Most of us have busy lives, so it isn’t always easy or possible to eat delicious home-cooked food every day of the week. But imagine if you could... This is where meal preparation or ‘meal prep’ can help.
This guide is an easy-to-follow introduction to meal prep
It doesn’t require fancy ingredients with names you can’t pronounce or struggle to get hold of in your local supermarket. It simply requires normal everyday ingredients, mixed with a splash of preparation and a pinch of effort... Meal prepping makes it possible for you and your family to have access to prepared meals all week, from cooking once or twice a week. Having a supply of healthy homemade meals means you will never have to reach for shop-bought ready meals or have your local takeaway on speed-dial. What’s more, you will know exactly what is in the meals you and your family are eating.
What is meal prepping?
- Meal prep isn’t just batch cooking.
- It’s a system involving the planning and preparation of your meals in advance for the entire week.
- Meal prep incorporates both batch cooking and assembling the food precisely to meet your dietary requirements. Once done, your meals are conveniently pre-packed in handy storage containers and ready to eat a meal at a time.
- Knowing what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat and then preparing your meals is one of the most important aspects of achieving a healthy balanced long-term diet.
What could go wrong?
- At first, the whole process can seem overwhelming to the inexperienced. The thought of cooking a week’s worth of food may conjure up nightmares of a whole Sunday disappearing.
- Not to mention, if done incorrectly it could result in a pile of inedible wasted food and this could turn you off the idea completely. It really doesn’t have to be like this if you follow our steps.
- Of course there will be variations regarding the idea of meal prepping. What is right for one person may be excessive or insufficient to another.
What are the essentials of meal preparation?
- Creating a meal plan for the week
- Planning your grocery list accordingly
- Shopping for all the ingredients
- Preparing and cooking those ingredients ready to be pre-packed
What are the benefits of meal prep?
- Save time from not having to cook throughout the week by batch cooking
- Save time by not having to shop so frequently. Do you often find you are popping down to the supermarket to buy the odd item? Planning ahead will enable you to write a comprehensive list which you can shop in one go.
- Buying in bulk will save you money
- By changing your shopping habits and sticking to a list, will mean you only buy what you really need, and avoid unhealthy impulse buys we’ve all been guilty of.
- You will notice a significant reduction in the amount of food wasted. Your freezer will become your best friend as you will think about what you will need during the week then prep the rest and freeze the leftover ingredients. No more slimy wet veg in your fridge!
- Save money eating in rather than dining out!
- By putting forethought into your meal prep, you are focusing on the health of you and your family. You’ve heard the saying “your health is your wealth”.
Be less stressed
- Takes the daily load off your mind what to eat at lunchtime or cook for dinner.
- It eliminates the stress of having to cook every single meal on a busy schedule.
- You will know in advance what you will be eating at mealtimes.
- You can have a variety of nutritious meals already prepared in the fridge or freezer and ready to be heated up.
Improve health and weight loss
- Teaches you to be prepared and more considered about your eating habits. Increasing the availability of healthy foods in your house will improve your chances of making the right choices.
- Keeps you on track with your fitness or weight loss goals.
- Be in control of your portion sizes. It is easier not to overeat if you have pre-portioned your meals in advance.
- Making the decision ahead of time will eliminate the emotion out of “how much food shall I eat” or “shall I go back for seconds”. You will know that you will eat what is in the container - no more, no less.
Less chance of eating junk food
- Making choices based on emotion and convenience are just too easy. Our lizard brain - that only thinks in short-term tells us Eat! Eat! And Now! Now! Meal prep will help counteract those primitive parts of your brain that have you chasing high-calorie, nutrient poor foods.
- Prevents yourself from grabbing convenience food if you get caught out without food.