1.) Calorie Control
Meal prepping allows you to know exactly what is going into your food and allows you to control the calories you allow into each meal. Most people get blown away at the fact that their salad from a restaurant can be upwards of 1200 kcal. When you meal prep you can know exactly how many calories you are eating a day. Calorie control is essential for weight loss and weight management. People who do not consistently control their calories with meal prepping can find their weight yo-yoing frequently.
2.) Nutrient control
Meal prepping allows to you also control the nutritional value of your food. If eating free range and hormone free animal products means a lot to you then meal prepping your own meat allows you to only consume those types of meat. If you only want local and organic fruits then meal prepping allows you to incorporate those products into your life. Meal prepping can allow you to pack in the most nutritious ingredients into each meal. It also allows you to manage the proper ratio of macronutrients in each meal: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Classic “to-go” foods are known to be low in nutrient density and variety. Even if you are still meal prepping a sandwich you can make that sandwich the healthiest version it can be by using multigrain bread, avocado spread, fresh cut meat, plenty of vegetables, etc.
3.) Cost control.
It is pretty well known that if you have a strict food budget then cooking at home is a must. The more restaurant meals and convenience foods that you cut out of your diet the more money you save. The cheapest form of meal prepping is buying food items in bulk and meal prepping those bulk foods into multiple days worth of meals. EX: buying a pack of 5 pork chops and the vegetable that’s on sale that week at the supermarket can end up being 5 meals and only needs to be prepped once.
4.) Portion control.
The best thing you can do once you have cooked your meals is to pre-portion them out into individual meals in their own tupperware. Knowing that all you have to do in the morning is grab a tupperware out of the refrigerator helps your motivation to eat the food you prepared. Along with calorie control the act of portion control with meal prepping is another way that it helps with weight loss and weight management. Portion control is needed in order to stop the weight fluctuations from fad dieting and make your diet a lifestyle.
5.) Saves Time.
If you meal prep all of your meals for the week on a Sunday then it will never take you more than a few minutes to have a meal ready. So instead of having to work a 10 hour day and then come home and cook for 2 hours you only need to reheat a pre-portioned out meal and maybe cut some fresh vegetables. This will then free up time for you to get more physical activity in your day which will also help with weight loss and weight management.
6.) Increases variety in your diet.
You can make meal prepping as fancy or as simple as you want it to be. You can prep the same foods for all your meals or prep 7 different meals for each day of the week. You can also turn meal prepping into a game by picking a new food to experiment with each week. For example if you have never cooked with beets before you can make it a goal to buy beets and cook them a few different ways the next week. Or you can plan “themed weeks” such as a Mexican fiesta week or an Indian themed food week. Or pick the cuisine from a new country each week to try and cook. This can help expand your cooking skills, give you variety, increase flavor and make meal prepping easier by picking a food genre.
7.) Because technology has made it easier to do!
The great thing is that companies have already simplified meal prepping for you. Companies such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron have helped make learning how to cook and meal prep at the same time easier. Companies such as Cook Smarts allow you to use their archive of weekly menus for a minimal price. Cook Smarts provides you with the weekly meals, recipes and the grocery list all in one simple place. It takes all the guess work out of healthy balanced meals.
Go to this site to start off with 3 free meal plans with cook smarts.