Monday: Baked chicken breast with broccoli and brown rice.
Tuesday: Kabobs with steak, shrimp, red and green peppers, and mushrooms on the grill along with a fresh garden salad.
Wednesday: A sub sandwich laden with mayo and all the fixings in the car on the way home.
Thursday: Pizza delivery. The driver knows you by name.
Friday: Don’t even ask.
If your weeks start out with good intentions and good, healthy meals but quickly devolve into fast food, convenience store food or greasy takeout food, then you could likely benefit from the meal-prepping movement. Meal prep involves planning your meals, grocery shopping ahead of time, cooking and then storing your food for the week (including both meals and snacks). With consumers and families who are busier than ever, meal prepping simply makes it easier to eat well throughout the week.
If your meals are more haphazard and less healthy than you would like, you and your family could likely benefit from meal prepping and planning.
1.You will save time.
Typically, fans of meal prepping set aside a couple of hours on Sunday to organize, shop, chop, cook and store. Then, they have meals in the refrigerator or freezer to pull out throughout the week – this can be one meal a day or all three, plus snacks. When you cook in bulk like this, you will save time thinking about food, worrying about food, and cooking or ordering food during the work week. You can go to sleep on Sunday night knowing that you are set for the entire week.
2. You will save money.
For the first time ever, Americans are spending more at restaurants than they are on groceries, and Millennials are dedicating 44 percent of their food dollars to eating out. Even if you use coupons and look for happy hours and specials, eating out is expensive. When you make most of your meals at home, you will save a considerable amount of money. Likewise, if you cook in bulk and freeze some meals ahead of time, you can purchase more discounted bulk ingredients, saving even more on your food bill.
3. You will save energy.
Cooking a couple times per week can be fun, social and even relaxing. Cooking every single night, however, can be exhausting and unappealing. Dedicate a couple hours over the weekend to meal prep and enjoy extra time and energy every weekday and weeknight as you simply pull out or warm up your meals. You will also save energy in terms of baking, grilling and boiling when you do it all in one day.
4. You will save calories.
When you can plan healthy meals ahead of time, you will be far less tempted to head to the fast-food drive-through, the office vending machine or your junk food drawer. Likewise, having healthy meals at the ready means you can enjoy good food at your convenience. Meal prepping also creates instant portion control: When your meals are pre-portioned, you will be less likely to overindulge or keep eating even when you are full.
5. You will save stress at the grocery store.
Have you ever wandered the aisles of your local grocery store wondering what on earth you should buy for the day or the week? Meal prepping makes shopping easier than ever; you can even use special pre-cooked and pre-packaged delivery services (one of my favorites is Freshly) or smartphone apps to create grocery lists for the week.
6. You will prevent worry.
How many minutes or hours a day do you devote to thinking about food? Worrying about what everyone will eat tonight? When you meal prep, decisions are made ahead of time and you don’t have to worry about a thing.
7. You will prevent boredom.
If you fall victim to the same pasta with red sauce or the same turkey burgers week in and out because they are easy and familiar, meal prepping can take you out of your comfort zone and into the fun world of food. When you prep, consider different cultures, spices and flavors. Try something new every week to keep it fresh and reduce food fatigue.
8. You will prevent food waste.
According to a survey performed by the American Chemistry Council, the average household in the United States throws out $640 of food each year. More than 50 percent of households throw out food every single week. If you are concerned about food waste, then meal prepping will reduce the amount of excess food that sits in your meat or vegetable drawer before being thrown in the trash. When you know exactly what you’re going to make, you can buy the right ingredients in the right portion.
9. You can enjoy the freshest food in season.
When you shop mindfully with a focus on good taste and good health, you can enjoy local fresh fruit and vegetables and other seasonal goodies. Incorporate pumpkin into your fall meals and asparagus when spring rolls around to enjoy fresh food and flavors.
10. You can easily multitask.
While you are cooking your meals for Tuesday and Wednesdays, you can pack your lunch and snacks for Monday. You can organize your entire week in just a couple hours and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
If you want to give meal planning a try, check out the variety of apps, websites and books that offer tips, recipes and plans for each week. Consider enlisting friends and sharing tips and actual meals as well in order to expand your palate and the number of options in your freezer. You can start small with three or four meals a week and expand from there as you get the hang of it. Don’t have time to cook yourself? There’s always a variety of meal delivery services that can help make it easier for you.
You have likely heard the adage that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” When you plan your meals ahead of time, organize your ingredients, and stock your refrigerator and freezer with healthy, balanced and varied meals, on the other hand, you are planning to succeed.
Article Courtesy Of Dan Scalco
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