1 – Manage your time – this can be two-fold. 1 – you will free up more time during your week by having food with you and ready to go. No more wondering what you will eat for lunch each day or having to go out. 2 -Meal prep can happen while you’re doing other things like catching up on emails, watching a game at home or reading your favorite book.
2 - Portion Control – prepping food ahead of time allows you to control your portions and sets you up for success when eating out. For example: we want to make sure that we’re eating healthy fats every day from sources like olive oil, coconut oil and walnuts. While these fats are great for our body, they are calorically dense and we can overdo it. Measuring out fats for the day will make sure that we stay in a healthy range to manage weight and body fat. Many times when we eat out, portions are larger than what we actually need even when it’s coming from healthy sources. Food prepping gives us a visual reference to come back to so we know if we should be bringing some of that meal home for later.
3 – You can start small – Just like any other journey, we begin with the first step. You don’t need to prep all meals of the day. Let’s say you struggle with breakfast. You can make a big batch of egg cups (egg muffins) for the week and have a few each morning. Once this has become a part of your routine, start to experiment with different recipes or move on to another meal.
4 - You can enjoy food shopping, or at least make an adventure out of it. – When you have recipes and a shopping list in hand, time spent food shopping can be cut in half and you won’t come with food items that won’t help you get to your goals. After a while, add in some new items outside of your normal list. Experiment with new fruits and vegetables and try preparing different meals ahead of time. Tired of eggs? Give chicken sausage a try. Try a high protein vegetarian meal with beans instead of animal protein.
5 – Win the mental game! – There is freedom in structure. You wouldn’t get started on a road trip without knowing where you’re going, right? Meal prepping is GPS for your nutrition plan. This doesn’t mean that you won’t come against roadblocks, but when they do happen, you’ll have a detour planned. Let’s say you meal prepped some steak, sweet potato and asparagus for dinner but then got called for dinner meeting. You can exchange like for like with a lean protein (chicken, fish, lean meat) healthy carbs (small baked potato or double veggies) at the restaurant and stay on track!