Bulk Meal-Prep Strategies for Muscle Mass Gain
Most lifters, bodybuilders, and athletes who struggle to gain weight know exactly what foods they should be eating and how much. The issue is being able to organize their eating schedule and setting aside time to prepare their meals. The suggestions I’m going to lay out are very simple yet effective ways to ensure that you can maintain a consistent eating schedule. You will also save a ton of money versus eating out!
Dry goods like rice, gluten-free oats, and sweet potatoes should be bought in bulk so that you always have plenty of good quality carbs to refuel with. When it comes to meat, I like to buy at least a week’s worth of food at a time. I will freeze about half of it the meat I buy, and the day before I cook my last bit of thawed meat, I will remove the rest of the meat from the freezer. If you really want to buy meat in bulk, you can look to purchase directly from a local farm. Many farms and ranches will give you the option to buy livestock by the whole, half, or quarter animal. Do some research at eatwild.com to find grass-fed steer, lamb, goat, and other varieties of livestock. Just make sure you have a big enough freezer to store all of the meat!
2. Cook in bulk
The goal is to get a maximum return on your cooking time and to make delicious food while you’re at it. My go-to choice for cooking in bulk is using my slow cooker because it takes minimal time to season the meat and vegetables, and you do not have to be home while it is cooking! I’ll either cook something on low in the morning before I leave for work, or at night so that I have food for the next day. Lamb shoulder, pork spare ribs, and beef bottom round are just a few of the cuts that cook well in the slow cooker. Chilis and stews are excellent options as well! Experiment with different combinations of meats and vegetables and see what you like. In general you are better off using tougher cuts of meats and heartier vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots) because they won’t turn mushy after several hours in the slow-cooker. I prefer using the oven for poultry such as a whole chicken or duck because it makes for a nice crispy skin. The only drawback is that you won’t have the flexibility to leave your home while the oven is on.
3. Rotate through your vegetables
I don’t suggest buying vegetables in bulk because they will spoil too quickly (with the exeption of onions, etc). Instead, I suggest buying 3
different types of veggies that will last over a three day period. For example you could buy 1lb of mustard greens, 1 head of green cabbage, and 1 head of cauliflower, and make sure you are done eating them by day 3. You could buy frozen vegetables, but by keeping mainly fresh vegetables in your home, you will be more motivated to stay on top of your vegetable intake to keep them from spoiling! If you are really lazy with the vegetables, however, you can get a greens powder like Green Vibrance that you can mix with water to get your servings of greens in.
***On a side note, many people seem to think that the more bland and tasteless a food is, the healthier it is for you, which couldn’t be further from the truth! I would never suggest to prepare a week’s worth of plain skinless chicken breasts, brown rice, and steamed brocolli with no seasoning because that is incredibly unappetizing in my opinion! Why not enjoy a much more well balanced and tasty diet that includes more than just “lean meats” and veggies? Eat the skin, bone marrow, and organ meats, use all sorts of fats and oils, and explore beyond the kale-broccoli-spinach triangle when selecting your greens!