A common theme amongst our clients is not having enough energy at the end of the working day to think about making a nutritious dinner, leading them to reach for the quickest, easiest thing for them to consume. When you have a full, busy schedule, simply the act of cooking can seem like a lot of effort.
This is honestly something, that we 100% understand and can relate to as we too can finish as late as 8.30 pm and the thought of cooking can be a lot of effort. Whilst walking home, we pass our favourite pizzeria…and well we can see how it can be so easy to just grab and go.
Setting aside some time at the weekend, or even on a Monday , to meal prep for the rest of the week can have some amazing benefits. Here are some of those very benefits of planning ahead:
You will save money
Planning your meals for the week will mean when you go shopping, you know what you need to buy, can buy in bulk and not end up buying lots of things you don’t actually need! Planning meals and sticking to a specific shopping list can really help out your wallet!
It can help you lose weight
Whilst there is no guarantee that meal prep will help you lose weight, prepping all your food yourself means you know exactly what you are putting in your body, how it has been prepared and how much you are actually having. It may also help you avoid snacking or going for the takeaway option which will help limit any ‘added’ calories throughout the week.
If you prep food for 3-5 days you will ensure you portion it out for 3-5 days which will help you learn how to portion control
The beauty of meal prep is that it teaches you balance. If you want to lose weight and consume the right amount of nutrients, portion control is vital. You can still treat yourself from time to time, but monitoring how much you eat is an important factor.
You won’t waste food
The beauty of meal prepping is you will have everything ready to go before it can go bad, and if you plan accordingly you will have just the right amount of food to last you the week without throwing any out!
You will save time in the long run
Although you do need to invest some time upfront to plan out your meals properly (and to cook them), you will still end up saving time overall. Think about how much time we waste standing in front of the refrigerator, trying to figure out what to cook. Once your meals are prepared ahead of time, all you need to do is take them out of the fridge and heat them up!
You’re investing time into your health
We all know that for our eating nutrient-dense foods is important for our health. Whilst there is nothing wrong with some chocolate, a pizza, or a takeaway, we don’t want to be doing it for every meal as it’s probably not best for your overall health. Having your food prepared ahead of time means that even if you have a meal or two unplanned (or out), the rest of your meals will have been filled with lots of nutrient dense food sources - with complex carbs, protein and healthy fats.
It may help with willpower
If you have food prepped you will be more likely to eat it and not leave/waste any of it - which should have the knock-on effect of keeping you more satisfied throughout the day and less likely to give in to cravings.
It will reduce stress
Quite simply, everything is planned ahead and all you need to do is heat it up which is pretty awesome when you’re working long days and finishing late at night. It leaves you with one less thing to think/worry about during the week.
Here are some quick and easy food sources that you can either prep ahead of time or have on hand at home that take very little time to make…
1) Sweet potatoes . These are a great carb source that you can literally throw in the microwave for 5-8 minutes and voila!
2) Couscous - the food so nice, they named it twice. You can literally boil the kettle, put some bouillon and couscous in a bowl, cover them with hot water and cover the bowl, and within 5 minutes your couscous is ready to go.
3) Uncle Ben’s express rice. Whilst this is not the most cost effective carb source, it is the quickest and easiest way to get a good carb source in… it literally takes 2 minutes.
4) Wraps - just open the packet… simple!
5) Any other carb source such as quinoa, potatoes, pasta are great carb sources, but they may take you more time to prepare; however, this is not to say you cannot prep these at the weekend and reheat them as time goes by.
1) Pre-make a ratatouille. Chop up some courgette, aubergine, peppers and onions, get some tinned tomatoes and you can make a big batch on a Sunday to last you a few days.
2) Pre-make a salad that you can dish out over the following days
3) I personally find that defrosted frozen vegetables can be cooked extremely quickly
4) Get vegetables, such as peppers, that you can eat raw as well as cooked and therefore if you don’t feel like cooking them you can simply eat them raw
5) Roast a tray of different vegetables which you can reheat over the course of the week
Most people like to eat their protein sources fresh (which I get), so here are some options that can take very little time.
1) Tinned tuna. Now I know this isn’t the most exciting, however, mix it with some salt and spices with some natural yogurt and have it on your microwaved sweet potatoes and you have a very quick jacket potatoes
2) Lean steaks are always a great option as they can be cooked extremely quickly
3) Eggs. Whilst it is not always conventional dinner, having an omelettes or frittata are a very nutritious dinner which can take under 10 minutes to make.
4) Prep some food ahead of time. I personally found a pulled chicken recipe that is so easy to prep and keeps very well over the course of the week. This would go with your express rice, potatoes, wraps etc…
5) On that note prepping a chili at the weekend with lean mince meat or chicken/turkey mince will be an ideal meal to prep
6) Having smoked salmon or smoked trout are delicious protein sources packed with healthy fats which can be the easiest protein source if you really don’t even want to heat it up.