Why Meal Prep Can Help Keep You Healthy

Fitness Tips

Why Meal Prep Can Help Keep You Healthy

There’s something to be said for going with your intuition when it comes to choices in life – some impulsive decisions can be good for you. However, making a habit of going with your impulses when it comes to food can be harmful to your health.

It’s challenging to make premeditated and thoughtful diet decisions in the midst of life’s busyness, but preparing a whole week’s worth of meals in one day can save you the hassle of thinking about it three times a day. As if saving time wasn’t enough of a benefit alone, prepping your meals is also healthy for both your mind and body – here’s how.

Meal prep

Meal Prep Helps You Be More Intentional About What You Eat

Despite our advanced technology and knowledge of what’s best for our health, we’re still primal beings at the mercy of our body’s needs.

Forgetting to eat a meal can lead to making snap decisions that you ultimately regret. But if you take the time one day a week (Sunday afternoon is recommended) to prepare five or six days of meals, you have a chance to approve nearly everything that goes in your mouth for an entire week while you’re thinking clearly. This practice gives you an opportunity to fill your meal schedule with lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds as opposed to highly processed and packaged foods.

Meal Prep Helps You Control Your Portions

When you prep meals, you cook or prepare only a certain amount of food, which rarely leads to second helpings or extra indulgences.

The intentional nature of meal prep means you have a chance to make sure your body receives the variety of nutrients it needs in order to thrive, and to limit the amount of substances that are harmful when consumed in large portions. Additionally, if you’re involved in a diet program that encourages you to keep track of what and how much you eat, it will make managing that diet much easier for you. If you’re looking to build muscle, you can easily keep track of your protein intake.

Meal prep

Meal Prep Can Ease Your Stress

You may think stress only affects your mental health, but it can actually cause a range of physical health problems, from digestive issues to headaches. If your schedule is jam-packed, you may feel pretty reluctant to carve a few hours out of your relaxing weekend to prep meals, but it will save you all of that daily stress of wondering what you – and possibly your whole family – are going to eat.

Healthy eating seems like it should be everyone’s first priority, but usually external pressures in life get put first. This method allows you to make health and nutrition a priority without requiring an hour of preparation the second you get home from a busy work day. You can come home, relax, and de-stress. You may even be able to sleep in longer.

Prepping Tips

  • Preparing food in bulk can easily be overwhelming if you launch with complicated recipes. Start with meals that you’re already comfortable making.
     
  • It takes a few weeks to form a habit. Be intentional about scheduling your meal prep time until it just becomes a part of your routine. By then, you’ll be able to see whether it reduces your daily stress and increases free time, and how well it’s going to work for you and your family.
     
  • Before you start meal prepping, buy several food containers of different sizes.
     
  • Start small if you need to. If the thought of prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner is daunting, start with just dinner. You may not have time to prep everything every single week, so it’s good to give yourself a break and be flexible rather than simply giving up.

Author Information

Bryn Huntpalmer
Bryn Huntpalmer's picture

Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to home remodeling and design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

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