Meal prepping is preparing your meals ahead of time, typically weekly. Meal prepping can seem complicated or daunting at first. However, many people choose to meal prep when losing weight, putting on muscle or just eating healthier but meal prepping has many other great benefits! So if you are on the fence about meal prepping, read below to find out 15 ways meal prepping can benefit you!
1. Meal Prepping Saves Time
Prepping your meals can save you so much time! Preparing your meals for the week on the same day at the same time can save you over 10 hours each week! For example, if you know you plan to eat 3 sweet potatoes over one week, cooking them all at once and storing them can save you over an hour of preparation time! This makes meal prepping an efficient option for those who have less time during the week to cook or rushed meal times!
2. Resist those CRAVINGS
You’re sitting at home and suddenly your stomach rumbles with an intense need for cookies and potato chips. We have all experienced this and it can be HARD to resist junkfood cravings. Especially when so many junk foods are convenient, pre-packaged and require minimal preparation. Grabbing a bag of chips instead of a balanced meal can seem like the easiest option to satisfy hunger. Meal prepping can help you resist this type of craving because you already have a healthy meal option prepared! Knowing what you have to eat before hand can help make decision making easier, especially on an empty stomach!
3.Plan for portion control
When you are HUNGRY, it’s easy to keep eating and eating without paying attention to how much food you’re taking in! This can lead to the uncomfortable feeling of being overly full, once the food has had a chance to settle in your stomach. Preparing your meals before hand can help you plan out correct portion sizes. This can help stop you from accidentally overeating or under eating!
4. Save those hard-earned dollars
Knowing exactly what you plan to eat before grocery shopping can prevent you from overspending at the store! When you’re grocery shopping its easy to buy too much because you aren’t sure how much you’ll need or be talked into spending more because of a ‘good deal’ or a ‘last chance item’. When you meal prep it’s easy to determine exactly what supplies you’ll need to buy and you wont end up overspending. Meal prepping can also help you spend less money eating out because you already have your meals readily available at home!
5. Variety is the Spice of life
It can be easy to get into ‘food routines’ always buying and eating the same select items and never leaving your flavor comfort zone. When you meal prep it’s easier to become aware of a lack of variety in one’s diet and can help promote adding in new foods and new flavors. Not only can variety be more delicious but it can be healthy as well. Eating a variety of foods can help you take in more essential vitamins and nutrients as well as promote faster, more efficient digestion.
6. Promotes health
Meal prepping can promote a more healthy diet. Whether you’re meal prepping to lose weight, save time, build muscle or any other reason, meal prepping makes you more aware of what you are putting into your body. When you’re planning out your meals it’s pretty unlikely you will plan to eat a whole bag of Cheetos for a snack or a whole pepperoni pizza for dinner. Knowing what you plan to eat and putting thought into your meals can help you plan a healthier, balanced lifestyle.
7. Track your macros
Carbs, fats and protein are the 3 essential macronutrients your body needs to run. Many diets promote watching your carbs or eating only protein and fat (the 2018/19 KETO craze), but for your body to have enough energy to run bodily functions a balance of the three is necessary. Meal prepping can help you keep track of how much of the three essential macronutrients you are eating each day and can help you make sure you are not eating too much or too little of any of these vital nutrients.
8. Teach yourself new recipes
Meal prepping is a great opportunity to learn new recipes, you’re already cooking so why not try to spice things up and teach yourself a new recipe or skill in the kitchen! Like we mentioned before, meal prepping can promote eating a variety of foods, often eating new foods and learning new recipes go hand in hand as you’ll need to learn the best way to prepare all the new foods you’re trying! You may also find that you are wanting to discover new ways to prepare the foods you love to eat, like instead of slicing up an apple, baking it with some cinnamon for a delicious fall snack. There are lots of fun recipes to try and meal prepping can give you the time and motivation to test them out!
9. Eliminate Waste
Americans are estimated to waste over 150,000 tons of food per day. We mentioned before that it can be easy to buy too much food at the grocery store when you aren’t sure what meals you plan to eat during the week. If you’re buying too much food, chances are some of it will spoil before you’ve had the chance to eat all of it. Knowing how much food you need for the week before hand will help you throw away less food and help lower the amount of food waste in the country.
With less time spent each week cooking and cleaning, and less money spent at the grocery store meal prepping can give you extra hours in your day to de-stress. Meal prepping removes a lot of the hassle of food preparation each day and can lower your stress levels while saving you time. Meal prepping also promotes a healthier lifestyle which can lower anxiety and make you feel calmer and healthier!
11. No more long trips to the Grocery store
Grocery stores can be overwhelming. The cereal aisle alone can be stressful with hundreds of different options all claiming to be healthier, more delicious and better than the rest. Meal prepping can help take the stress out of grocery shopping eliminating a lot of the unnecessary choices at the grocery store. Going into the store with a list of exactly what you plan to eat will shorten your trip and make your shopping experience more pleasant!
12. Easy cleanup
When you meal prep you typically prepare all your meals in one day. This consolidates all your cooking clean up into one foul swoop. When you meal prep the only cleanup you will have to worry about after meals is the Tupperware your meal was in and the plate you ate with! No more scrubbing pots and pans, cutting boards or baking sheets after every meal. Meal planning can save you cleanup time and make your daily meals hassle free!
13. Reduce packaging waste
Meal prepping eliminates a lot of the waste from prepackaged foods or microwave meals. Preparing meals before hand will leave you less likely to purchase prepackaged foods or tv dinners that, while convenient, are often made of packaging that is bad for the environment and can quickly fill up your kitchen trash can. Meal planning allows you to store food without the packaging, often in food storage containers that are washable and then reusable.
14. A cleaner fridge
We’ve all done the fridge purge. Throwing away leftovers, spoiled food, and mystery drinks. Meal prepping can help you keep your fridge manageable and clean with less spoiled food, less leftovers and less hassle. Meal prepping helps prevent the buildup of unused food or food waiting to be used because you only keep on hand what you plan to eat during that week. You’ll have no leftovers because you’ve only prepared enough food for each meal and you wont need to eat out as much because you have food readily available!
15. We are here to help!
Hummingbiird has a team of diet coaches that can help you put together your perfect meal plan to help you reach your goals. If you’ve never meal prepped before or just aren’t sure where to start there’s a Hummingbiird professional that can help! You can find your Hummingbiird professional on the Hummingbiird app!