You’re a student. You work full time. You don’t have time to go grocery shopping. You’re gone all day. You don’t have time to cook. I get it–I can 100% relate because I’ve been there. In fact, I am there. Having to eat can be extremely inconvenient, time consuming, and it can seem nearly impossible to fit a balanced diet into your hectic life. Meal prepping is a magical tool to stay on track with your work priorities while leading a healthy life.
There are infinite perks to the art of meal prepping, but here are some of the most notable benefits that result from prepping your own meals:
It Will Reduce Stress
“UGH, what’s for dinner?” Is this a commonly expressed phrase in your routine? Stress has many negative effects on the human body and mind that take a toll on our well-being. By taking ‘food’ out of the equation, you have one less thing to worry about during your day-to-day routine. When you’re fully prepared with meals, you will avoid getting 'hangry' or sluggish during the day. By fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods that you are used to eating, your body will already be efficient at digesting them, which will reduce bloating and stress on the body.
It Saves Time
Okay. Yes. You must invest time upfront to mass make your meals. BUT, in the long-run, you end up saving so. much. time. Maybe you spend an hour or two on Sunday meal prepping your breakfasts and lunches for the week, but think of all the time you’ll save in the morning by not having to make breakfast before heading out the door. Think of how long your lunch break at work will feel when you don’t spend it commuting through the drive-thru. Don’t have time for a lunch break? No problem. The magic of meal prep is that it is on-the-go friendly.
It Saves Money
Let’s say that you eat out one meal per day and let’s say that each meal costs you $10 for a weekly total of $70 (not to mention the money you spend on groceries for the rest of your meals for the week). Think about that—$70 for just 7 meals, crazy! That’s more than I spend on groceries for an entire week’s worth of food and let me tell you, my food is far more nutritious than any restaurant could provide. Plus, if you accurately plan your meals in advance, grocery shopping will become easier and you will waste less. The meal prep life is a very cost-friendly lifestyle and your bank account will thank you.
You Won’t Make Unhealthy Decisions
Imagine, you come home after a long day and you’re so hungry that you will literally eat the first thing in sight. You’re going to reach for something that’s quick and full of empty calories because it’s easy, right? When we are hungry, we are less concerned about what we are consuming and just focused on that we are consuming something, anything. In moments like these, it’s so easy to make poor decisions nutritionally. What if your fridge was fully stocked with meals that you prepared earlier in the week and all you needed to do was pop it in the microwave and dinner was ready? The temptation of ordering take-out or putting a frozen pizza in the oven is far less when you have your meals already prepped and planned.
You Will Have an Overall Nutritionally Balanced Diet
We are all well aware that making our own food is infinitely healthier than going out to eat. When we prepare our own food, we know exactly what is going into our meals, and therefore, our bodies. Strive to have a good protein source, complex carbohydrate source, and at least one serving of vegetables in each of your prepped meals. By having your meals individually prepped, you will also practice proper portion control (i.e. not going for seconds).
You Will Obtain Your Fitness Goals
Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain lean muscle mass, or just simply practice a balanced diet, meal prepping will assist you in achieving these goals. The fact that you are in charge and you know what’s going into your meal, coupled with your knowledge on nutritional sciences, you will be able to customize your meals to what is necessary in order to reach your individual fitness goals.
Food is such a vital part of life; without it, we wouldn’t exist. It influences our bodily functions, our emotions, our happiness, our everything. Be sure to be kind to your body and give it the nutrients that it craves. Meal prepping is just one tool to help you achieve the healthy lifestyle you’re seeking.