There are so many meal prep benefits you reap when you start preparing your own food.
Having control over what you eat is a great way to save time and money. Studies show it’s also a great way to accelerate weight loss or promote your progress towards fitness goals.
However, the whole approach can feel overwhelming at first. If you’re asking why meal prepping is important, you’re also probably wondering why it’s worth going through the trouble of cooking in advance.
Here are 8 benefits that will help you understand why it’s worth it.
1. You Will Save Money
One of the best meal prep benefits is that it lines your pockets with more cash. Buying in bulk and cooking ahead of time may seem more expensive at first. But over the course of a month (or few months), you’ll likely reduce your budget for food.
The average American eats out 5.9 times per week. If you spend even just ten dollars per meal, you’re spending about $3,000 per year on food (and let’s be honest; ten dollars per meal is low). Many times eating out is done more for convenience and the food is not even that enjoyable. Wouldn’t it be better to take the money you save and put it towards something that is much more enjoyable and fulfilling such as a spa treatment, new clothes or weekend away.
The beauty of meal prepping to save money is you control every dollar you spend. You add a degree of intentionality to your shopping and cooking that ends up paying off down the road.
2. Meal Prep Promotes Weight Loss
Studies show people who cook their own meals tend to control their weight better. It makes sense when you consider what cooking at home gives you.
You have total freedom over what goes into your food. No unhealthy oils or unnecessary calories. You also have the ability to portion out your food so that you don’t overeat. Not to mention that are so many hidden calories food that is prepared in restaurants and depending upon the restaurant there could be a lot of additives that contribute to inflammation which slows down weight loss
Making your own food, while sticking to whole foods you will be able to accelerate your weight loss results.
There’s a national obesity epidemic in America and people eat out at a surprising rate. You can protect yourself from being a part of both statistics by simply prepping food at home.
3. It’s Great for Busy Schedules
If you’re busy, you might be asking, “Should I meal prep?”
The answer is yes! Especially if you want to save time throughout the week.
With some practice, you can meal prep all your food for the week in one or two concerted batches of cooking. That’s about three to four hours from start to finish, which includes going to the grocery store. (Go during off-hours to save yourself even more time).
If you aren’t savvy in the kitchen, it’ll take some time to get here – but don’t let that discourage you.
Many of my clients are busy professionals who do not have a lot of time to dedicate to meal prep and cooking which is one of the major reasons they have struggled with weight. By following my plan that includes intermittent fasting and doing some batch prepping and cooking they find they are spending a lot less time in the kitchen which means they are able to stay consistent with their weight loss plan. And it is a lot less stressful for them.
4. You’ll Broaden Your Cooking Skills
In the same way meal preppers tend to start finding deals and saving money, they also tend to become better cooks.
The reason why is simple: you’re going to want to change up what you eat! If right now your specialties consist of three or four meals, those will eventually get old.
Fortunately, the internet is home to millions of healthy recipes you can take inspiration from. Pretty soon you might fancy yourself quite the cook! It often becomes a fun creative hobby once you get into the habit of planning and cooking your own food.
5. You’ll Feed Your Family Healthy Food
Meal prepping with a family might seem overwhelming, but it’s actually just as simple as doing it for yourself—you just need a little more time and a bigger shop at the grocery store to pull it off.
Plus, meal prepping at home ensures that your children and significant others get to eat healthy meals. You can feel good about knowing that you provided them with clean energy that will fuel their bodies. Your children will also model your behaviour in the kitchen when they grow up and will be very comfortable with prepping and cooking their own meals.
6. You’ll Feel Empowered
There’s no sense shying away from the fact that meal prepping, at least at first, can be difficult. The actions themselves aren’t difficult, but making a habit out of cooking each week does take some adjustments.
But all that extra work you’re taking to be healthy and mindful of your spending should actually be celebrated! Feel empowered by your decision to take control of your life, your health, and your budget.
Most people would rather eat out or not worry about what they put into their bodies. You’re doing something great for yourself and should be proud.
7. You’ll Reduce Stress Levels
Stress affects us in so many different negative ways. It can promote weight gain, mess with our mental health, and even change our body’s chemistry if we don’t manage it.
Meal prepping helps simplify your life. It ensures you’ll never come home to an empty fridge and always know that fresh, healthy food is waiting for you at home. When you have planned and prepped ahead of time it also means you have less decisions to make when you go into the kitchen to prepare dinner at the end of a long day. This is a time of day when we suffer from “Decision Fatigue” so our capacity to make several more decisions is diminished and that is when we are more likely to make poor choices.
If your family is busy, committing to weekly meal prepping is a great way to take control of your schedule. You’ll reduce stress and probably be less prone to stress-eating as well.
8. It Gets Easier as You Do It
It might sound simple, but one of the best meal prep benefits is that it’s only “hard” for a week or two. That really has more to do with the fact that you’re adjusting to a new item in your schedule. Because it is new it takes more “thinking” and that can feel like it is taking more time but just like learning how to drive a car, eventually it becomes very automatic.
Eventually, meal prepping becomes fun. You streamline your own process, which cuts down on the amount of time (and money) you spend significantly.
You can make it even easier by getting your spouse or children involved. Cooking together is a wonderful family activity that can bring you closer together.
You’re also passing along skills to your kids that they’ll use when they’re older to be more independent and healthy. What a gift that is!
Meal Prep Benefits
There are many meal prep benefits that make cooking your food ahead of time worth it. You’ll lose weight, save time and money, and simplify your life by not eating out all the time or scrounging up dinner at the last minute.
Are you ready to get started on the path to a healthier you? Learn more about Dr Sher’s FastLane Weight loss Program to see if it’s right for you! You use your own food in her programs which is healthier and it sets you up to maintain your weight loss afterwards because you have developed the habit of preparing your meals on a regular basis.