I am a huge advocate of preparing my meals ahead of time, aka meal prep. I’ve been preparing my foods for the week ahead of time for a couple years now and I believe there are several good reasons to meal prep.
It saves me time and money, which I LOVE having more of. It also helps me with portion control and helps me reach my fitness goals.
Meal prep is extremely customizable! You are in the driver’s seat so you can pick the foods you like and can adjust your meals to fit any dietary needs.
Don’t like roasted broccoli? Then don’t make roasted broccoli! Grill asparagus instead when you meal prep. Do you avoid meat? Make a meal prep plan that includes vegetarian recipes and fish dishes.
So let’s dive into my top reasons to meal prep.
Helps you stay on track. Good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can really help you reach your fitness goals. As long as the meals you are preparing are healthy (and you actually eat them), it will be easier to stay on track and reach your goals in terms of health.
Weight loss? Fat loss? Building muscle? No matter what your goals are they can be reached with the help of meal prep.
I track my macros each day and meal prep makes it easier for me to reach those numbers. Before I start meal prep, I plan out what foods I will have and how I will get protein, healthy fats and carbs in each meal. Then I decide how much of each food I’ll need to reach my macros for the day and work from there.
By preparing my meals ahead of time, I don’t have to worry about having too many carbs early on that I don’t have any left for dinner. I’ve already done some of that planning so it balances throughout the day. Plus, I know my meals are made with healthy, clean eating foods so I don’t have to think twice about what’s going into my body.
Meal prep will save you time later. Sure, preparing all your food for the week takes a few hours. However, carving out that time over the weekend can save you time later in the week.
Roast extra vegetables, grill extra chicken or make extra meatballs to keep in the refrigerator. Use those healthy foods to throw together quick breakfasts and dinners at home! Since all the cooking is done ahead of time, you can make simple, yet healthy meals at home in a fraction of the time it would have taken if you didn’t have anything prepared.
No time for breakfast in the morning? Instead of skipping your morning meal, prepare healthy foods ahead of time so you can “grab and go” if need be. Make a frittata over the weekend or whip up a week’s worth of overnight oats to eat each morning. You’ll save precious time, yet you’ll still be able to eat healthy throughout the week.
It will save you money. People tend to think that healthy foods are expensive. It is much less expensive to make a healthy chopped salad at home than to buy one for lunch Monday through Friday! Skip going out to eat over your lunch break and bring your own.
Not only is packing your own lunch better for your waistline, but it will cost you a lot less money! Your grocery bill will definitely be higher, but your overall food spending should be down if you aren’t eating at restaurants each day of the week.
Meal prep will help you learn portion control. I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more when I eat at a restaurant compared to when I eat at home. It doesn’t matter if it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. I will keep picking at the food in front of me at a restaurant even if I am not hungry anymore!
Now there are ways to keep portions in check at restaurants. However, one of my favorite reasons to meal prep is that it teaches you what proper portions should look like!
When I meal prep I measure what I am putting in each container so that I can easily track it later. Even if you aren’t tracking foods or macros, it is important to measure your ingredients so you stick to proper portions. It is SO easy to overeat a little here and a little there, then wonder why you aren’t hitting your goals!
I keep a food scale, measure cups and measuring spoons handy when I meal prep so that I can easily measure out servings into my meal prep containers. No more over-eating at lunch, because you have the right amount of food for you and your body already portioned out!
It can decrease stress. I love to eat healthy and stick to clean eating foods 80% of the time. It can definitely make me more stressed if I feel like I don’t have anything prepared ahead of time.
I am definitely a planner in general and that goes for my healthy foods too. Obviously some weekends are busier than others. However, I can usually find some amount of time to package up a few healthy snacks and a healthy lunch.
By getting those ready ahead of time, I can start Monday morning relaxed. I am not running around trying to figure out how I am going to eat healthy all day! My foods are already packed in containers and stacked in the fridge. All I have to do it put the containers in my lunch bag!
Trust me, I’ve done meal prep a few different ways. I find it much less stressful throughout the week if I have healthy foods already prepared.
So have I convinced you to meal prep yet? I hope so.
Meal prep can work for anyone looking to save time, save money or eat healthier. Our reasons to meal prep might be differ, but it will still help.
I honestly do believe that meal prep has helped me eat healthier. Eating healthier has in turn helped me reach my fitness goals and completely change my body composition. Your goals in life might be different than mine, but meal prep can help in many different aspects.
Check past meal prep sessions for inspiration for healthy meals with my Grocery Shopping & Meal Prep Ideas posts. I walk you through my grocery shopping list and how I prepare foods for the entire week.
What are your reasons to meal prep?