Is Meal Prepping Even Worth It?
Meal prepping. It sounds so... fancy, so... elite, so... intense. Spending Sunday evening grilling chicken, steaming vegetables, baking potatoes... is it really worth it?
ONE HUNDRED TIMES- YES!
It seems daunting and difficult at the beginning-- like, where do you even start?-- but after a couple rounds of practice, it's really second nature and sort of therapeutic in a weird way. Spending time cooking good things for your body, knowing you're taking care of yourself AND saving yourself so much mid-week hassle is SO worth the learning curve and extensive tupperware washing that will ensue.
I am 1000% behind meal prepping in a way that works for YOU. And here's why:
1) It saves time.
I think of my time distribution like that old rush hour toy game we used to play where all the cars were locked in a grid, but you had to move them around forward and backwards until you got that one little red car out.
Quit saying you don't have time to meal prep. Guess what: you're going to have to shift things around to make time to cook and prepare meals in advance. BUT guess what else: in shifting more time to one spot, you're freeing up multiple slots of time in other places during your week.
You might not want to (or be able to) prep ever single meal and snack for all the days of your week, and that's okay, but think of it like the rush hour game: where can you afford to use some time preparing meals and where can you not? If you know breakfast is always a rush, be sure to prep breakfast as a priority. Do what works for you! Figuring this out will come with practice and depend on your schedule.
2) It saves mental energy.
When it's time to eat, the worst question is, "What do I want to eat?" Save yourself the agony by having some staples prepared and ready to choose from. You won't have to waste time deciding where to go, what to pick up, or how you can get the healthiest thing from the closest restaurant that delivers. Skip that mental torture by having your meals on deck!
3) It sets a tone.
Once you've prepped meals and your fridge is packed with good things to eat, your mind is in the zone. It just happens. You've done the heavy lifting (metaphorically), now all that's left is the literal heavy lifting. If you can commit to 1-2 hours (tops!!) ONCE a week to a tupperware party in your kitchen, your mental game will be so. ON.
4) It eradicates excuses.
With food already prepared and ready to go in your fridge, there's no such thing as "but I don't have time," or "I don't feel like cooking," and "I fell off track because we went out to eat."
If you take the time ONCE to prepare some healthy options for yourself, you don't have to worry about having time to cook or "feeling like" cooking for the rest of the week.
And it's not to say you can't still enjoy a night out to eat with friends or family, but if your meals are prepared, it does make it a bit harder to indulge knowing you're kind of "wasting" food back home. Either don't prep as many dinners and PLAN on eating out, OR, eat your meal before/after dinner and just get a small salad (dressing on the side) at the restaurant. It's all about balance and which cars you can/can't move when certain ones are locked in place.
5) It keeps you on track.
This is an obvious one, but it can't be ignored. Meal prepping is hands down the easiest way to stay on top of your nutrition, because, let's be honest, most healthy, balanced meals take a bit of preparation since you're cooking from different food groups.
It's easy to microwave a lean cuisine. It's quick to bake a potato. But it takes time to bake a fish, steam some veggies and bake that sweet potato. There's no denying good food takes time, and time is limited.
That's why meal prepping is key: it actually gives us time back AND helps us stay on target with our nutrition. Having proteins, veggies and good carbohydrates on deck during the entire week leaves little to no room for nutrition nightmares. And, like we said in #3: it sets a tone. Meal prepping is going to keep you on track, not just in the kitchen, but in the gym, on the trails or wherever you're working up a sweat.