No matter how hard you work in the gym, if your nutrition is not on-point, you will not achieve the results you’re looking for. “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym” is a popular (and accurate) phrase often thrown around in the health and wellness world. But eating healthy can be difficult and inconvenient. It requires planning and preparation—two things that go out the window when we’re pressed for time.
Wellness expert Nikki Sharp knows this. That’s why the social influencer and author of “The Five-Day Real Food Detox” (Ballantine Books, 2016) is releasing her second book—all about meal prep—on May 1.
We asked Sharp to share some insider info about her upcoming book, “Meal Prep Your Way to Weight Loss” (Random House, 2018), and why meal prepping matters.
24Life: This is your second book—tell us a little bit about it?
Nikki Sharp (NS): I’m so excited about it because it’s been two years in the making.
It’s all about meal prepping because I know that a lot of people get confused or upset about how to switch up meal prepping, and how to make it not boring. This book is for everyone who wants to lose weight, who wants to learn how to meal prep and who wants to have tips and tricks up their sleeve when they’re going to restaurants or when they’re traveling. It’s a four-week diet plan and each week is different.
24Life: What if I don’t like one of the recipes, or really like a week’s worth of recipes?
NS: I explain this in the book—if there’s a recipe you don’t like, just ditch that recipe and do the other one. If you like one week, just do the whole week for four weeks. There’s a ton of recipes and a ton of delicious ways of cooking. It’s all about creating easy meals without spending lots of time in the kitchen. It gives you shopping list each week and it tells you how long it’s going to take to meal prep.
I tested every single one of the meals and they’re insanely delicious. I am so excited for people to try the food because it’s so good.
24Life: Why is meal prepping important for maintaining a healthy diet?
NS: There’s a whole chapter on why meal prepping will help you beat emotional eating. I think that’s a really important thing to talk about. You can be set up for success with all of the meal prep in the world, but if you don’t get to the bottom of why you do certain things and how to combat them, it will be difficult to succeed. For example: You have a fight with a friend and you eat really badly that night. The next day you think, “Well, I ate badly, so I’m going to continue eating badly because I screwed up.” And then it just spirals out of control, right?
I go over how to stop that—how to stop the negative self-talk. That’s probably my favorite chapter in the whole book because it goes into self-love.
24Life: What are some of your go-to ingredients in the book?
NS: We call chia seeds, and turmeric, and blueberries and all of these types of foods “superfoods.” But you don’t want to eat chia seeds by themselves. I’ve broken everything down into a really easy to understand list of ingredients: super spices, super herbs, super fruits, super vegetables, super grains and what they’re good for and how to use them. So you can create a super meal with super ingredients.
It’s fool-proof, so that you just understand inherently if you eat this food you will naturally feel vibrant and full of energy and you will stop craving bad foods. Instead of trying to tell yourself, “Oh, I cannot have that,” you will just naturally stop craving [those foods].
24Life: How do you balance living a healthy prepared life, and a fun spontaneous life?
NS: Look, I want it to become a lifestyle. So if you want a drink, I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking, just choose one night. Here are the drinks to avoid. Here are the drinks to have. Do the best you can. And naturally, you will start to feel incredibly good. You will crowd out the bad foods and you will just crave the good ones. You’re still allowed the “bad things,” just start to minimize them. It’s about taking the guilt out of it.
I’m so passionate about this book. It’s everything that I’ve learned about health that works and doesn’t work. And it’s about stopping the things that don’t work because here are the things that work. And I have thousands of people that I tested these [recipes] on, so I know that they work.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Nikki Sharp; Ray Katchatorian