Even the world’s greatest workout is mostly worthless without a smart nutrition plan. But eating enough to see the gains you want takes time in the kitchen. So we grilled Josh Hingst, nutrition specialist and head strength and conditioning coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, for his proven shortcuts to help you plan and prepare quick, easy meals. Borrow these meal-prep tricks to build a leaner, brawnier you — and less time spent toiling in the kitchen.
Make Faster Protein Meals
Eating 20 to 40 grams of protein five times throughout the day is optimal for building muscle and maintaining low body fat, Hingst says. But being time-crunched is no excuse to skimp on protein, even if you’re too busy to shop and cook. “Mail-order meat-delivery services, like ButcherBox streamline shopping trips with farm-to-doorstep shipments of organic chicken, beef, and pork,” Hingst says. With a good cookie sheet, you’ll be able to handle most of the heavy lifting.
Do this: On All-Clad’s stainless steel roasting sheet, line up a few servings of lean protein, like organic chicken breasts. Scoop a dollop of organic roasted chipotle salsa onto each serving. For chicken, cook about 30 minutes at 400°, or until the internal temperature reads 165° on your meat thermometer.
Double Down on Veggies
Skip the $14 juices and get smarter about your produce at home. “Super soups, like broccoli-cauliflower, are moderate in fat and extremely dense in vegetable concentration,” Hingst says. Save time and boost disease-fighting antioxidant intake by cooking a pot on the weekend and enjoying all week long. Freeze the leftovers for next time.
Do this: Broccoli-Cauliflower Super Soup
- 1 small head broccoli
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
- 1 can chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
- 2 cups water
- Preheat large pot to medium-high. Add 2 tbsp coconut oil.
- Chop celery, carrot, and onion and add to pot, sautéing until soft, occasionally seasoning with salt.
- Chop cauliflower, broccoli, parsley, along with additional 2 tbsp coconut oil.
- Sauté until cauliflower and broccoli are tender, then add chicken stock, lemon squeeze, and water to chosen consistency. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Pair with a protein, like roasted chicken (see Shortcut #1).
Makes 8-10 servings.
Boost Gut Health with Pickled Foods
Improve digestion with kimchi and ginger. Pair with grilled pork or another protein. Pickled vegetables, especially kimchi, can promote healthy gut microbiota, according to Hingst. “A healthy gut translates into a wide range of benefits including increased bioavailability of nutrients from food and a stronger immune system,” he says.
Added bonus: Research suggests ginger may reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after heavy training.