Life is busy. There’s always something that pops up that needs to be dealt with and after all of your daily responsibilities cooking dinner just seems like too much. It’s safe to say we’ve all been there, but meal prepping can save you from the nutrition pitfalls that are so common in daily life. Meal prepping has many health benefits, here’s a list of top fifteen reasons to start meal prepping this week!
Can save money. A Forbes study, using Wellio data, found that cooking meals at home are about three to five times cheaper than eating the same meal at a restaurant or from a delivery service.
Saves time. Instead of chopping vegetables for use in one recipe every night, you can set aside some extra time and chop all of the fruits and vegetables you will need for the whole week’s worth of meals.
Helps with portion control. Many restaurants serve more food than should be consumed in one meal. Eating from larger plates, containers, and having excess food lying out leads to overeating according to the CDC. By meal prepping you can avoid all of these healthy eating pitfalls because planning and packaging food beforehand can decrease the risk of “eating with your eyes”.
More food variety. Since you get to decide what to cook instead of relying on what is available at restaurants or fast food establishments, you have the opportunity to create meals that are best for your diet. Studies show that individuals that meal plan and prep have more nutritionally balanced and varied diets compared to those that do not.
Decreases your risk of diabetes. A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that individuals who reported engaging in meal prepping and meal planning were associated with lower rates of obesity when compared to those that did not.
Keeps you on track of your diet plan. By prepping out your meals in advance you control exactly what is in each meal you will be eating during the week. You will be better able to avoid the hidden calories and sugars that are often present in foods that you order when eating out.
Reduces stress associated with deciding what to do for meals. Life is busy and long days at work, balancing other responsibilities, and even going to games and practices can take a toll on the time available for cooking. By meal prepping you won’t have to worry about finding time to cook a whole meal every evening and eliminate the dinner stress. Instead you already have a healthy meal waiting for you!
Increase your willpower to avoid processed food. If you know you have a delicious meal waiting for you at home all ready to go, you will be less likely to be tempted to stop for something on the way home. Therefore, you will be able to stick to your diet plan no matter what life throws at you.
Perfect for people on the go. Meal prepping is perfect for people that are constantly on the go because you set aside some time during your week to plan out and prep your meals and don’t need to think about it again for the rest of the week. Plus, the meals and snacks you prepared can be put into whatever container is most convenient for you while you are on the go.
Decreases food waste. When you have a planned menu you are less likely to waste food due to spoiling before they could be eaten or forgotten. According to a study in Sustainability, food waste is far greater among households that have increased rates of spontaneity in dinner planning than those that report meal planning.
May aid in healthy weight loss. Meal prepping encourages healthy eating by making it a cheaper and more convenient option than it would otherwise be, making your healthy diet more likely to be maintained. According to a study in Preventing Chronic Disease, increasing fruits and vegetable consumption, decreasing fast and processed foods and increasing physical activity was the most effective and common strategy for losing weight and maintaining weight loss.
Keeps you motivated to stay healthy. By meal prepping you will be able to avoid becoming discouraged by giving into an impulse or cravings because you know there are healthy options at home that you will be able to eat. This keeps you from slipping off track.
Regulates your metabolism. According to the DukeHealth blog summary of a Duke study, eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day is better for you than calorie loading at regular meal times. By eating smaller amounts throughout the day you avoid overworking your digestive system and allows your body to run smoothly instead of experiencing spikes and crashes.
Reinforces a healthier diet and eating habits. By reducing the stress associated with trying to decide what to eat after or during a busy day, increasing the convenience of healthy eating, and maintaining the motivation to stay healthy; meal prepping allows you to stick to a healthy diet and eating habits.
Decreases the amount of single-use plastics. According to Ocean Conservancy, 8 million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans per year! When you meal prep you can decrease the amount of single-use plastic you would otherwise use (and possibly end up in our oceans) if you ate out somewhere, especially if you are prone to eating items that are packaged in a lot of plastic. Make sure to use reusable plastic or glass containers when storing your prepped meals, and you’ll be doing your part to save the environment!