Currently, with everyone being busy, planning in advance can help all of us become more successful at staying on track with our health. A few hours on the weekend can make a major difference in the ability to eat healthy during the week. To make it easy for us to eat healthy meals at home, spending an hour or two on the weekend preparing food makes it much easier to throw together quick, healthy meals for the whole family.
There are plenty of reasons why meal prepping is a good idea. Hopefully some of the following reasons will convince you to give it a try. Meal prepping will:
- Improve your nutrition
By planning in advance, you can aim to have nutritionally well-balanced meals throughout the week. You can make sure each of your dinners have the requisite veggies, protein, and grains.
- Allow you to take control
Planning your meals ultimately allows you to take control of your own personal nutrition needs. This comes in handy if you should stick to a low sodium diet or low cholesterol diet or diabetic diet, for example.
- Save money
When you only buy the ingredients you need, you cut down on food waste. That means less spoiled, forgotten food rotting in your fridge. This is good for the environment AND good for your wallet.
- Help make healthier choices
If your day runs late and you have yet to eat dinner, you’ll find yourself probably going out for fast food instead. As a result, you are most likely to end up exceeding your daily calorie, sodium, and sugar intake. Additionally, when you shop hungry, you are more likely to throw junk food into your cart and make unhealthy purchases. Meal prepping can decrease these occurrences.
- Decrease Stress
Stress can affect your immune system, cause digestive issues, and disrupt your sleeping patterns. The daily “what’s for dinner” thought that plagues our minds throughout the day is a constant stress to have, but it’s easily prevented by having a plan. You can always just add a salad to the preplanned meal you have waiting at home for the family.
- Lead to eating high quality foods
Homemade meals are almost always more nutrient-dense and filled with less calories, salt, and fat than fast food, takeout or microwave dinners. Choosing your own ingredients for the week allows you to make healthier food choices.
- Help with weight loss
Planning your meals in advance is key to weight loss. You know exactly what you are putting into your body, and how much. A weekly meal prep routine allows you to control how many calories you are taking in every day. Meal prep also teaches you balance and portion control, which is the perfect recipe for weight loss.
- Save time
Well thought out grocery lists will prevent you from wandering around the grocery store aimlessly, and your meal plans will save you from having to think about what to eat every day. Cook one or two larger dinners on the weekend so you’ll have something for when you arrive home exhausted and don’t feel like cooking. Pre-portion and split appropriate servings for easy family dinners. You can even do this with healthy snacks for the week.
- Aid with will power
As you get used to meal prepping and consistently eating healthy, you will gradually stop craving sugar and other fattening foods. Keeping a routine in place is key to healthy eating, and you will find it becomes easier to turn down the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating, because you will always have a healthy choice on hand!