What do we eat for lunch today?
Did we even bring anything?
I guess we'll just hit the drive through today!
To many times we set ourselves up for failure by not being prepared. And that doesn't just go for food, time management is a great example. If we don't manage our time wisely, we lose track of things and fall behind. Same goes for our food. If we don't take the time to set ourselves up for success, we are only falling behind, one meal at a time, one dollar at a time and one minute at a time!
When we consider taking the time to meal prep for ourselves we put ourselves in some great positions. Understanding why it is so important to meal prep can save you so much time and money. Money we aren't throwing away, quite literally! Let's take a look at some of these great benefits of prepping our meals.
You will save money!
Have you ever looked at your receipt and think to yourself, "Wow, that's a lot for what I got!" Yeah, it is! Many Americans are eating out more than ever before, costing them more money then what it would have cost if you made it at home yourself. With so many foods available in bulk purchase, you can spend some time prepping your meals for almost half the cost of restaurant versions! Additionally, it will be healthier without the additional additives! Saving money and healthier, sign me up!
2. You will save time!
Time is money, right? Yes! Prepping your meals before a work week can help you save time on planning your meals each day. Many of our prepped meals can be frozen saving you time later in deciding what's for dinner. Spending some quality time on a Sunday to cook your veggies and meats for the week, then portioning out what you'll need for each day saves you time from planning in the morning! Remember time management, well this will help with managing our time throughout the week.
3. Less stress at the store
Who stresses while grocery shopping? I do! Forgot the grocery list at home again? Winging what was supposed to be purchased? With meal prepping, and not forgetting the shopping list, grocery store stress can be reduced greatly. Purchasing all your meats, veggies and snacks for the week in one shopping trip can prevent over spending, over wasting or both! Taking the time to plan your meals for the week before shopping can also ensure you only purchase what you need. Less grocery store stress plus a solid grocery plan equals savings in money and in time!
4. Healthier food habits
Food choices are generally based off of what we have available on a social-economic status, meaning some low income areas are exposed to more processed food versus healthy fruits and veggies. When we take the time to plan out our meals for the course of a few days or even a week, we can incorporate healthier food options rather then a quick purchase at the gas station of foods high in processed sugars and fats! For example, planning to have a smoothie each morning is one step closer to making that a morning habit and a healthier option over those quick purchases on your way to work!
5. Reduces waste and over-eating
Family of two or family of ten, meal prepping can reduce food waste to even over-eating unnecessary calories. Sometimes we think, "I'll eat that for lunch tomorrow!" and then it just sits to die in the fridge in the back where you wont see it until it's too late! Death to chicken in the back, and straight to the garbage! Or on the flip side, you think, "I don't want that to go to waste so I better eat it now!" then consuming more calories then your body needs, thus causing stored energy even possibly fat! Meal planning can help with portion control, preventing waste and over-eating! Time, money, stress and calories saved! Sounds like you're winning at life!
So what does meal prepping really look like? Well, you will need to decided what is best for you, what proteins to eat, how much, what veggies you like best, fruits, snacks, etc. Once you've made your list, hit the store (don't forget that list like I seem to do every week) and price shop your products. If you take the time to compare prices, you can save money here also! You'll feel like the tupperware king or queen when they are all spread out on your counter waiting to hold your goodies for the week, but I promise, you will not regret it. (Unless the lid disappears, then we are all annoyed for you!)
Now I know this might seem extreme, but sometimes extreme is what we need to stay dedicated to our healthier habits, including food prep! If you are on a schedule for eating or want to be more regimented I suggest an alarm! Alarm for snacks, lunch, protein drinks, water consumption until it becomes second nature to you! This way you can't waste all your hard work!
When making the commitment to meal planning just know that your decision will help you save money, time, reduce your stress, increase your healthy food habits and reduce the risk of wasting food or over-eating! All of these benefits of meal prepping will sure put you on top of the world in health, happiness and money! And who doesn't like more money!?