You’ve seen the pictures on Instagram and videos on YouTube, and yet, you still might ask yourself, what is meal prep? Perhaps you’re wondering too why it’s incredibly popular. Time to figure out what it is and learn the benefits of meal prepping today.
What Is Meal Prep? | Get a Lesson on the Benefits of Meal Prepping
In This Article:
What Is Meal Prep?
Let’s begin with the most obvious question: what is meal prep? Think of it as tactical cooking. You set aside a large chunk of time—say, a meal-prep Sunday where you cook for about two to three hours in the afternoon—to cook meat, chop veggies, boil rice, and prepare whatever other types of food you want to eat. You store them in 3-compartment meal prep containers and place these in the fridge or freezer. Usually, if it’s a 1-week meal prep, the first four days are in the fridge. The rest you need to put into the freezer to avoid spoilage.
When you want to eat or bring food elsewhere, you have the handy meal preps ready.
Why Meal Prep?
1. It Can Promote Healthier Eating
The different healthy meal prep recipes can help you reach your body goals. People who spend less than one hour per day preparing meals are more likely to eat fast food and consume fewer veggies and fruit. This is according to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. While the design of the study was only a phone survey, the results make sense.
2. Meal Prepping Doesn’t Take a Lot of Time
One of the reasons why Americans don’t cook at home is the lack of time. Imagine this: you spend about 9 hours in the office and probably an extra hour in traffic. You are already exhausted when you arrive home. You barely have the energy to cook food. All you want to do is to rest and relax.
The good news is looking for healthy meal prep ideas these days is easy. They’re available everywhere from Fitness Websites to YouTube.
Although cooking takes some time, you can do it in batches. Within three hours, you will have prepped meals for the week that you and your family can eat anytime. Simply log a few minutes of your time here and there to re-plate and serve your meals. For anyone who’s time-strapped, this front-end approach is much more efficient.
3. It Can Help You Save Cash
Preparing your meals ahead of time often requires you to buy in bulk, which can save you money.
Even if you don’t buy in bulk, the cost of a week’s worth of groceries usually adds up to far less than dining out. For a four-person family, a home-cooked dinner can be around $30 (less than $8 per person). To get a takeout, this family would have to spend on average $46 and at least $50 or more at a restaurant.
4. Prepping Food Ahead Makes Portion Control Easier
Remember the answer to “What is meal prep” a while ago? Tactical cooking; and one of the reasons is because it helps you get smart with portion control.
You should invest in convenient food storage containers. The compartments will then allow you to easily measure specific portion sizes. It’s quick to know how much food you’ve been eating.
5. Meal Prepping Can Reduce Temptation
If you know you have a fridge full of healthy food, you may be less likely to give in to the sweet treat at the office or mindless late-night nosh session.
Need some extra protection against all the junk food where you work? Consider investing in a high-quality lunch bag, which keeps your food fresh even if your office doesn’t have a fridge. Talk about a brown bag upgrade.
6. It Reduces Your Stress
By saving you time, meal prep saves you on stress too. Instead of scrambling for food in the morning, you can try these breakfast meal prep ideas. Moreover, since a lot of people tend to “stress eat,” learning how to meal prep offers some insurance against this less-than-desirable habit.
After all, if you’re going to eat because you’re stressed, at least the food you have to reach for is healthy and delicious.
7. A Healthy Meal Prep Makes Tracking Macros Easy
A lot of people these days learn how to meal prep for weight loss. Compartmentalizing helps by controlling portions, but that’s not all. You can keep track of your macros as well. You’ll end up doing a majority of your macro measuring once, then simply eat your pre-measured meals, and log them. That’s it!
8. Meal Prepping Makes for Better Variety
Cooking at home gives you more control over what goes into your food (and what doesn’t). It also allows you to try new easy meal prep ideas.
You can experiment on combining herbs, spices, and sides to create variety throughout the week.
9. It’s A Great Divide-And-Conquer Technique
If you have a family or live with other people, you can tackle your weekly meal prep session together to save yourself even more time. You can even make it a nice bonding session with your kids and/or spouse.
What is meal prep, and how do you begin? Here’s some meal prepping 101 from Ladylike:
Hopefully, this information answers your question, “What is meal prep?” If you want to try it for the first time, perhaps you can start off with a few days instead of a full 7-day meal prep. The objective is to turn it into a habit. Visit the Isolator Fitness Inc. blog regularly to find more healthy meal prep plans!