5 (new) reasons to love meal prep
By Christina Ross, Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)
One of the key habits of people who maintain a healthy lifestyle would have to be that they prepare their meals. The degree of preparation and planning that works for you may vary, but we can all appreciate that preparing a few healthy meals for the week ahead will ensure we eat a more nutritionally balanced diet and save money (by avoiding take-away meals and impulse buys).
However, for those who need further convincing, here are 5 new reasons to love meal prep that have nothing to do with health:
- Be inspired to cook new recipes – Plan one new recipe per week to expand your healthy meal repertoire. Opting to cook this meal ahead of time on the weekend (when you are likely more relaxed and don’t have the time pressure to get dinner on the table ASAP in the middle of a busy week) can bring the joy back to cooking.
- Reduce food waste – The steps involved in meal prep, including planning your meals, writing a shopping list to only buy what you need and incorporating leftovers into lunch meals, will improve how well you cater to your needs and minimise the amount of uneaten food that ends up in the bin.
- One less choice to make in the day – We know our willpower is like a muscle, it fatigues with each choice we make. It’s little wonder, that by the end of a long day filled with having to make many decisions, your willpower is running dry and you don’t have the brain power to answer the eternal question “What’s for dinner?”. Instead, with your meal plan all sorted, you will know exactly how to answer this question without even having to think about it!
- Weeknight dinner themes are fun – Streamline your meal planning by assigning a theme to some of the nights in the week. You might like to try meat-free Monday, taco Tuesday or stir-fry Fridays (to use up all the leftover veggie bits and pieces from the week).
- Keep your future-self happy – The small time investment to meal prep on the weekend will be far outweighed by the gratitude you’ll feel when you can come at the end of a busy day with a dinner plan already sorted…or even better with dinner already partially prepared or cooked. Your future-self will thank your present self for being so organised and taking the stress off.