Okay, its Monday evening, you have had a long day at work, and you still have 4 days to go until Friday…You can’t be bothered to cook. So, here’s the importance of planning meals ahead and avoiding that craving for comfort food that loads you up on fat, salt, sugar and all kinds of nasty stuff they put in the takeaway food.
Now here comes the meal planning! What is better than coming home after a long day at work, knowing that you have got a healthy dinner pre-cooked, all ready for you, waiting in the fridge!
The downside of meal prep might be that you will end up eating the same meal for a few days. That is why, it’s important to make your batch cooking delicious, so you enjoy it. Otherwise, you will end up hating it, and order a takeaway instead. If you are the type of person who needs to eat a different food each day, you could plan two different meals and shift them between the days.
For example, precook ahead healthy sweetcorn fritters for 2 days, and precook a bean chili for another 2-3 days. You can always freeze a portion if you made a bit more than you need.
The Importance of Meal Planning:
1. You know exactly what goes into your food!
You are in charge of the food now, and you know what it contains. You know how much oil you have added, you don’t go overboard with salt, and you will normally add fresh vegetables.
2. You start eating healthy without even realizing it.
Have you ever read the ingredients list of the ready meal you have bought from the store?
I bet the list is long, and there are about 6 things you can’t even pronounce! These are mostly stabilizers, which make the shelf life longer. Also, about 90% of all ready meals have got added sugar. So, the food you cook has got none of that crap in it, it’s all pure ingredients. No processed chemical powders and unpronounceable products.
3. Cooking is fun!
It’s so therapeutic too. Just chopping your veggies in silence, gathering your thoughts in peace, and you are being productive at the same time! It’s a win-win!
4. You will slowly change your tastebuds
Eating pure food like homecooked will help you change your tastebuds for healthy food.
All the takeaway or shop-bought food is loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and so much salt! And it’s normally quite processed. All this changes our tastebuds, so we become unable to enjoy vegetables and less processed food or less salty and greasy food.
If you eat homecooked food for 2 weeks, and with as little junk food in between as possible, you will start noticing the difference.
It can be a bit difficult in the beginning, especially if you are someone who is used to eating out, or eating only takeaways and ready meals.
You may find your batch cooking less tasty, and boring.
But trust me, this won’t be for long.
I was the same when I first started, I would hate having to eat the same thing 2-3 times a week, and it just wasn’t as satisfying as a greasy burger with deep-fried potatoes. It was boring!
But it took me exactly 2 weeks, to actually start “tasting” the whole, less processed food. Never looked back since.
It was very important for me at the time, because I would count calories, so everything I cooked, I’d know how much calories there was per serving, so I end up being at a calorie deficiency at the end of the day, which obviously led to weight loss.
5. You will lose weight!
Yes yes, you will!
Eating healthy home-cooked food, and more vegetables, in general, will help you lose weight.
Because from eating junk food on a regular basis to suddenly cutting it down, it will “calm down” your body and you will shed some pounds.
The home-cooked food has a lot fewer calories in general, and you will normally have vegetables, which are a lot in quantity, filling and low in calories.
So even if you have a big portion, most of it will be vegetables, which have very little calories.
Without even realizing it, you will be in a calorie deficiency by the end of the day.
6. You save money, loads, loads of money!
A takeaway is what, a minimum of £6-7 ($7.69 – $8.69) That’s the super minimum!
Will you be shocked, if I tell you, that most of my batch cooking meals, which last me for 6 dinners normally, cost me £6 ($7.69). Now that’s the importance of planning meals!
So, you start eating healthy, and you save shit-tons of money! Another win, win.
Who said eating healthy has to be expensive?
7. You can eat as soon as you feel hungry
Meal prepping also helps you manage hunger, because you can eat as soon as you feel hungry rather than having to wait until you cook your food.
Managing hunger often means you won’t overeat when you finally sit down for a meal because you won’t be as insanely hungry.
And you won’t snack on stuff while waiting for the food to cook. Which means you will consume fewer calories. And what does that mean? – weight loss.
8. It saves you time
The importance of planning meals can save quite a bit of time.
Whether you simply pre-chop ingredients or cook all your meals for the week each Sunday, when you get home after a long day, you’ll be thankful you don’t have to take the time to go to the store or perhaps even cook.
This may leave you with more time to work out, catch up on TV shows, read a book or just spend the additional extra time with family.
9. The importance of planning meals helps you battle temptations.
When you’ve had a long day or just not the best day, it’s easy to convince yourself you should just run down the street and pick up some comfort food.
But if you have a healthy meal waiting for you in the fridge, you can defeat the temptation. Your ready-made meal is closer and faster.
Meal prep takes the guesswork and potentially bad food decisions.
When you’re hungry at 12:30 p.m, you’ll order or eat the first thing that crosses your plate.
Having a prepped meal cuts back on eating unhealthy, not to mention expensive food and ensures proper food decisions.
A premade meal also makes the wait in a take-out line or at the drive-thru less appealing.
Choosing your meal ahead of time also removes the element of impulse purchasing.
Even if you’re having a particularly stressful day at work, you won’t be tempted to grab a cheeseburger with fries if you already have your meal ready to eat.
Research supports this concept that people have overall healthier meals when they preselect their food in advance.
10. You can customize meals to your needs.
Are you gluten-free? Are you Vegan?
Are you fed up of having to complain that they have put dairy cheese in your burger?
Or members of staff assuring you that your food is completely vegan or gluten-free, but you can just tell it’s not.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or you are just focused on eating more protein, or you are just watching the number of calories you consume.
Meal-prepping can help you match your diet goals-something that is very difficult to do with restaurant food.
You can also customize your meals and snacks to your tastes, preferences and energy needs.
Want to include more vegetables to your diet? This is the way! Want more protein and less fat? This is the way!