Meal Prep may not be a new fitness trend; you're undoubtedly familiar with this! And If you're new to meal planning and about to try it, what you see online may scare or overwhelm you -- well, it can even be quite a hassle for fitness enthusiasts. It may consume a whole day to prepare a week's worth of meal prep, but if done incorrectly, it may entirely put you off the notion, leaving you looking for fast food or other alternatives.
A strategy or plan is essential for successful and healthy meal preparation. But you don't have to cook everything you'll eat for the rest of the week in a single day, and you don't have to spend much money on new appliances. The most important thing to concentrate on – at least initially — is how to prepare good, balanced meals. According to one research , those who plan their meals are more likely to stick to dietary recommendations and eat a wider range of foods.
To start your "Meal Prepping" Journey, you may begin planning and preparing one meal in advance, then progress to all the meals of your day over time.
Why try meal prepping?
You may already know that your eating habits may influence your physical health, but what if we told you that food may also impact you in other ways? Harvard's Health Blog compares our brains to high-end automobiles that require premium gasoline to perform optimally. Unhealthy diets, or "bad fuel," may cause inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies. Studies have linked these signs to poor brain function and emotional disturbances . To summarize, consuming nutritious, "premium" meals may be better for your physical and emotional well-being.
So, what does this have to do with meal planning?
By organizing your meals for the week, you can picture your body's food consumption over time and minimize things that make you feel less than great. Moreover, pre-planned meals make eating healthily easier, allowing you to avoid frozen pizzas and drive-thrus. Meal planning also saves you time, worry, and a lot of dishes over the week!
Take a look at these simple, actionable recommendations that you may use in your daily life. Whether you're a seasoned veteran doing it for years or just starting out, these tips and tricks may come in handy.
1. Start SIMPLE!
Meal preparation is about making life simpler, not more difficult. Don't overwhelm yourself by doing too much at once; starting small helps ease into it and assures you'll be a seasoned food preparer in no time!
You may start with one or two recipes and create large amounts to save time. Then, prepare a couple of different recipes, including snacks, if you're comfortable and have a method that works for you. And if you struggle to make dinner after a long day at work, having your evening meals ready to go in the freezer is a fantastic place to start. Once you've established a habit, you may begin to experiment with new recipes and plan out extra meals and snacks for the week.
2. Organize your Pantry, Monitor your supplies, and Shop with a list!
Use what you have before you go shopping and meal planning. This will prevent food waste while also saving you money. That's why taking an inventory of your pantry and keeping it organized is very important.
Once done with your inventory, make your grocery list and match it with all the recipes you plan to prepare. By doing this, it will help you save time and avoid forgetting essential ingredients.
3. Use suitable and reusable containers
Many dietitians suggest using microwaveable and dishwasher-safe containers, especially glass containers, as you can see what's inside without taking off the lid.
You may also get a set of containers that allows them to be simply stacked, saving valuable space inside your fridge. Stasher bags are an excellent alternative to plastic bags if you seek other options. Organization is key! Nothing is more frustrating than preparing a week's worth of meals only to discover that you don't have any containers to keep them in—or, worse, no matching lids.
4. Choose healthier snacks
Yes, you can meal prep more than just meals! Try healthier snack
alternatives  to replace those junk snacks without fully starving yourself. Do you have a sweet tooth? Instead, make some chia seed pudding to keep on hand. Do you like potato chips? Make your own by combining kale, avocado, sweet potato, and apples!
And yes, some people love snacking! So instead of completely removing snacks from your diet, take the time to make guilt-free snacks that will fulfill your cravings without jeopardizing your health goals.
5.Practice makes Perfect
While having a plan is beneficial, we understand that you are busy and that life might throw curve balls at you. It's fantastic to be planned and prepare your meals for the entire week, but it's not always doable. Don't be too hard on yourself if you skip a day or choose take-out on the way home instead of eating that perfectly cooked supper from the freezer. Every step forward is a step forward, and a cheat day never hurt anyone!
6. Supplements to support your digestive health
As you enjoy all the healthy meals you have prepared, don't forget to give your digestive system extra love and support!
Try Nature's Branch 60 Billion Probiotic, designed to support your gut balance and digestive system. It contains a maximum of 60 billion CFU live cultures in each capsule and comes with essential prebiotic fiber and 10 researched strains to help with maximizing absorption in the stomach.
Nature's Branch 60 Billion Probiotic is non-GMO, gluten free and vegan and each of our one-a-day capsules are easy to swallow for everyday use, giving them the upper hand over many other probiotics.
- Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. (2017). Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5288891/
- Selhub, E., MD. (2020, March 26). Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Harvard Health. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
- Commerce, N. (2019, October 31). 6 Healthy Junk Food Alternatives (That’ll Kick Your Cravings). Pulp & Press Canada Inc. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.pulpandpress.com/blogs/learn/6-healthy-junk-food-alternatives-thatll-kick-your-cravings