Tips for Preparing Meals in Bulking Season

Chicken and broccoli in a meal prep container

Training for muscle growth can be challenging, but bulking is one area where you don’t want to be skimping out on your food intake! On the other hand, you don’t want to just shovel any and every food in that you come across…rather, consuming healthy, nutrient dense foods that will put you on the track to success will get you jacked – and still maintain your health at optimum levels.

We know that over the course of time, just eating everything that comes at you during bulking season (i.e. think processed foods, simple carbs, tons of sugar, and trans fats) is not the smartest idea, especially if you are taking into consideration your wellness over the long term. Yes, getting enough protein is necessary– but at the same time, who has the availability to carry tons of tupperware around all day long eating at random intervals, either?

Thankfully, there is a way to successfully bulk, and with a combination of the right fats, carbs, and proteins, you’ll do it safely and effectively! So, how do we come up with a bulking meal plan? Once you determine the number of calories that you need to consume during the day, figuring out how many meals that those calories fit into is not a huge deal. Whether broken up into three main meals, two bigger meals and then some snacks, or grazing throughout the day, you’ll have to find what works best for you.

Let’s look at a good breakdown of macronutrients that should be consumed as part of your body building meal plan! Protein-wise, aiming for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein (per pound of body weight), or about 30 to 40 grams per meal. Lean choices of meat are wonderful for this, as are protein powders, eggs, cheese, and Greek yogurt. Carbohydrates should stay anywhere from 150-300 grams a day, and ideally should be complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole grain breads. Lastly, fat! Intake should range to no more than 80 grams a day, and come from sources such as nuts, heart healthy oils, and avocados, just to name a few. So now that we know what needs to be consumed in order to reach those bulking goals, how do you make a meal plan for all that muscle gain?

First, you need to have a game plan for the grocery store. Figure out approximately how many meals and snacks you’ll need to have for the week, that way you’re not randomly picking items off the store shelves that you don’t need. Once you know how many meals you need to prepare, then you can pick some recipes! Meals can be switched up during the week as well, so that can make prepping a bit easier. Say you get a bunch of chicken at the beginning of the week – you can cook it all up, and use it sporadically throughout the week in different meals. The same can be done with your side dishes; if you make one or two sheet pans worth of roasted potatoes and roasted veggies at the beginning of the week, you can eat that stuff for breakfast one day and part of it for lunch another. It’s endless as to how you mix and match your meals for the week.

Once you’ve done your shopping, come home and get on the ball with your prep. If the food goes straight into the fridge, it’s easy to leave it in there….and not actually prep it. Lessen your chances of wasting your food, and begin washing, cutting, peeling, and cooking as soon as you get home from your food run. If it makes meal prepping easier, grabbing some tupperware or other similar storage containers from the store can help as well, that way you’ve already portioned out your food for the day and can just grab it and run.

When planning your meals for the week, think about how many days you’d like to cook for. Some folks like to prep an entire week’s worth of food, and others will make food for a couple of days then prep again in the middle of the week. Do whatever works best for you and your schedule (and whichever way will set you up for success), but if you’re not a fan of leftovers, prepping again in the middle of the week might work best for you.

Determining your bulking meal plan will be individualized to everyone…however, just remember these tips: don’t go for long stretches during the day without eating – keep your blood sugar levels under control; make sure you’re drinking enough water; eat sources of lean protein, which will help with muscle growth; pick and choose your carbs carefully, so that you’ll get the energy you need; and lastly, limit the amount of sugar filled, processed foods in your diet to help keep your gains on track.

When it comes down to it, you’ve got your bodybuilding goals in mind; now, it’s time to plan your week, get your food prepared ahead of time, and get to work!

Don’t Forget! If you have a busy schedule, you can get high- quality meals from new rotating menus every week from Eat Rite Foods that consist of fresh never frozen, made from scratch meals that you get to pick and choose from to create a package that suits your needs.

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