Are you a meal prep novice? Have you been wondering why there’s so much buzz about prepping your meals or been on the fence about why you should try it? As you get ready to embark on a new year and are considering some healthy resolutions, here are 5 reasons to try meal prep to help you improve your wellbeing.
Preparing a grocery list keeps you more focused while shopping. You are more likely to stick to your list and avoid impulse purchases that cause your bill to escalate. Knowing what you’re going to eat for the week and buying only what’s needed saves you money, so if you’re looking for a reason to try meal prep, keeping your finances in check is always a good one.
While this might seem counterintuitive, one of the reasons to try meal prep is to save time. Swap the weekday time you normally spend preparing your meals or driving to the store to grab a missing ingredient with time you set aside on the weekend when your time is likely more flexible. When you choose to dedicate a small chunk of available time with lack of daily time, you will be more efficient and reduce stress in the process.
Saves brain power
At the end of a busy day, it’s hard to make good decisions. Most often you will default to the easiest choice. It’s just the way your brain is wired. You will likely grab whatever is easy, which isn’t always going to be a healthy choice that’s aligned with your goals. With a small investment in meal prep, you have easy food that’s ready to go and your nutrition improves significantly.
Another reason to try meal prep is to reduce the overall calories you consume each day. Grab and go packaged foods have a more dense calorie count than foods you prep yourself. The extra calories can quickly add up. Being mindful of calories by preparing food in advance and keeping your daily target in your ideal range is one of the reasons to try meal prep.
Saves on waste
Without good planning, food waste is more likely. When you shop without a list or a plan for the week, you are likely to over-purchase and under prepare. It’s estimated that Americans waste about one pound of food each day, which accounts for a 20% waste of food put on plates each year. If preserved, this would feed about 2 billion extra people each year. Shopping consciously for only the food you need to reduce waste is a highly impactful reason to try meal prep.
Meal prep can feel daunting if you’ve never done it. In addition to these 5 reasons to try meal prep, consider these easy steps to make getting started just a little bit easier. Pick a single meal and plan for only that one daily meal for the next week or two. Once you see how easy it can be and how good you feel, add a second meal, and then a third. Take it little by little and reap all the wellbeing benefits in the new year to come!