Easy Ways to Meal Prep Efficiently and Improve Your Health

It is easy to shy away from meal prepping because of the common misconceptions associated with this practice.

Whether you believe it is too time-consuming, too expensive, or just for bodybuilders and nutritionists, there are many myths surround meal prepping. In fact, meal prepping can save you a lot of time and money and is easy for almost anyone to do. It is also great for your health.

For those of you who do not know where to begin when it comes to meal prepping, a good starting point is to first determine the reasons why you want to meal prep. Most commonly, people begin to meal prep in order to eat healthier and not succumb to last minute bad decisions when they are hungry. Meal prepping does not need to be difficult, and with these easy ways to meal prep efficiently, you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle in no time.

Benefits of Meal Prepping

It is important to know why you are meal prepping in the first place and what the benefits will be for you. Rather than just jumping on a trend, really explore your motivations behind the idea. A few of the more common reasons people choose to meal prep include:

  • Saving money – Planning in advance and buying in bulk are great ways to cut back on costs at the grocery store overall. You will also be free from the risk of eating out on a whim.
  • Help with weight loss – Prepping meals in advance will allow you to know exactly what you’re putting in your body and how much at a time. You control your calorie input, no one else.
  • Grocery shopping is simpler – Rather than visiting the store multiple times a week when you forget something, you’ll know everything you need in advance. You can be prepared with a list and keep it simple without spending hours shopping.
  • Portion control – One of the simplest ways to become healthier is by maintaining portion control. Meal prep allows you to measure each meal out accordingly.
  • Save time – The bulk of meal prep takes time, yes, but you end up saving time each and every day that you do not need to prep or cook food otherwise.
  • Less food waste – If you’re tired of throwing away food that you buy that you just do not eat, then meal prepping is a good idea. You only buy what you need and nothing more.
  • Reduce stress – For those of you who are tired of coming home from work and playing the guessing game of what’s for dinner, meal prep will eliminate that entirely. No more stress over food choices.
  • Making an investment in health – Making decisions in advance about what you will eat and not risking unhealthy options weaseling their way into your diet is the ultimate investment in long term health.

How to Begin Meal Prepping

An important place to begin with meal prepping is knowing exactly which type of diet you would like to follow. For many who wish to lose weight and become healthier, there tends to be a focus on lower fat, higher protein foods and a lot of vegetables. If you already know the calorie count you need to for your meals in order to hit daily goals, then it can be much simpler to find recipes to fit those needs. However, there are specific food items that make meal prep much easier. Foods that typically last up to a week include:

  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Carrots
  • Dry peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Kidney beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Couscous
  • Chickpeas
  • Ground beef
  • Quinoa
  • Berries
  • Kale
  • Chicken
  • Brown rice
  • Pasta
  • Squash

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Notice that there are no processed foods that make the cut. This is entirely because processed foods have very low, if any, health value. Sure, it would be simple just to throw a slice of pizza and some chips in a meal prep container, but the health aspect of the plan would go out the window and you would end up feeling way worse than when you started.

Do Your Own Meal Prep Research

If you’re new to meal prep or if you feel stuck, jumping into research is always a good idea. Not only can research help you in ways to prep different foods and come up with new meal plans, but it can also help you find recipes that you’ll love. There is a very large community of health enthusiasts who meal prep, and with just a little bit of online searching, you can connect with people who have made meal prepping part of their lifestyle. Finding blogs, recipes, or websites can help you stay connected, but also keep abreast of some of the best recipes for meal prepping. If you have diabetes or are looking to prevent diabetes, you may have to look for specific types of low-glycemic recipes.

Keep It Simple

There is no reason why you should stress out over meal prepping. In fact, meal prepping is supposed to reduce the stress in your life. By keeping prep simple and straightforward, you won’t run the risk of being overwhelmed and throw in the towel early. What this means is that you can create a week of meals in one sitting, but keep it very basic to start—roasted chicken, a serving of quinoa and roasted vegetables. You can roast an entire package of chicken breasts, cook a few cups of quinoa on the stove, and roast a whole tray of vegetables at the same time. Imagine taking 45 minutes to cook everything at once, and then having dinner prepared for the next 5-7 nights of the week. Now translate that into breakfast and lunch and you will have spent perhaps 2 hours in one day prepping your meals, and then not need to think about meal prep again for the entire week. All it takes is a little bit of advanced preparation so that you can kick back and enjoy your healthy, delicious food all week long.

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