Whether you’re single or caring for a family, working from home or always on the go, anyone can benefit from meal prepping. When you take just a little time to plan and prepare meals, it can be extremely helpful and can take a lot of the stress off when you already have a lot on your plate. Understanding why meal prepping in advance can be a good thing, along with learning how to do it the right way can help set you up for success.
The Benefits of Meal Prepping
There are many reasons why prepping ahead for your weekly meals can be advantageous. For many people, it helps them feel more organized and in control of their week. These particular perks are especially noteworthy.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
When you’re pressed for time, it’s way too easy to grab something out instead. Eating too much fast food, restaurant food, or processed packaged food doesn’t help optimize your health. However, meal prepping can keep you from eating out so much in a pinch, ensuring that your meals are more well-balanced. It’s also a great strategy for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Remember, your body needs a variety of nutrients to maintain good health, so search for vitamin and mineral supplements to help you enjoy a more well-rounded diet as well.
It may sound like meal prepping will take up extra time by adding one more thing to your to-do list, but when it’s done right, it can save you precious minutes and even hours on a daily basis. Taking the time to do a few steps early gives you way more options to choose from and can even help you have a hot meal ready and waiting when you walk through the door. While it does require an upfront investment timewise, overall, you will spend significantly less time in the kitchen throughout the week.
Eating out and grocery shopping meal by meal can be very expensive. Even when you’re preparing most of your meals at home, the wrong strategy could still leave you buying things you don’t need, leading to food waste. When you prep ahead, you can plan your meals based on ingredients you already have and items that are on sale, helping you save even more.
How To Meal Prep Successfully
Prepping meals and snacks in advance requires a little bit more than just chopping and portioning things out, although this can be a large part of it. These steps are key if you want to make the most of your time and money while nourishing your body.
Pick the Right Meals
Some meals just don’t work well unless you prep the ingredients immediately. Instead, choose options with components that won’t spoil quickly and are still enjoyable to eat when reheated. Also, try to pick meals that utilize similar yet versatile ingredients. For example, a big batch of spinach can be used to bring veggies to a smoothie, make a tasty salad, and add freshness to a pasta dish.
Plan your meals based on ingredients you already have on hand first. A quick survey of your kitchen can help you make a better shopping list. When you’re out, try to customize your menu based on what looks fresh, what’s discounted, or what you can buy in bulk.
Schedule a Prep Day
You can certainly meal prep in the morning to make it easier to get dinner on the table at the end of a long day, but setting aside an hour or so on the weekend is a better approach. Portion, chop, and wash your produce. Create a few freezer meals that you can pop in the slow cooker or oven later that week. Marinate and grill some protein to have on hand for lunch or dinner in a rush.
When you incorporate it into your regular routine, meal prepping can be easy, helpful, and fun. With just a few minutes each week, you can help support a healthier lifestyle and a less hectic schedule, giving you more time for the things that matter most to you.