Do you find it challenging to consistently follow a healthy diet? Is it difficult to decide what to eat throughout the day and plan dinner for yourself and your family? Amidst our hectic work and family lives, meal prep can prove to be a helpful solution. Preparing meals or snacks ahead of schedule has endless benefits1.
You Save Money
When you plan and prepare meals, you will save money! Statistics show that fifty-four percent of us eat out two to three times a week, while 10 percent eat out four to six times a week2! Meal prepping will help you avoid eating out since your meals and snacks are planned and readily available. For example, if you plan according to your day or week at work, you will be much less likely to run into a situation where you have no food and need to order out. There are so many food choices and snacks that you can buy at your local grocery store that are not only cheap but have a longer shelf life. Oats, chickpeas, black beans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, cashews, almonds – the list goes on!
You Eat Healthier Foods
One of the things I love about meal prep is that you can control what is in your food. When it comes to eating out, you don’t always know exactly what is in the dish. Fast food, even healthier options, can be high in sodium and sugar and may contain unwanted ingredients like MSG. What may be more shocking is food packaging from popular restaurants may contain hazardous PFSA chemicals3. When we do our own cooking and make a conscious effort to eat whole foods, we will be eating healthier, fresh, and non-processed foods. Planning your food and snacks gives you more control of what you are eating, which helps you maintain a healthy diet.
Cooking Is a Life Skill
A lot of households consist of both spouses working full time. Jobs around the house are shared more equally between spouses, which means men are taking a bigger role in the kitchen than they have been in the past.
Meal prep can force you to get out of your comfort zone and make meals that do not always consist of hamburgers, hotdogs, and pasta. Finding a recipe your whole family will enjoy can take some time, but there are a lot of online recipes available, and a lot of recipes will outline the level of difficulty and time it will take. Once a recipe is established, you then need to make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and the proper kitchen tools as well. If you don’t usually cook, I challenge you to try it! I assure you it will be a blessing to your family or friends and, more importantly, your wife!
This may seem all well and good, but starting out with meal planning can be daunting. There are a lot of resources online to help get you started. Through my experience in meal planning, I have noticed various things and helpful tips along the way to not only make meal planning possible, but enjoyable.
I have greatly valued doing meal prep for a few years now and have started to be braver in the kitchen and try new and elaborate meals.
- I choose a specific day to plan my snacks and meals for work for the entire week and prepare all the food before the week begins. My wife and I do this, so it’s one less thing to think about after work.
- Once a meal plan is established (for a day or the week), make sure you have all the necessary groceries. It may seem very obvious, but nothing is worse than leaving the store to come home realizing you need more ingredients. I do not enjoy going to the grocery store, so minimizing going to the store once or twice a week is ideal.
- Make a list throughout the week and write them down, so when it’s time to go to the store, your list is already prepared–I cannot emphasize this enough!
- Also, when you do make a list, have all the groceries in order of department. For example, if you need produce, make sure all the produce you need is listed one after the other.
- Never be afraid to make extra food–just remember not to go overboard with portion sizes. Freezing leftovers or taking them for lunch are great time-saving options.
Meal prep and planning are helpful tools to plan ahead and eat healthier, sustainable meals. Proverbs 13:16 says, “a wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t.” This verse reiterates the importance of planning and thinking ahead. We can take steps and make manageable changes that can make a huge health impact. It will also lead to more time with our families and potentially less time in the kitchen and at the grocery store.
1 Petre, A. (2018, September 30). How to Meal Prep — A Beginner’s Guide. Healthline; Healthline Media. www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-meal-prep
2 Holmes, Tamara E. People Who Eat Out Usually Eat Out a Lot: Survey. 15 May 2019. Yahoo Finance. ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/people-eat-usually-eat-lot-172000757.html#:~:text=Most%20 of%20them%E2%80%9456%25%E2%80%94. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
3 Loria, K. (n.d.). Potentially Hazardous Chemicals Are Found in Fast-Food Packaging, a New Report Finds. Consumer Reports.https://www.consumerreports.org/toxic-chemicals-substances/potentially-hazardous-pfas-found-i n-fast-food-packaging-report-finds/