Do you ever have those days where you feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to cook, so you end up just ordering take-away or eating a frozen meal and snacks? We are definitely all guilty of this from time-to-time, and it’s completely normal to not want to cook after a full day of work and activities. Cooking a balanced and nutritional meal can take time and effort, so it’s easy to get sucked in to ordering take-out after a big day! This is obviously more than fine to do every now and then, however if it starts to become a habit and you’re still wanting to stick to your nutrition goals – that’s when it might start to get you in trouble!
Our solution to this? Meal prepping.
Meal prepping is the process of planning and preparing meals ahead of schedule. It is largely used by working individuals as a time-saving cooking technique, but the benefits go well beyond that. From a health and fitness perspective, it can be a great way to help keep you on track with your body composition goals by giving you greater control over what food you consume.
Here are seven reasons why you should start to include meal prepping in your weekly routine:
Preparing your meals daily ends up taking a lot more time than doing everything in one shot. Although you do need to invest some time upfront to plan out your meals properly and to cook them, you will still end up saving time overall. No longer will you have to stand in front of the fridge pondering what to cook – once your meals are prepared ahead of time, all you need to do is take them out of the fridge and heat them up!
There’s also the added bonus of saving time doing the dishes every night.
Eating healthy can often get a bad rep for being expensive, however it definitely doesn’t have to be if you plan in advance. Not only does meal prepping allow you to buy ingredients in bulk, it also helps you avoid impulse buying, ordering take-away and eating out. By planning in advance, you will know exactly what you need to buy, and you will be freed from buying pricey meals at lunch or dinner time.
Choose Healthier Options
When you choose what meals you want to cook in advance and set out the time to prepare them, you are far more likely to choose healthier options. You gain complete control over what you put into your meals, making it much easier to track calories and macro balance if desired. You are also ensuring you get the best-quality options and more fresh ingredients because you are selecting them yourself.
Dividing your meals up into containers won’t allow you to add more and will help teach you how much you actually need to feel full. You won’t be tempted to go for seconds either, as everything is portioned out in advance. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain weight, or put on muscle mass, managing your portion sizes correctly will play a key role in helping you achieve your chosen goals.
Reduces Food Waste
Having to throw away food because it’s become spoilt is the worst feeling! When you meal prep, you utilise all of your ingredients for the week, and it is very unlikely that you will have any leftover if you plan correctly.
When friends, family and coworkers see your commitment to a healthier lifestyle, chances are, you will inspire at least one person to make a healthy change in their life too.
Save Yourself The Stress
Coming home from work and trying to come up with a plan for dinner can be stressful. The same thing can happen if you’re busy at work and you can’t decide what to have for lunch. Getting into a habit with meal prepping saves you the “what’s for lunch/dinner” stress and also puts you at ease knowing you’ve got a healthy, nutritious meal there ready to go.
There is no right or wrong way to achieve a meal prep routine. Everyone has their own way of doing it and through trial and error you will begin to realise what works best for you, and what doesn’t! Whether it’s meal prepping lunches during the working week, dinners a few nights a week, some breakfast options to have on-the-go, or a combination of a few different meals – all of these benefits will be gained from any bit of meal prep you do – so why not give it a go!