Meal planning and meal prepping can often bring up a whole lot of dread and confusion when it comes to leading a consistently healthy life. Whether you are time poor or just don’t know what to whip up each week, we are here to explain that it doesn’t have to be complicated! Check out the many benefits that come with prepping and planning your meals.
Meal planning and prepping: what is the difference?
Meal planning and meal prepping go hand in hand in creating a consistent simple and healthy diet each day. Meal prepping doesn’t come about without meal planning. They are a very powerful team!
Meal planning can save a whole lot of thinking time when you stand in front of the fridge trying to conjure up what meal the remaining ingredients in the fridge could become. Instead, writing down even a super rough guide for the week can save time, money, and plenty of frustrating, “what do you feel like?” conversations.
Meal prepping is when you know what meal you want to create, and you create this meal in advance. Whether it is just a significant portion of the meal, such as roasting up a whole lot of vegetables for chicken salads for lunch or cooking up curries, stir fries or pasta to freeze for easy weeknight dinners, meal prepping can be a huge help in your busy week!
The benefits of meal planning and prepping
Assists in you sticking to a particular diet
When sticking to particular diets, challenges, or programs, you will probably find that meal plans are often an inclusion to ensure you are following particular calorie limits, macros or specific food groups such as low calorie, high protein, or vegan for example. It keeps you on track to your goals, so you get the correct foods and nutritional needs necessary for you!
Helps take out the guesswork
Planning out and organising your meals ahead can really assist you in taking the guesswork out during a busy week. Even if you simply plan out your dinners, this can be extremely beneficial when you get home, check your plan and know what you are having for dinner.
Planning for more flexible and ‘I feel like this’ breakfasts or lunches can often be much easier. These meals are generally quicker to prepare, for busy bees, being thrown together meals such as oats, eggs, wraps, or salads. Planning in this instance can be simply ensuring these foods are readily available.
Gets the creative juices flowing
Meal planning can be fun! If you have wanted to create and try out particular recipes for a while, pop them into your plan. Planning can really allow you to get organised before life becomes that little bit busier and more stressful throughout the week.
Don’t worry… meal prepping is not simply just dedicating an entire Sunday afternoon to cooking up one big meal that will provide you with five lunches for each day. Meal prep can be so many different things. This might be your idea of meal prep that you enjoy, but often simply preparing certain foods that are common in a few meals can save you masses of time. Here are a few examples:
- Roast vegetables
- Cut up fruit
- Cooking healthy carbs in bulk
- Cooking protein sources in bulk such as mince, chicken, or chickpeas
Cut down the waste
Knowing what you are creating means putting your shopping list together that will lead to (hopefully) less impulse and temptation buying, meaning less waste! How many times have you thought “Oh… I might make a salad this week, so I’ll grab some extra veggies in case I need them,” then a week of a spur of moment meal creations occur each night and suddenly the fridge is full of moldy pumpkin and smelly spinach? Cut out the waste, save money AND save the environment by planning!
Portion control is one of the most well-known hacks when it comes to finding yourself leading a healthier diet daily. Eating the right portions can be so easily attained when your meals for each day are planned in advance. When you plan out your meals, you very quickly notice that what you originally thought was a ‘normal’ portion is most likely a bigger serving size than once thought. Those double servings aren’t necessarily needed for providing you with fuel and nutrition and are a sure way to lead a healthy diet each and every day without cutting out the foods you love. Of course, this depends on what your goals nutrition and health goals are. Check out our top portion control tips here!
When you have written down and stuck your plans for dinner each night on the fridge, this serves as an accountability tool. You’ve planned, written down, and bought food for those particular meals. This will lead to you ultimately feeling like you should stick to that plan. This might help remove the temptation to order in that Pad Thai and not waste your fresh fruit and veg and instead eat that planned delicious stir fry! Winning!
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