Preparing your weekly meals in advance is a fantastic way not only to save yourself time and money but to really experience the health benefits of meal prepping.
Meal prepping can help you to implement healthy eating habits despite having a busy, hectic schedule through portion control and calorie management. Prepping food helps to cut down on food waste, too, so you can help out the environment while keeping on top of your work-life balance.
In today’s article, we explore the organizational and health benefits of meal prepping. Here’s why meal prep is important!
What is meal prepping?
Let’s start with the basics. Meal prepping is essentially meal planning, and the great thing is, you can plan as much or as little as you like.
The central idea of meal planning is that you schedule your meals for the week and prepare them ahead of time. For example, on Sunday afternoon, you sit down at the table and plan out exactly what meals you will eat every day of the week. You then set about preparing then storing those dishes in advance.
Throughout the following week, you have all your meals ready to go. You simply reheat them when it’s mealtime. As you can imagine, there are plenty of meal prep benefits that make it a popular option if you’ve got a busy work-life schedule to maintain.
The major benefits of meal prepping
From saving money and time, to waste elimination and healthy meal preps; here are the major benefits of meal prepping ahead of time:
One of the most popular benefits of meal planning is simply saving time. Preparing all of your meals ahead of time means that you can bulk cook food and store them for eating throughout the week.
You don’t need to worry about cooking lunch or dinner every day, because you already prepared it at the start of the week. If you’re in a rush or have a meeting to keep, it doesn’t matter; all you have to do is take your ready-made meal out of the fridge and reheat it.
You can also save money by learning how to meal prep efficiently. Plan your meals and purchase the right ingredients in bulk during your weekly grocery shop.
With everything planned, you’re less likely to spend extra money on takeaways or impulse buys when you’re going around the supermarket. With meals already planned, you can budget better, too, knowing precisely what you need to spend each week and what you’ll have leftover.
Cut down on waste
Preparing meals for the week not only helps you save time and money, but it helps you to cut down on waste.
Everything you buy on your grocery trip will be included in the weekly schedule, and there’s no reason why there should be leftover cucumbers in the fridge or lettuce going moldy at the end of the week.
All your ingredients get put into the dishes, and if you make too much, you can freeze it as a backup meal.
Meal prepping to lose weight is an excellent option for anyone cutting down on calories. Preparing your meals in advance allows you to portion each meal too.
You’re able to divide that bulk chili or bulk lasagna up into a smaller meal prep portion size, thereby cutting out the temptation to finish all the leftovers in one sitting!
While you might be preparing smaller portions, preparing weekly meals in advance actually helps you avoid hunger.
That’s because you’ve always got your lunch or dinner ready to go. You’re never hanging around snacking while you’re waiting for the food to cook, and you’re not as tempted by that takeaway pizza if you know you can eat as soon as you get home.
Plan your nutrition
Preparing healthy meals is much easier ahead of time, as you can ensure that each meal has the nutrients and ingredients you need for a balanced diet.
Rather than simply throwing together whatever you have in the cupboard, you’re actively planning a healthy eating schedule that can be packed with nutrients, greens, and much more through healthy meal prep plans.
Top tips for meal prep
Meal prepping might seem like a daunting logistical task, and yes, at first, you might find you’ve missed the odd meal out or need to find a way to add more balance.
But meal prepping gets easier as your planning improves, and the best way to improve is to get started!
Here are our top meal prep tips to help you get going:
Start with dinner
Start small by prepping just one meal a day for one week at a time. It’s easiest to start with dinner, so plan out a week’s worth of dinners and prepare them on a Sunday afternoon or evening.
Schedule one day for cooking
You need to set aside time for the bulk cooking process; otherwise, our meal prep guide is useless.
Schedule one morning, afternoon, or evening per week where you cook and do nothing but cook.
Make use of kitchen tools
Bulk cooking takes some logistical skill to do right, but you can help yourself out massively by investing in the right cooking equipment.
For starters, you need large pots, pans, and skillets. If you’re preparing lots of tofu, then invest in a tofu press to make things easier; if you’re bulk blending smoothies, then a top quality blender is going to be well worth the money.
Don’t be afraid to make a spreadsheet!
Finally, you can help your planning by setting up a spreadsheet (or a simple list) to keep track of your meal prepping.
Write down your schedule and the meals for each day. This gives you a chance to vary the plan and ensure that you have a balanced and diverse diet throughout the week.
Why not bookmark our guide to the benefits of meal prepping, so you can start planning your weekly meal schedule?