You might be wondering, “If meal planning is so much work, why bother?”
Well, here are some pretty great reasons why:
If you make a plan, create a shopping list and stick to it, you will find it is much less costly than buying things at random. This way, you know exactly what you need and how you’ll use it, and you can divide your prepped food into appropriate portion sizes, refrigerating or freezing them as needed.
By meal prepping in bulk, you can measure out a portion size that works for your individual goals, and divide the meal into multiple servings to have it ready-to-go in the fridge or freezer
Improve your health
Meal prepping allows for you to take control of exactly what and how much you’re putting in your body, giving you a great deal of control of your health! If you have individually portioned meals ready to go at home, you’ll be less likely to head to the drive-through when you’re feeling busy, stressed, tired, or unmotivated to cook and helps you develop much healthier eating habits.
If you set aside just one day or afternoon to prepare food for the week, it is much more time efficient than trying to cook every day. An added bonus is that meal prepping makes for much less clean up throughout the week.
While those reasons may have you already chopping up some veggies and preheating the oven, here are some tips to make sure your first meal prepping experience is a smashing success:
Cook in batches!
By cooking large portions of foods such as roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, chicken breast, and vegetables, you can portion some of it out to enjoy during the week, and freeze the rest for a later date when you are short on time.
Use different seasonings
If you don’t enjoy eating the same thing day after day, consider dividing the batch-prepared food into two and use different seasonings on each half. For example: chop sweet potato and toss half with olive oil, lime, and chili powder, and the other half with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt.
Try different vegetables, spices, and diverse recipes to keep your meals interesting and creative.
You may be apprehensive to try too many things at once. No problem! Perhaps start with a grain, such as quinoa, with some garlic powder and parsley. Once you feel more confident in your meal prepping, make a quinoa tabbouleh with garbanzo beans, red onion, olive oil, tomatoes, and avocado. Feel free to make your meals as simple or complex as you’d like.
No need to eat sweet potatoes, broccoli, and chicken breast for every meal. Most ingredients are quite versatile! For example, roasted sweet potatoes could also be used in a wrap, a salad, or an omelet.
Write things down
If you have a list of quick and easy recipes you enjoy, write them down to pull out at times when you’re lacking inspiration for new recipes.
And finally, make it fun for everyone! Involving the family in your meal prepping venture can help motivate and inspire everyone to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of healthy eating and a healthy body, which creates a wonderful social support system and an opportunity to bond with the family. Put some music on and enjoy the process!
Becoming efficient at meal prepping is a process that, much like anything, gets easier with practice. Keep in mind that if you don’t find the time for your personal health and wellness, you may be forced to make time for illness down the road. Let food become your medicine. Onwards towards a healthier way of eating!