The Power of Meal Prep 

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Health

You’ve probably heard of meal prep, especially if you frequent social media. It’s often used by those who have specific diets, but plenty of people meal prep just for the benefits. It helps you manage your portions, focus on eating for energy, and simplify your already busy mornings.  

Take Control of Health 

We can’t talk about meal prepping without addressing the elephant in the room (or rather, the blog). Meal prepping can be great for your health. If you have dietary restrictions, allergies, or are just trying to fuel your body as best you can, cooking your food ahead of time takes the guesswork out of your meals. For many of us, eating out (or ordering in) is a quick fix for a major problem … hunger! We don’t always make the best decisions when we’re hungry, so having your meal ready to go before you get #hangry is a great idea to avoid binge eating or choosing convenience over calories. 

If picture-perfect salads in a jar aren’t your thing, meal prepping might be for you, too! It’s important you like what you’re going to be eating, even if it isn’t going to be posted to Instagram™. By cooking food yourself, you know exactly what you’re eating and how it was prepared. Whole foods in your own home can often be healthier than their counterparts in restaurants.  

Financial Responsibility 

Meal prepping is a great way to save money. If you’re digging out your grocery store receipts to prove otherwise, hold on one sec. Yes, your grocery bill could be higher, depending on what you’re choosing to prepare. There’s no doubt that fresh produce and whole foods are not free. But by eating all your meals out of your own kitchen, you won’t be spending as much on food from a restaurant, which is proven to be more expensive. This study found that the typical home-cooked meal averages $4.31 per plate, while most restaurants are $20 or more. Buying your meal prep supplies in bulk only adds to the savings! 

The trick to maximizing your savings is to find foods you’ll use across multiple meals. It’s cheaper per ounce to buy a 10-pound bag of rice versus a 1-pound bag. If rice is something you like to cook with, go for the 10-pound bag that will last a whole month or longer.  

The Gift of Time 

The best part of meal prepping is all the time you’ll gain back. Think of it as an investment in your week. It might take an hour or two out of your weekends, but when you’re dashing out the door in the morning and don’t have to think twice about what you need to grab for lunch, you’ll be glad you did. 

Cooking together can be a fun way to spend time with family! Get everyone involved with a piece of the fun, whether it’s chopping veggies, cooking up some chicken, or being the official taster. Make it an event you look forward to by tossing on some tunes and having a dance party along the way. 

Meal Prep Principles 

There is no bad way to meal prep, but there are some better ways. Here are a few pointers to help you have the most success. 

  • Need to prep in a pinch? Buy “family sized” entrees in the frozen food section of the grocery store and split among several days. This is a great idea if you’re only prepping for one or two people. Example: Buy a family-sized pack of orange chicken, cook up the whole box, and use your own rice and veggies to complete the meal. 
  • Prep a few elements instead of whole meals to throw into a lunch sack. Cut up a dozen apples, hard boil a whole carton of eggs, or peel some cucumbers. This is helpful for kiddos who like to help themselves to a snack. Have a kid-friendly shelf where they can grab a bite to eat. Read about some more ideas here
  • Meal prepping isn’t reserved for lunch! Try out a dinner recipe where you dump everything into a slow cooker in the morning and come home to a hot pot of yummy. Find your new favorite freezer meal recipe here

Invest in Your Health 

Meal prepping isn’t always bento boxes and quinoa salads (although it can be really fun when it is!). It’s an investment in your health, your time, and your finances. Be prepared to put in a little leg work, but it’ll pay for itself. 

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