It doesn’t matter if it’s the start of a new year or just the start of a new day, either way it’s a great time to start fresh and create some good new habits and break any not so good ones. I know I get out of the habit of prepping food and meals for the week, and as a result, I started feeling more stressed and less healthy. I find myself scrambling to think of things to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I end up with less time to do things like workout or even just to relax. When you can spend just a little time to get back on track and making sure you have some fruits and veggies prepped as well as maybe some meats done as well your week will be off to an amazing start! Therefore, I thought today would be a great time to share with you my Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Meal Prep… if not for you than to remind myself why I do it! It can be hard to get started, but once you do, the benefits are many!
- You Save Time: when you consolidate the work into one morning or afternoon a week then you only have to clean up the kitchen once, get out pots and pans once, etc. rather than doing it over and over again every day. The bulk of the work is done, leaving you to simply add meals to your slow cooker or heat them up right out of the fridge. Plus, no time spent looking on Pinterest for what in the world you should make for dinner tonight when you have other things you should be doing instead. And no last minute trips to the grocery store for the fifth time this week. You went once, you had a complete list and it’s all done!
- You Get to Know Your Family: no more grilled cheese for one kid and cold cereal for another an hour later and a handful of chips while hiding in the pantry for yourself (just me?) because you just can’t handle getting it all done at a reasonable time. You have a plan! Dinner has been in the slow cooker since this morning, so not only can you confidently answer that dreaded “what’s for dinner” question, but you know that dinner will be ready when you are! No last minute rushing, no stress. Just sit down together as a family and talk about your day! How awesome is that? Plus, since you had the meal prep done days ago, there won’t be much of a mess in the kitchen for anyone to deal with. No arguments over the dishes required.
- You Will be Healthier: I think a lot of us actually prefer to eat more nutritious foods than we actually do. But these things require a little work and when you are under pressure to get food on the table, often a less healthy option is what happens because it’s quicker and easier (pizza on speed dial anyone?). When you have it planned out ahead of time, you can look over your list and make sure you have a nice variety of foods that will meet your nutritional goals. And since you took the time to get it all ready, there’s no excuses. Healthy food, ready to go!
- You Will Save Money: let’s face it, we often go to the grocery store with the best of intentions and buy plenty of fresh produce and lean meat and then we get home, stick it in the fridge, and end up throwing half of it away a week later because we didn’t use it. Maybe we bought to much, or we didn’t know exactly how to use it, or we just flat out ran out of time. When you have a plan, you know exactly what you need and if you commit those couple of hours to prepping it, you know it will all get used up.
- You Will Reduce Stress: how? because you will feel like a rockstar! Seriously though, when you have a plan and that plan has been executed, how great does that feel? When everyone is hungry and cranky and asking what’s for dinner, I know I can get a little stressed and just want to tell them to go away. Or I figure out what to make, but I’m missing and ingredient. Or, I spend so much time dealing with cooking on a daily basis, I don’t have time to get other things done and my list of to-do’s just keeps growing. When I don’t have to play catch-up, I’m much happier and much less stressed. How about you?
Want to know even more? Okay, a lot of these may be duplicates, but that’s just how important they are! I’ve compiled a list of my top ten favorite reasons to meal plan!!
- Having a plan is critical to helping you stick to your goals! Whether it’s eating a certain way or eating at home more, having a plan is the only way to truly achieve those goals.
- Having a plan helps reduce stress. Knowing what you can make for dinner and that you already have it prepped or that you have the ingredients to make it means no last minute decisions to make.
- Meal planning helps you try new things. Having recipes available that you have never tried before but that you can add to your plan for the week helps you try new things instead of panicking and getting ingredients for the same old meal when you stop by the store on the way home from work.
- Gives you more time to enjoy the other parts of your life. If you have planned ahead and have dinner in the slow cooker, then you can pick your kids up and hang out with them after work or sit with your friends or significant other and have a glass of wine and not be rushing to get dinner made.
- Helps you become a better cook. Not only are you trying new recipes but you are doing so when under less pressure therefore allowing you to experiment more with flavors and cooking techniques.
- You will eat more wholesome ingredients! Planning ahead means knowing what’s in season or thinking ahead about how to prepare certain fresh ingredients.
- You can save money! If you have a plan then you know exactly what you need when you go grocery shopping and are less likely to impulse buy. Plus, if you stick to the plan, you don’t have to throw out food that goes bad because you never figured out what to do with it.
- You can have leftovers and actually use them. Knowing what you are going to make and what you are likely to have left means you can have a plan for repurposing leftovers into a whole new meal. This not only helps with reducing waste, but saves you even more time.
- Gives you time to workout and in general to be healthier. When you have a plan for your meals, you can also have a plan for your workouts! You can create a routine that works for you and not be left wondering how you’re going to get it all done.
- It’s fun!! Thinking about food, planning interesting meals, cooking for friends and family… these are all parts of life we can enjoy, especially when we have a plan.