The following scenario might sound too familiar to you: you’ve just finished work, you’re ravenous with hunger, and the last thing you want to do is cook a big meal. Or maybe it’s lunch hour, and all you have packed is a bag of chips and a sugary granola bar. These situations arise daily for many people. They result in unhealthy options that are chosen out of convenience. Take-out meals are expensive and won’t help your health or your weight. A strategic approach to making meals is to prepare them ahead of time in large batches. This takes some foresight, but the benefits are numerous: it’s less expensive, more nutritious, and eliminates the stress of scrambling to find a ready-made meal.
During a busy work week, you seldom have the time to prepare a healthy meal. This makes it more tempting to grab the easiest food. But the cost of convenience comes at the high price of salt, fat, and sugar content. By preparing your meals ahead of time, you can select ingredients that have a high nutritional payoff. Fast food only offers so many options; to get the nutrients that you need, you should cook meals yourself. Planning a menu means you can include all the necessary ingredients for a balanced diet – it will also save you from aimlessly wandering the grocery store aisles, wondering what to cook.
You might be thinking that the benefits of meal prep sound great, but in reality, you don’t have time to cook. And you don’t have to! There are businesses that prepare healthy, ready-made meals for you. Meal prep services can save you time and money while keeping you healthy. Catering companies offer freshly prepared meals that are delivered to your doorstep. It’s a convenient option that is suitable for busy people, and it beats the salty, fatty foods available at the drive-thru.
If you are trying to follow a specific diet, like keto or veganism, meal planning will help you follow your guidelines. When we are already hungry, it can be challenging to adhere to healthy or ethical eating, especially when options are limited. It’s during these times that we are most likely to ignore our good intentions and opt for a meal that is unhealthy. Meal prepping makes healthy eating the most convenient option – after all, it’s waiting for you in the fridge, while take-out and drive-thru options require a trip out of the house.
Meal prep makes it easy to plan your portions. With take-out meals, it’s hard to know exactly how many calories you are consuming, or how to control your portions. Meal prepping eliminates that guesswork so you can shed pounds precisely. You can easily limit your salt, fat, and sugar intake when you make your own meals. When you’re already hungry and struggling to find a suitable dinner, it can be easy to give in to temptation and overeat – by planning your meals ahead of time, you can keep the portions controlled.
After eating your delicious prepared meal, don’t forget to floss! Sore teeth will make it impossible to enjoy your food, no matter how tasty it is. Just as you take the time to schedule a meal, plan to take regular care of your oral health. The two go hand in hand. Flossing your teeth will benefit your health just as nutritional eating does; it reduces your risk of developing gum disease and heart conditions.
Interested in starting your meal prep plan? The next step is to plan a well-balanced menu for your week. This will vary according to your taste, but you want to craft a mix of whole grains, protein, and vegetables. Chicken and tofu are lean protein staples that keep well over a few days. For grains, you can select brown rice, quinoa, or pasta. As for vegetables, pick anything that you enjoy eating: broccoli, carrots, celery, or cauliflower are all versatile enough to fit any dish you desire.
Set aside one day of the week to schedule your menu and purchase groceries. Arriving at the grocery store with a plan in mind will make your trip quicker. It helps you cook with the ingredients you value most to get the nutrients you need. While you’re at the store, it’s worthwhile to purchase some quality storage containers. Pick ones with tight lids to prevent any spills. If you’re carrying your meal prep around, you can buy an insulated food bag with an ice pack to ensure that it stays fresh.
Select two days of the week to cook in large batches so that your food stays fresh – in general, most prepped meals don’t last longer than four days. You can choose to cook on Sundays and Wednesdays so that your prep lasts as long as it’s fresh. Label your meal containers with names and dates so that you know how long the food will remain good for eating.