Do busy days have you scrambling for whatever food you can grab when you find yourself over-hungry or “hangry”? Maybe you run for fast food or to the breakroom to cash in on leftover donuts or goodies people have brought in.
We’ve all been there. But wolfing down whatever food you can get your hands on really adds up – around the waistline! Ultimately it can be an unhealthy practice, and it will suit you much better to break the habit.
June 9th is National Meal Prep Day and the perfect time to decide to switch from on-the-go eating to meal prep.
It’s Better for You!
When we eat on the go and try to find quick and immediate meal solutions, unhealthy choices are often made. You may find yourself ravenous which can result in impulsive decisions – which are usually unhealthy. These meal choices may also mean bigger portions which can result in overeating. And most carry-out or fast foods contain more sodium, fat, and calories and offer less nutritional benefits.
It Saves Time and Stress
Preparing food in advance takes the “need to find something quick to eat now” stress off the table. It also eliminates the time it takes to run out and pick something up. Take a bit of time each week to do food prep, and you will be ready to “heat and eat” nutritious food when it’s time for your meal.
It Saves Money
Purchasing food from a fast-food establishment or restaurant or even the vending machine daily adds up fast. By stocking up your pantry doing some planning and then shopping with a list at a market to purchase food for the week you can save both money – and extra fat and calories.
When it comes down to it, meal prep is a no-brainer. So, how should you approach it?
Here are three tips to help you begin
Prep and Plan
Set aside a little time each week to come up with your specific meals for that week and create a shopping list accordingly. This will get easier as you get used to meal prepping.
After shopping, do “kitchen creation.” This does not have to be hours of food prep, it could be cutting fruit and vegetables into snack-ready slices or cooking whole batch-style freezer meals. Find what works for you and stick to it, and over time, you’ll create a good habit that’s second nature.
Get an Insulated Lunch Bag and Containers
Once you have your set up, it’s quick and easy to use daily. Try containers with multiple compartments for a “one-and-done” approach and the bonus is, this will also serve to manage food portions!
Stick with It – But Give Yourself a Break
Work to establish weekly meal prep as a habit but remember that life happens. You may have a crazy travel week or simply want to take a break for a few days and have a meal out. Do it! Being too regimented can become mundane and tedious and cause you to ditch the meal-planning efforts completely. One or two days off here and there is fine and can help you stay on track for the long haul.