Have you ever been stuck going nowhere fast on a busy freeway with lots of traffic and looked on with longing at people speeding by in the carpool lane? Or have you been one of the drivers in that express lane, exceedingly grateful that you weren’t one of those poor souls going nowhere in gridlock? On our journey toward our ideal selves, meal prepping is that +1 in your vehicle that lets you get into that carpool lane and really make progress. Let’s look at four reasons why meal prepping is so powerful in helping you reach your goals.
1. Makes it easier to eat healthy
We humans are
lazy efficient. We are always looking for the easiest way to accomplish our tasks. By prepping some healthy meals ahead of time, you take the dread away from having to cook when you get hungry. Simply heat up some food you’d made previously, and dinner is served. Slow cooker recipes allow you to dump a bunch of ingredients into a pot, set a timer, and go off to work. Come home, and dinner is done! And the recipes usually yield big portions, so you are likely to have some leftovers for lunch the next day or dinner later in the week. Prepping can also help with snacking. When I buy grapes, as soon as I get home from the store, I wash the grapes, then stand there and pick each one off the vine and into a bowl. The bowl then goes in the fridge. Whenever I feel the need for a snack, it’s super easy to just open the fridge and grab and handful and start popping them right into my mouth. If at the time I wanted to eat them I’d have to pick them, I’d likely pass for something else. Prepping makes the easy choice the healthy choice.
2. Built-in portion control
Another way that prepping can help you reach your goals quicker is with some pre-built portion control. Each week on Sunday, I prep my lunches for the week. Currently I’m doing salads, but in the past I’ve also done tuna with chickpeas and tomatoes, baked chicken thighs, and ground turkey with oats. Whatever the meal, I cook up a big batch, then divide it up into containers and put them in the fridge. In the morning before work, I just need to grab a container to take with me for lunch. By doling it all out beforehand, I know exactly how much I’m eating each day.
3. Saves time
Meal prepping sounds like a lot of work, but believe me, it saves so much time. Take 10-15 minutes to plan out what your meals for the week will be, and write out your grocery list. If you tend to be a bit particular, like I am, you can even put the list in order based on the route you take through the store. It makes shopping trips so much faster. Also, while it does take some time to prep my lunches for the week, it would take longer in total to make a salad each morning than to make all of them at once. Plus, I get to sleep in an extra five minutes. Slow cooker meals are the ultimate in time savers. The prep work for the recipes is usually fairly minimal; mostly it’s just dumping all the ingredients into a pot and setting the timer.
4. Saves money
Planning and prepping your meals in advance saves money. You will waste less food when you only buy what you’re going to cook. And since you only bought enough for the one week, you avoid the issue of having too many options and having food go bad because you never got around to cooking it. Using my grapes example again, I eat them all up because they’re easy to eat, so they don’t go bad, and I haven’t wasted my money.
Just like any other trip, our journey toward our best selves requires planning to get us to our destination. And meal planning is a tactic that will help get you into the fast lane.
What’s your favorite slow-cooker recipe? Let me know in the comments!