Written By. Emily Dwyer
Do you find yourself heading to work hungry and groggy in the morning? Are you starving by the time dinner rolls around because you had an unfulfilling lunch? In this case, have you had to resort to swinging by Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s to grab a quick bite to eat so you can get through the day? If you answered yes, you are not the only one – according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, between 2013-2016, 36% of Americans ate fast food for a meal on any given day. How can we avoid the inevitable cycle of resorting to high-calorie, low-nutrient fast foods when we don’t have time to cook every day? Meal prepping!
How is meal prepping going to help me?
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve showed up to work without a lunch packed because I went out to dinner the night before and did not prep a thing. When this happens, I usually go to a nearby sandwich shop and find something on the menu that seems somewhat healthy and not too expensive. But if this happens 2 or 3 times each month, meaning that $12 sandwich I buy ends up costing me about $500 per year if factoring in chips and a drink. Is it worth it for bread and deli meat? Probably not. Meal prepping can literally prevent this entire situation.
- With prepared lunches & dinners you’ll be saving money by not going out to restaurants or other fast-food establishments
- You’ll save time by not having to leave work or school to purchase these meals
- You’ll receive higher-quality nutrition, which will help boost your natural energy
- Meal prepping allows you to get more bang for your buck by providing a nutritious and fulfilling meal at a comparable cost to eating out
How do I start meal prepping?
First, discuss with your family (or whoever you’re prepping for). What types of foods do they like and what can they eat throughout the day? For instance, do they have a microwave at work/school they can use to heat up meals, or would they prefer to stick with something cold. Can they have snacks throughout the day?
Next, begin to write down your weekly meal plans on a meal calendar – from this calendar will come your grocery list for the week. Then, make sure you have some durable and Pyrex to store your prepped meals. It’s also important to choose a particular day of the week to do your shopping and prep-work so you can work it into your already busy schedule.
OK – I started meal prepping, but how do I stick to it?
Starting to meal prep is easy, the not so easy part is sticking to it! Personally, one of my favorite things to do on the weekends is go out and try new restaurants or go back to some of my favorites. The thought of giving this up sounds awful to me as I’m sure it does to many other people. Let’s be honest, there are so many good places to indulge these days, you gotta feed the craving sometimes!
But one of the best parts about meal prepping is it will save you money by not going out so often and paying additional charges like meal tax and gratuity. When you’re creating your meal calendar, mark the days that you plan to go out to dinner, and this will give you something to look forward to. And if all else fails you can hire a personal chef from The Holistic Trick to meal prep for you and your family without the hassle!
I cook all or almost all of our evening meals for me & my husband , but don’t plan lunch. He will eat leftovers most days and I make salads, soups and leftovers sometimes. Meals take a long time at night with prep and clean up but I fly by the seat of my pants, no menu. How do I get organized enough to do meal prepping?