When you come home from a long, tiring day at work and are faced with a choice between getting a quick takeout meal or cooking your own dinner, which one would you choose? When energy is low and hunger is high, it’s hard to say no to a pizza, burger, pasta, or something similar that can be delivered to your doorstep in 30 minutes with minimal effort on your part.
But what if there was a way to have delicious, healthy food ready and waiting for you when you walk through the door? The solution is simple — it’s time to ditch your unhealthy eating habits and give meal prep a try.
What Is Meal Prep?
Simply put, meal prep is just preparing some of your meals ahead of time. Where do you find that time? Well, you’ll have to make some space in your busy schedule, or maybe utilise a bit of your day off — but it’ll be totally worth it! It’s a great tool to maintain healthy eating habits even in the middle of a hectic work life. What makes it even better is that there’s no set way to do it — you can put your own spin on things based on your food preferences, cooking ability, work schedule and fitness goals.
If it still sounds like too much work, consider the many ways it can benefit your health and fitness:
1. Healthier Food Choices
Choosing the meal prep life means switching to a healthier diet, a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests. According to its findings, people who spent more time preparing their meals were much more likely to have healthier diets, specifically a more frequent intake of vegetables, salads, fruits, and fruit juices. Consequently, they were also found to eat out at restaurants half as frequently.
2. Saves Time And Money
It might take up a bit of your off day, but it saves time all throughout the rest of the week! Meal prepping on your day off saves you the hassle of cooking your dinner daily, as you can start feasting as soon as you’re home from work. Following on from the study above, meal prep also leads to financial savings as the amount you spend in restaurants drops significantly.
3. Increased Adherence To Diet
A study involving 40,554 French adults, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity in February 2017 found that people who meal prepped at least a few times a week were more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan. This in turn put them at a lower risk of obesity and all the ill-effects it has on our health.
4. Portion Control
A review of several studies published in the International Journal of Obesity in July 2014 revealed that portion control plays an important role in weight loss. It shed light on how eating whatever was placed on the table with no sense of proportion led to weight gain and possible obesity. Portioning your food (as is done in meal prep) was a key element of weight loss.
The next time you have a little free time, set the wheels in motion and start looking for healthy recipes online. Remember, it doesn’t have to be boring, tasteless food — there are a number of healthy vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes you can enjoy.