Eating healthy meals can be a struggle for busy adults. It seems easier to grab a quick bite out during a busy day than take the time to prepare a meal.
In fact, 20% of Americans admit they eat out at least once a week. This means people are choosing convenience over control.
The good news is, with some simple meal prep strategies you can combine convenience and control. Meal prep allows you to create healthy recipes for easy access throughout the week.
Choosing healthy meal prep options over less healthy fast food also helps with weight loss. A study from the National Institute of Health found that regular meal prep was beneficial to weight loss and decreased obesity. How does meal prep help you lose weight?
Weight Loss Benefits of Meal Prep
When you choose to plan ahead, creating healthy meals for the week, you give yourself more control over what you’re eating. When you go into your week prepared, you cut out the need for quick fixes when hunger strikes.
Control Nutrient Intake with Healthy Meals
With prepared meals, you have control over the nutritional value of your meals. Every person is different when it comes to their weight loss needs. With some simple planning and ahead-of-time prep, you make sure the foods you need are available.
You have complete control over the types of food you prepare. This means you can create snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that will meet your schedule needs. This cuts down on the quick dash to the fast food line or prepared foods section of the grocery store.
If you know you’ll be on the run through the day, you can create meals that travel well. You can also have meals ready in the fridge when you get home, so all you have to do is stick it in the oven.
Whatever your schedule requires, you control the foods available. By planning around these schedule needs, you ensure a balanced diet throughout the day. You also have the ability to plan for portion control.
Meal Prep Makes Shopping Easier
When you start with a plan, it’s easier to pick the groceries you need for the week. You can go into the grocery store knowing exactly what you need. This means you can plan your meals around high-quality foods and cut out the need for unhealthy snacks and prepared foods.
Healthy meal prep involves using downtime to create ready-to-go meals around foods that promote weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. High protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-rich vegetables are a staple with meal prep.
By planning meals around these nutrient-rich foods, you cut out the guesswork. This means having several standard meal prep recipes to plan around.
Planning Healthy Meals Decreases Food Obsession
One of the biggest problems with traditional diet plans is the obsession that takes over. When you start worrying about what not to eat, your mind can become obsessed with the rules of the diet.
If you focus on having food ready for when hunger strikes, you can reduce that food obsession. Focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t relieves the stress involved with dieting.
Meal prep helps you relax about where your next meal is coming from. You have a plan, you have food available as soon as you’re hungry, and you don’t have to worry about on the spot calorie counting or nutrient analysis.
By planning ahead you relieve the stress involved with making good food choices. You can plan for high protein and healthy fat meals for those times you know you’ll have a slump. This can cut out some of those cravings that derail your weight loss efforts.
Meal Prep Allows for Variety
Let’s face it, when we eat on the go, choices are limited. Fast food and quick grab foods only have so many options. This doesn’t have to be the case with healthy meal prep.
By preparing foods ahead of time, you can create several options to choose from for each day. This will help banish that food boredom that can come with dieting.
Meal prep allows for creativity and variety through the week. This keeps you from giving up and choosing something unhealthy. Plus, you cut out the need to choose from burger, chicken, or tacos every day that comes with a fast food diet.
How to Meal Prep
If you’re new to meal prep, make sure you start simple. Start with the meal that causes you the most trouble to get used to the idea. Pick some easy meal prep recipes to start, and slowly build up your options.
By starting simple you give yourself time to get used to the idea of meal prep. It also helps to get your family involved. Discuss favorite recipes and dietary needs for everyone.
Another way to keep it up is to schedule the time. If you plan the time for meal prep, you’re more likely to stick to that schedule.
Pick a specific day and time each week to plan and prepare your meals. Stick to that schedule. Treat this time just like you would any other priority on your schedule.
It’s also a good idea to plan and schedule the meals you plan to create. Get the foods that require the most prep out of the way first, and move on to simpler foods.
Knowing what recipes you plan to create also helps. If you have several meals that involve chicken, you can cook it all at the same time and separate it for the individual recipes. Make meal prep as easy as possible for yourself so you can stick with the process.
Beyond Meal Prep-Creating a Healthy Lifestyle
Meal prep is just one aspect of creating a healthy lifestyle for weight loss and maintenance. To get the most out of your health goals, it’s important to educate yourself and get advice.
Dietary supplements can also help as you work towards those health goals. Programs that are supervised by health professionals can help you find the right supplements or lifestyle needs for your weight loss goals. For more information about dietary programs, check out the ChiroThin program and find a doctor near you to help you get started.