Fuel Up has a wide array of healthy choices and you can mix and match according to your caloric needs. Popular dishes include the salmon burger and turkey meatballs. Image Credit: Supplied

Securing your weekly healthy meals can be quite a task. This is the reason why bulk preparations are favourable. Cook once or twice for the entire week, store in individual containers, refrigerate and consume as needed. If you cannot make time and do it yourself, there is an alternative. It comes at a cost, some more than others, but rest assured you’re getting your money’s worth when it comes to nutrition.

Enter Fuel Up, one of Dubai’s meal prep outlets.

“I was looking for a meal prep company… but most of them are expensive, they force you to subscribe monthly. What’s good about Fuel Up is that you can make an order every 2 or 3 days. You save so much time because you get ready to eat meals. I travel so much I take my food with me everywhere I go,” says fitness buff Mohamed Naeem who works as a flight attendant.

Flight attendant Mohammad Naeem carries his meals with him everywhere he goes. Photo: Supplied

The selection they provide allows you to personalise meals and widen your food choices, offering you combinations you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.

Personal trainer and body transformation coach, Karina Frelich, shares: “The best for me has to be salmon burgers with sweet mashed potato and mixed veggies. I love this meal, as it’s a different take on the regular salmon. It makes my diet more interesting.”

 As my diet is more consistent, my performance in the gym has improved. Better diet means better performance.”

 - Karina Frelich, Personal trainer and body transformation coach


Nutritious meal preps have gained popularity in the last few years and are especially valuable to busy health-conscious people. Where this company separates itself from the pack is its focus on fuelling seriously active individuals. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts greatly benefit from the service.

Ever active as I am, I subscribed to Fuel Up for a month and found the experience amazing. Besides spending minimal time in the kitchen, I was also able to customise meals through its website and know exactly the amount of macros I’m getting with detailed nutritional breakdown given in every meal. This is particularly useful if you’re counting calories. With a steady dose of healthy meals and regular exercise, I was performing at my optimum levels and was in the best shape of my life. No bull.

“With my busy lifestyle I simply don’t have time for cooking and on few occasions my diet slipped due to lack of time. I have decided that I need some help to stay on track with my nutrition… As my diet is more consistent, my performance in the gym has improved. Better diet means better performance.” adds Frelich.

Whatever our fitness goals are, getting help from meal prep outlets can only be a huge boost taking us a step closer to being the best versions of ourselves. I recommend it to everyone serious enough in taking their game to new heights.

 

NUTRITION — TAKE IT FROM AN EXPERT

Meal prep companies have become an indispensable component in UAE’s fitness industry. For insightful information about the service that’s keeping athletes and fitness enthusiasts in tiptop shape, Gulf News tabloid! talks to nutrition expert Lauren Jacobsen. The head of Fuel Up and Kcal director of nutrition, Jacobsen, is also a former IFBB competitive figure athlete and has over 15 years of experience in nutrition and supplementation.

 For maintaining weight, building muscle and being active a good place to start is with a balanced macronutrient ratio consisting of 40 per cent protein, and 30 per cent of each carbs and fat.”

 - Lauren Jacobsen, MHead of Fuel Up and
Kcal director of nutrition

 

How important is nutrition?
Nutrition is paramount. Food is what fuels and helps muscles recover from workouts. Without proper nutrition it is impossible to make a full recovery for your next workout or achieve the physical results you want. Fresh, whole foods provide the body with all the micronutrients – vitamins and minerals and macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats that we need to repair muscle tissue, keep our metabolism functioning optimally and keep our muscles loaded with energy to power workouts. The trick is figuring out what works best for your body. Determining the right balance of macronutrients at the right calorie range ensures you have enough energy to get through your day and your workouts, while also losing body fat and building muscle!

Why do you think meal prep outlets are relevant nowadays?
Most people are too busy to think about what to eat, let alone have the time to actually make it! Multiple commitments combined with long work hours, can make it difficult to just find time to squeeze in a workout. Fuel-Up delivers simple and delicious food that saves time, but also provides the right macronutrients as per your goals. We offer customisable and affordable nutrition made easy, for your lifestyle needs and goals.

Tell us briefly how the service started.
We recognised that most offerings provided set-meals without really allowing for choice based on personal goals and needs. Having personally competed in fitness for so long, we wanted to come up with a concept that could accommodate not only those who had an interest in competing but also those that wanted to fuel their bodies for any sport or fitness related goal that required specific nutrition. Fuel-Up was the first complete online meal prep company to offer such choice to our clients. They can select not only the specific macros and the amounts for each meal, but can also determine how many meals they want for each order. Unlike other companies, clients are not locked into long-term commitments or subscriptions.

What’s the most popular dish/combo?
Some of our most popular dishes and combinations include the Southwest Chicken with Whole-wheat Pasta and Mix Vegetables, the Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash with Spinach and the Beef Burger with White Potato and Green Beans. Although these are our most popular combos, we have an unlimited variety of combos and homemade sauces that allow each person to make their very own favourite meals. In addition, we have an assortment of healthy delicious breakfast items to choose from such as the new favourite dairy free banana blueberry waffles, and a variety of delicious snacks including the top chocolate crisp protein bar.

To stay healthy, in general, what should people be eating and in what portions?
Generally speaking, a healthy diet should consist of natural, whole food sources, with limited amounts of processing or added ingredients like flour and sugar. A good diet should come from a wide variety of foods. Include carbs such as fibrous whole grains, plenty of green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, root vegetables such as pumpkin and sweet potato. While proteins should consist of eggs, low fat dairy, lean cuts of red meat, chicken, and fatty fish such as salmon. Lastly, for fats consider avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

An individual’s macronutrients and calories is completely dependent on their personal goals, their current weight, activity level and their body’s unique metabolism. For maintaining weight, building muscle and being active "a good place to start is with a balanced macronutrient ratio consisting of 40 per cent protein, and 30 per cent of each carbs and fat." If you’re looking to lose weight, dropping your carbs and upping your protein and fat is ideal, while if you’re looking to gain weight, upping your carb intake, and dropping your protein and fat is recommended.

Why do you think people tend to fail with their diet/nutrition?
The number one reason most people fail is a lack of consistency. You have to be as consistent with your nutrition as you are with your workouts. It’s a lifestyle, not just something you do for a hobby! Committing to eating healthy all the time guarantees results. Of course it can be a challenge if you’re not used to eating healthy all the time, consider using the 80/20 rule. Eighty per cent of the time eat healthy, good clean food, and twenty per cent of the time allow yourself a few treats that will satisfy your cravings. Having the occasional treat can function as reward and keep you on track the rest of the time!