Losing weight safely involves sticking to a healthier eating plan and working out regularly.
Both can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to planning your meals or scheduling workouts. Poor meal planning, in particular, can derail your weight loss goals. When you don’t have a solid plan for eating right, last-minute decisions can lead to fast-food drive-thrus and other unhealthy eating options.
The good news is anyone can be better at meal planning. It just takes some practice, plus frequent reminders about why you’re doing this in the first place.
That said, here are some benefits of meal prepping to keep in mind.
1. You’ll Save Money
Eating out is more convenient, but it’s a sure way to spend more on food. Even if you make sure to use coupons or only get value meals, dining out is still more expensive than cooking your meals at home.
By planning your meals, you can maximize your savings. Since you know what you’ll be eating for the week, you can buy discounted bulk ingredients.
If you cook and freeze your meals, you’ll think twice before ordering or eating out. After all, it would be a waste not to eat what you’ve prepared. There’s just something uneconomical about having food delivered or eating out when you know you still have prepared meals in your fridge.
2. You’ll Lose Weight
One benefit of meal prepping is it makes portion control easier. Unlike eating out or ordering in, you know exactly what you’re eating and how much.
Plus, when you see your meals are pre-portioned, it’s easier to practice mindful eating. You can take your time, enjoying every bite, and you’re less likely to keep eating even when full.
3. You’ll Save Time
Once you get the hang of how to meal prep, you’ll have more time for other activities.
Think about how much time you waste standing in front of the fridge, trying to figure out what to cook. With your meals already prepared, you only need to take them out and heat them. You’ll also benefit from having to wash fewer dishes.
The trick is to make the most of your weekends or your free days. Use them to organize, shop, cook, and store your meals. After that, you’re set for the entire week.
4. You’ll Save Energy
Some people find cooking a relaxing activity. Doing it for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner every day, though, can be exhausting.
If you’re the type who finds the whole process of cooking daily meals tiring, following some meal prepping tips will ensure your energy investment is limited to a day or two instead of a week.
5. You’ll Improve Your Cooking Skills
In a good way, meal prepping forces people to be creative and resourceful. If you don’t want to keep eating the same thing weekly, you have to learn new recipes.
If you’re a beginner, it’s okay to start with simple recipes, then work your way up. Don’t forget to mind your macros (protein, fat, carbs), and try to prepare meals that have a great balance of these nutrients.
It also helps to shop mindfully. That means trying to opt for local fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are in season. This way, you can always enjoy variety with your prepared meals.
6. You’ll Help Reduce Food Waste
How many times have you ordered food then stored the leftovers in your fridge only to forget about them until you have to throw them out?
Or maybe you’ve brought too much produce, promising yourself you’ll cook them, only to have them go bad before you even decide what recipe to use?
Planning your meals and cooking in batches will reduce the likelihood of food in your fridge spoiling. You can even challenge yourself not to have any leftovers by utilizing most if not all the ingredients you have at home.
7. You’ll Develop a Better Relationship With Food
Do you ever feel guilty about eating? Maybe you’ve just started a diet, and you cheated a little. Or perhaps you find yourself in a cycle of restricting then binging food.
Meal prep teaches people to value food for what it is, a source of energy and nutrients. The more you get into the habit of eating what you’ve only prepared when it’s time to eat, the more you train yourself not to choose unhealthy options in a rush.
With consistent healthy eating, you’ll also find it easier to turn down sugary, processed, and other fattening foods. Of course, indulging from time to time isn’t bad. The important thing is to make meal prepping the major component of your healthy eating plan.
Bonus: Other Benefits of Meal Prepping
Planning your meals can also help reduce stress. When you come home from work, already exhausted, figuring out what to cook can be stressful, more so if you need to feed a whole family.
It also comes in handy when you or your partner’s due to give birth in a few weeks. Every parent knows things can get hectic when the baby arrives. When you know you have meals and snacks in your fridge, you’re less likely to reach for not-so-healthy choices.
However, there will be times when no matter how much you want to, meal prepping will be impossible to fit into your schedule. That’s okay. For those times, you can try a meal delivery service like YoFresh Food.
But remember, to reap the majority of meal planning benefits, it has to be a DIY job. Only opt for meal prepping services when you truly have no time to plan, cook, and store food.
Want More Healthy Eating Tips and Advice?
Now that you know the top benefits of meal prepping, are you ready to give it a try?
If you need more tips and advice for planning meals, there are tons of resources online. You can also check out our other posts for more information on clean eating, working out, weight loss, and other health-related topics.