Meal prep is a concept that can be pretty daunting if you are just starting out. Before my food prep days, I remember seeing pictures of perfectly portioned out Tupperware containers on Instagram hashtagged with #sundayfoodprep and feeling totally overwhelmed. I had no idea where to even begin with establishing such a habit. I wondered whether I had to make all my meals for the week at once or if I could split it up. What about snacks? Did it all have to be done on a Sunday? How long did I need to be in the kitchen for? Would all those Tupperware containers take over my life? Ha!
Once I played around a bit with the different types of food prep out there and figured out a style that best fit my own schedule and preferences, I was able to settle into a good routine. In fact, I can say now that setting aside time to prep meals and/or snacks plays a huge role in my ability to make good food choices throughout the week, among other things.
Below, find a list of the main benefits I’ve seen since adding food prep to my weekly routine. If you start meal prepping, you may see that you benefit from these things as well!
Five Reasons to Start Meal Prepping
1. Meal prep will help you save time.
While meal prep may seem like a very time-consuming task up front, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, my definition of meal prep is actually ANY amount of time that’s set aside to prepare full or partial meals or snacks for the week. So whether your meal prep process takes you five minutes or three hours, doing even a few small things like batch cooking chicken or cutting up vegetables can help shave some time off cooking and other kitchen tasks later in the week. Meal prep allows meals to be ready when you are; meaning when you come home after a long day of work or driving the kids around, getting a meal on the table can take a matter of minutes instead of hours. This will then in turn allow you to spend more time relaxing, enjoying time with your spouse or family, or getting other to do items done around the house.
2. Meal prep will help you spend less money.
While investing in some decent kitchen storage containers and getting a good base of ingredients in your pantry may cost a little bit upfront, meal prep will definitely help you save money in the long run. When you meal prep, you are less likely to order takeout or go out to eat at a restaurant because your food will already be cooked or partially prepped. Making food at home simply costs less per meal than when ordering out, so meal prep can help keep you on track with your financial goals. Another way meal prep helps save us save money is that we actually waste less food at home! For example, on nights that you don’t feel like cooking, ingredients that you may have had a different plan for could potentially go bad before you get a chance to use them later in the week.
3. Meal prep will help you make healthier food choices.
When you have nutritious meals and snacks already prepped for your week, you’ll be less likely to reach for something that’s not necessarily so great for you from the vending machine, candy jar, or your cabinets at home. There are a couple of scenarios that might come into play here:
- If you are someone who struggles sticking to recommended portion sizes, meal prep can help since you can dedicate time to portioning things out at the beginning of the week.
- If you are someone who struggles with ordering something nutritious when presented with other not so great for you options, meal prep can help. For example, if you make your lunch ahead of time, you won’t have to go down to your work cafe with co-workers and be tempted by whatever the fried special is that day.
- Finally, when pressed for time, it’s very easy to reach for the most convenient option, whether that be a microwave dinner, fast food, takeout, etc. More often than not, the most convenient option isn’t the best option nutritionally, right? By meal prepping, you can make your healthy food more accessible and convenient for when you ARE short on time.
4. Meal prep will help you control what goes in to your food.
As my husband and I have become more educated about food production, we’ve learned some pretty stuff about what goes into store-bought, processed, or pre-packaged food. By making certain things homemade as part of our meal prep process, we’re able to cut back on a lot of added sugar, added sodium, chemicals, preservatives, and more. Meal prep helps you have full control of what ingredients are in your food and what ingredients aren’t, and you can tailor everything toward your own personal dietary preferences and needs.
5. Meal prep will help you become more comfortable in the kitchen.
Finally, meal prepping every week will help you become a better cook! As you trial and error different recipes or ways of doing things, you’ll simply become more confident with your own abilities. And once you become more confident and comfortable, your meal prep process becomes more efficient… back to the whole time-saving thing! I know that I’ve learned different tips and tricks along the way simply by allowing myself to try new things in the first place, and meal prep has played a huge part in that.
It’s important to note that while I’m a big fan of using meal prep as a way to stay on track with my nutrition, what I’m NOT a fan of is letting the meal planning and prepping process take over my life. And that’s the piece people often miss: it doesn’t have to.
Master Your Meal Prep is a 7 week email course designed to help you find an efficient way of food prepping that fits your lifestyle and schedule, no matter how busy you are. Master Your Meal Prep is a solution that teaches people that there is no right or wrong when it comes to food prep, and that it can actually be quite simple if you let it be. Prep for only five minutes? Yes, that’s allowed. Prep on a Wednesday? Yes, that’s allowed. The education consists of seven weeks’ worth of emails delivered right to your inbox. You’ll get all my best meal prep tools, insights, and strategies in one place, with one goal in mind: to help meal prep become something that makes your life EASIER! Get all the details on my website here.