When you’re trying to lose weight, healthy meal prepping is something of a healthy living lifesaver. Whipping up a big batch of healthy meals and wholesome snacks then portioning them out into individual grab-and-go servings before your busy week begins is a great way to stick to a well-balanced diet… and you’ll save time while you’re at it.
Spending some time on a Sunday afternoon chopping up veggies and portioning out your almonds and hard-boiled eggs is a great way to ensure that you’ll always have healthy, plan-friendly snacks on hand when hunger strikes. But that’s not the only perk of meal prepping.
Here are our top 10 reasons healthy meal prepping can make your week (much!) better:
1. It saves time.
It’s pretty much a no-brainer: Putting together a week’s worth of healthy meals is much faster and more convenient when done all at once. Chop your veggies and portion out your proteins all on a Sunday afternoon, and you’ll save yourself the hassle of having to do it after a long day at work, when you’re moving slower and enduring constant interruptions from spouses, kids or pets. Plus, mapping out your meals before the week begins cuts back on time spent deciding what to eat, cooking or rifling through your pantry.
2. It stops you from overeating.
Portion control is your best friend when it comes to weight loss. Time to whip out the little Ziploc bags and cute Tupperware containers so you can portion out all of the ingredients for your weekly diet meals or healthy snack picks. Say goodbye to that guilt you feel from overeating and get familiar with what healthy portion sizes actually look like. Make sure to portion out your food appropriately following the serving sizes on ingredient labels as much as possible.
3. It makes mornings less stressful.
We all know the morning rush makes it super stressful to leave the house in one piece with your sanity intact. If you want one less thing to worry about during your mad dash out the door, a balanced and pre-prepped breakfast is the answer. Try these 12 grab-and-go breakfast recipes for your meal prep menu! >
4. It promotes consistent eating habits.
Eating right is not just about what you’re consuming, it also requires you to pay attention to how much and how frequently you are eating. With your meals and snacks pre-made for the week, you run less risk of overeating or skipping healthy meals—both of which can throw off your diet and mess up your metabolism. Meal prepping and planning ahead to ensure your healthy meals are packed with the nutrition you need to maintain your healthy lifestyle helps you avoid the temptation to grab fast food or slurp down a soda.
5. It makes grocery shopping easier.
If you’re one of those supermarket wanderers traveling from aisle to aisle in anxious confusion and never quite setting sight on what you need, a perfectly planned grocery list could really come in handy. You’ll know exactly which ingredients you need to make your weight loss meals for the week, and you’ll be less likely to grab junk food with your weekly list ready to go.
6. It saves money.
Instead of buying whatever catches your eye, healthy meal prepping forces you to get down to business in the grocery store so you can get in and get out with what you need. You’ll stay away from buying all those unhealthy treats that are yelling your name (tub of ice cream, we’re looking at you!), and you’ll keep your purchases to exactly what you have on your list. Consider buying your favorite non-perishables in bulk (think almonds, frozen veggies, etc.), and you’ll be able to prep even more healthy meals and snacks in advance. Added bonus: You’ll likely save some cash while you’re at it, since bulk buying is often less expensive. Who doesn’t love saving money? We certainly do!
Plus, if you’re anything like us, once you prepare a meal or snack, you’ll have guilt if you let it go bad… which means you’ll skip the money-suck that is the drive through, and eat what you prepared when meal-time (or snack-time!) rolls around.
7. It keeps your kitchen cleaner.
Sunday night is usually the best for lounging, finishing off chores and preparing for the week ahead. Take some of this time to portion, chop, sauté and prep those healthy meals. Once you’re finished and the clean-up is complete, you’ll be thanking yourself as your kitchen stays neat and tidy throughout the week. Essentially, your kitchen clean-up for the week will only include throwing a few containers into the dishwasher!
8. It lightens your weekly tasks.
Finding a way to eat healthy every day takes energy and effort, but once you start planning and meal prepping, your week is fully open for other activities you need time for—think friends, family, hobbies, work and more! Not to mention, you can now totally fit in multiple trips to the gym and use that extra energy to really push yourself during your workouts.
9. It helps you avoid poor food choices.
As we mentioned, your grocery shopping will be a LOT easier with weekly menus planned out prior to running to the store. So, as long as you don’t sneak any snacks or unnecessary foods onto that grocery list, you’ll only be buying quality, nutritional items to fill out your low carb diet. With well portioned healthy meals and snacks always on hand, you won’t have to worry about reaching for something less than healthy when hunger rears its ugly head.
10. It reduces your food decision fatigue.
The days of wondering what you will eat next will be a thing of the past, along with the guilt that surfaces after you make the wrong food choice. That’s because you’ll already have an answer when the old “What’s for dinner?” question makes its debut. Stick with your weight loss meal plan and you won’t have to add another decision to your day.