In our fast-paced world, having consistent routines is excellent for staying grounded. Luckily, you can choose from many strategies to make eating habits structured, planned and easy to maintain.
Meal prepping is a great way to balance life with a single step. Take a look at the following benefits of meal prep to see how this change can improve your daily routine.
What Is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping essentially means cooking all or most of your meals for the week at once. You might choose Sunday as “meal prep day,” when you pick some recipes, get your ingredients and cook your meals. You can also have your meals delivered right to your doorstep and forego the cooking step entirely.
Meal planning is a fantastic way to simplify your routine — it eliminates the decisions regarding what to prepare and eat throughout the week. It also helps reduce your chances of stopping at a fast food joint after a long day. Just reheat your prepped meals and enjoy!
This simple step puts fresh meals in your fridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can enjoy a wide variety of nutritious ingredients without needing to cook.
Why Should You Meal Prep?
With the easy process of preparing meals during your free time, you can instantly see the benefits of meal prepping. Your daily routine becomes more manageable when you know fresh and healthy meals are in the fridge, ready to be enjoyed. Besides making your life easier, plenty of other factors highlight the importance of meal prepping.
Take a look at the following pros of meal prep to see how this change can benefit your health and quality of life:
1. Save Time
Allowing yourself time in the morning to get ready and mentally prepare for the day ahead is essential for boosting your energy and keeping a clear mind. With meal planning, you have more time in the morning to get some exercise in, complete some last-minute work, get the kids ready for school or simply relax before the work day begins.
The average adult spends about an hour each day cooking, and 31% consider time to be the biggest barrier to cooking more often. And this survey doesn't even include time spent at the grocery store or picking out recipes, which can add hours to each week. With meal prep, you can add a lot more time to your week, especially when your prepped meals come pre-cooked.
Preparing your meals in advance saves you the time you would typically spend cooking and deciding what to eat. You can wake up in the morning knowing your meals for the day are ready without stressing about the little details that go into cooking.
2. Eat Healthier Meals
Meal prepping doesn't have to coincide with a healthy eating goal, but many preppers start meal prepping to improve their diets. You can plan weekly meals that are healthy and fulfilling, and you'll be less likely to grab fast food after a stressful day if you have meals ready for you at home. This makes sticking to your dietary goals much easier.
We all know that eating healthier becomes easier when we eat at home, and meal prep is an excellent way to get your dose of home-cooked meals. The research agrees: One study shows that following a meal prep program increased the participants' likelihood of eating home-cooked meals.
3. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Choosing your next meal can bring on a few moments of stress that distract from the cooking process. Whether you have had a big day, are trying to maintain a specific diet or have no clue what to make for dinner, the struggle to decide what to cook can consume your mind and distract you when you return home at the end of the day if you don't like to cook.
Meal prepping eliminates all of this stress. You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner ready when you get out of bed in the morning and when you arrive home after work. With fresh ingredients in your fridge daily, you can ensure a healthy meal for everyone in your home in the nutritional portion sizes your body needs.
Because meal prepping often helps you create healthy eating habits, it can also support lowered stress levels. Diets abundant with fresh, whole foods are associated with reduced stress, depression and anxiety, while the typical Western diet can adversely affect mental health.
4. Save Money
Imagine if you could limit grocery store trips as much as possible. Maneuvering the aisles, picking out ingredients you are unsure you will ever use and trying to find coupons can all be things of the past. With the drastic spike in food prices in recent years, saving money when shopping for healthy ingredients can seem challenging.
If you buy pre-prepped meals, each entree includes the ingredients you need to form healthy eating habits and energize your body for the day ahead. You no longer have to buy ingredients and other food items separately, saving a significant amount of money you would typically spend at the grocery store. When you go to the grocery store with a plan, you can resist impulse buys and avoid the food waste associated with purchasing ingredients you don't use. Plus, fewer purchases mean more money in your pocket!
5. Develop New Skills and Nutritional Knowledge
Meal prepping is a somewhat daunting task. You might be filled with questions surrounding what meals are the healthiest and how to choose the right recipe. Not to mention trying to determine what containers are best.
As you become a pro, you'll learn all about staying organized and what meals your body responds best to. You might also figure out some tips and tricks for minimizing your time in the kitchen, like using fewer dishes.
You can also take advantage of your meal prep journey to learn more about the science of nutrition. To ensure your meal plan results in healthier eating — if that's your goal — you'll need to understand what makes a meal good for you. And once you plan to eat those foods, you'll benefit from a healthier diet. Researchers have linked meal planning behaviors with greater food and vegetable intake and lower body mass indexes, largely because people who meal prep learn so much about things like fat consumption, cholesterol, sugar intake, micronutrients and macronutrients.
6. Provide Stability and Routine for Eating
Having a stable eating routine is essential for good physical and mental health. You have the freedom to create a comfortable eating schedule that fits your work routine, time with friends and family and the hobbies you enjoy most.
Meal prep lets you take advantage of creating a routine for your eating habits. Eating at scheduled times can provide a steady source of energy throughout the day, consistently putting your metabolism to work. This step is also vital for maintaining a balanced diet containing all the food groups. You can feel refreshed daily with a scheduled meal time and fresh ingredients for a regular diet.
7. Help You Resist Temptations
We all know the dangers of going grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Impulsive food choices when shopping and cooking can lead to larger portions and overindulging in ingredients that don't enhance our bodies' functions.
By preparing your weekly meals ahead of time, you make conscious food selections that ideally align with your goals. This simple change lets you enjoy healthier food options with a few sweets here and there to reward you for your impressive time management skills.
8. Simplify Portion Control
Overeating is a common problem, especially if you aren't listening to your body's hunger cues. One of the benefits of meal planning is that it allows you to create your portions beforehand and follow nutritional guidelines.
Researchers found that, when planning meals, people would choose different portion sizes based on their mindsets. Those who thought about the health effects of foods were more likely to reduce their portion sizes. Since meal planning occurs separately from when you eat your food, you can use a more health-conscious mindset when determining your portions.
Portion control can be especially important for specific diets requiring certain ingredients. Meal prep for keto diets and calorie deficit plans are easily manageable, making weight loss and healthy habits more achievable than ever.
9. Have Fun With a New Hobby
You probably didn't think of meal prepping as a way to have some fun, but it could be just that. With so many options, you can always try new things and explore new ways of eating, such as Mediterranean and plant-based diets.
Meal prep is also a way to meet new people. You'll find a plethora of online communities dedicated to meal prep. Just search “#mealprep” on your favorite social media site, and you're bound to get plenty of inspiration. You could even document your own meal prep journey or share recipes on a blog or social media profile.
10. Cut Down on Food Waste
In the United States, almost 40% of all food becomes waste each year. Over 108 billion pounds of nutrients turn into trash because of bulk buying or letting groceries go bad before using them.
Meal planning is great for maintaining portion sizes to reduce as much waste as possible. With the proper meal prep, you can enjoy healthy portion sizes that make you feel full without the need to storing too much food at the end of the day. You can eat a full meal or easily store leftovers for the next day.
Meal Prep Made Easy With Fresh Meal Plan
With a team of nutrition experts by your side, meal prepping can become a regular part of your daily routine. At Fresh Meal Plan, you can select options that satisfy your taste buds and arrive promptly at your front doorstep with a click of a button.
You can select six, 10 or 14 meals a week to best fit your routine. Check out our menu and plan options today to turn your busy schedule into a manageable routine for the whole family.