freezer. Label your items and containers so you can identify them easily. Always label and date everything – it saves you a lot of time and trouble later on, instead of going through mystery containers. Consider putting two dates on your labels, the date it goes into the refrigerator, and a “freeze by” date.

With organization and proper timing you can ensure that you eat all the food before its spoiling date. Here is a helpful chart that gives you an estimated time frame for food shelf life in the refridgerator:

Category Food Refrigerator
(40 °F or below)
(0 °F or below)
Salads Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads 3 to 5 days Does not freeze well
Hot dogs opened package 1 week 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Luncheon meat opened package or deli sliced 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Bacon & Sausage Bacon 7 days 1 month
Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months
Hamburger & Other Ground Meats Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork Steaks 3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months
Chops 3 to 5 days 4 to 6 months
Roasts 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months
Fresh Poultry Chicken or turkey, whole 1 to 2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces 1 to 2 days 9 months
Soups & Stews Vegetable or meat added 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months
Leftovers Cooked meat or poultry 3 to 4 days 2 to 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties 3 to 4 days 1 to 3 months
Pizza 3 to 4 days 1 to 2 months


3)      Identify the foods that prepare well.

Some food aren’t suitable for advance preparation. You’ll recognize many of these foods yourself if you just think about your experience with leftovers. For instance, breaded and fried foods lose their appeal once cold. They are best served hot and freshly cooked.  Meals with dressing, especially mayonnaise, do better if eaten quickly. Many vegetables and fruits do not fare well if prepared ahead of time, such as tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and apples. Some exceptions are potatoes and carrots. You’ll have to identify these foods yourself through trial and error.

All it takes to prepare your food in advance is some careful planning and will power. Is staying fit and healthy a priority in your life? Then it’s worth the effort!
“To be prepared is half the victory” – Miguel de Cervantes

Nutrition Tips from Personal Trainers in Raleigh, NC

Here at Capital Strength & Conditioning, our personal trainers will provide you with the foundational diet and nutrition guidance that will help you align you are eating habits with your body composition and weight gain/loss goals.

If you would like to learn more about our personal training services in Raleigh click here!