What is meal planning? Basically, it is cooking larger amounts of food at a specific time and using that food throughout the week in different meals. Meal planning is something you may know a little about and may even be practicing on some level. So why do meal planning?
Stay on Track
One of the biggest benefits of meal planning is that it helps keeps you on track with your health goals. If you are trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier, meal prepping makes sure that you always have healthy options in front of you. it also helps with portion control. When everything is already prepped and portioned, you will be less likely to overeat.
Reduced Stress Levels
When you handle meal planning and stick to that plan, you can reduce your stress. You are no longer having to worry about missing a meal, grabbing something on the go, not having meals ready, or forgetting to set out meals to thaw. Though this may not seem like it would cause a lot of stress, it can be domino effect. If you have a bad day, you don’t add the meal planning aspects of time constraints and stress to it. This little bit of stress reduction can help your overall stress and give you more downtime in the evenings after a long day.
When you don’t have meals ready, you may just grab whatever is there. For example, if you have had a long day and don’t want to cook, you may grab a pizza or something quick. You may even think you are doing well if you grab a salad. The truth is, a fast food salad can contain a lot of extra calories that you aren’t thinking about, which can derail you from your goals.
Saves time and money
Time is valuable. Who wants to come home after work, try and figure out what to make, wonder if you have all the ingredients in the house, start cooking and then think about what to make for lunch the next day? I certainly don’t. Meal prepping has been a huge time saver for me and I know it can be for you too. As for saving money, by prepping your meals for the week, you will save on going out for lunch or dinner if you haven’t planned ahead. Also, when you buy food in bulk, such as beans and grains, it can save you money in the long run. You are also not throwing out food that you haven’t gotten to, because you have already used those foods in your meal prep.
A health benefit you may not consider is the reduced preservatives your body would be taking in. For example, a lot of prepared meals you buy at the store have either high amounts of sodium or sugars. When you make the food at home, you can reduce this amount significantly making your meal plan an increasingly healthier option to store bought convenience foods.
There are other many other benefits, but these are the ones you are likely to notice first. It does take some time at the beginning of the week to do your meal prepping, however, that time in the beginning of the week, will save you tons of time during the week.
***If you are local, I am running a Salad-in-a-jar program, where you will learn more about meal planning and leave with 5 pre-made lunches that last the week. This is great for work, the beach, picnics, hiking, etc.. Check out the program details and sign up HERE. ***
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