While most Americans claim that they eat healthy meals, overwhelming evidence would suggest that's not quite true. If you're looking to develop healthy habits when eating during the day or at work, meal prepping is a great way to get some control. You can limit what you eat and also reap many other benefits while eating some of your favorite meals.
Here are four of the most exciting benefits of taking on a meal prep strategy.
1. Stay On Your Diet
Meal prep is a great way to manage what you eat from week to week. If you're struggling to stay on track with a diet, you're going to get much more control with a meal prepping schedule.
If you're showing up to work every day unsure what you're going to have for lunch, you're setting yourself up for diet disaster. There's nothing worse than trying to grab lunch when you're in a rush. If you look at all of the lunch options in your area, there are probably very few that are truly healthy.
Even when you choose a healthy option, you might end up eating larger portions than necessary or indulging in dessert. Instead of risking that, stay on your diet by adhering to a meal prep schedule.
If you're trying to go meatless or vegan, this is a great way to ensure that you don't slip up. You never know what could be lurking beneath that take out lo mein or in between the bread of a sandwich you picked up on the go.
If you want some meals just for getting in shape, check out these weight loss meals.
2. Keep a Tight Budget
Eating out is expensive. If you're going to try to save money, one of the best ways to start is to stop buying prepared food. When you prepare food on your own, you eliminate the most expensive element, which is the labor cost.
When you pay people to make food for you, you also don't know what ingredients they're using. You could use much better ingredients without compromising any of the flavors by cooking at home.
Your meal prep time will be much more exciting if you think about it in dollars. If you can put together 5 meals for less than $20, you're going to be saving upwards of $80 per week. You can take that extra money and put it in a jar on your counter.
Every time you prepare your meals, add to it so you can see in real time how much money you're saving. You might find that it motivates you, even more, to keep up with your meal prep schedule.
3. Save Valuable Time
Speaking of schedules, meal prepping saves you massive amounts of time. When you choose to meal prep, you save time through the week trying to figure out where you're going to eat, waiting in line, and commuting.
Instead of doing all that on your lunch break, you could be reading and learning new things. You can finally break into that stack of books that's been staring at you day in and day out.
All that extra time could even allow you to get out of work if you play your cards right. At workplaces with flexible schedules, your boss might let you start leaving earlier if you spend your lunch break working.
4. Learn New Things
When you're diving into meal prepping, you're diving into a whole new world of cooking. If you don't already cook very often, this can be an exciting adventure into new recipes, new flavors, and the potential that those cool kitchen gadgets could hold.
To make things interesting with meal prep, you've got to try out new recipes. If you don't explore the potentials held by new recipes, you're going to bore yourself pretty quickly. This will motivate you to try out some new foods and combinations you might never have suspected you'd enjoy.
Take risks and make interesting stews. Try out a big bean chili that you've always wanted to try. Experiment with a few spices that could offer some new experiences to you as a chef and as an eater.
How To Do It
When you're getting into meal prepping for the first time, it could be intimidating. All the logistical nightmares involved might seem like they're too much to handle. If you've never cooked this much food or stored food for this long before, you might have some reasonable fears.
Rest assured that less experienced chefs than you have done meal prep before and lived to tell about it. If you can boil water or make a pot of rice, you can handle this.
Start off with one meal that you know you'll enjoy. Make sure to add some variation to it here and there so it doesn't get too boring. With one meal as the base for your meal prep adventure, you'll figure out the logistics and then you can branch out.
Make sure you leave yourself time. If you rush with something like roasted vegetable or rice, you're going to be extremely disappointed with the final product. You need enough time for everything to cook adequately before you start packing it up.
You also need to choose some smart storage solutions. After you've let your food cool down, you need to put it in tightly sealed storage containers. Letting your food sit out could spoil it and poor packaging could give it freezer burn.
Meal Prepping Is Healthy and Fun
If you've never tried meal prepping before, you'd be surprised to find out how good it feels. You'll be enriched by all the new recipes you'll take on and feel better about your body by eating healthy.
If you want to try out a low-carb diet, check out our latest guide for how you can work that into your meal prep plan.