Healthy meal prepping is an important component to incorporate into your weight loss plan. By preparing your meals before your busy week begins, you ensure you’ll stick to a well-balanced diet; and by having healthy, plan-friendly snacks on hand, you’ll keep on track whenever hunger strikes!
For some, the very thought of meal prepping may seem overwhelming. But once you get started and do a little homework, you’ll realize the benefits of meal planning far outweighs any ‘negatives’ you may have thought of!
Still unsure on how to begin meal planning? We’re here to help! Below, NJ Diet will share the benefits of meal planning, as well as provide some tips and tricks to make you a pro at “Meal Prepping 101!”
The Benefits Of Meal Prepping
Homemade meals are more balanced and can help you to control exactly what you are putting into your mouth and body. Portion control is your best friend when it comes to weight loss, so by becoming familiar with what healthy portion sizes actually look like if the first step towards a balanced diet. Make sure to portion out your food appropriately following the serving sizes on ingredient labels as much as possible.
Another big perk of meal planning is that it’s a HUGE time-saver! Once you start preparing for the coming week, you’ll realize you have more time, and a tendency to eat healthier throughout the week without having to devote more time to planning and cooking your meals.
Other benefits of meal planning:
The work week can be stressful between getting yourself and your family out the door. By having a balanced and pre-prepped breakfast ready, you want one less thing to worry about! Similarly, having your dinner ready and planned out when you get home gives you a chance to unwind and relax rather than rush to put a meal together when you’re already tired from a long day.
Keeping Eating Habits Consistent
Eating well requires you to pay attention to how much and how often you are eating. If your meals and snacks are prepped, you run less risk of overeating or skipping meals—both of which can throw off your diet. Meal prepping and planning ahead to ensure your healthy meals will help maintain your new lifestyle, as well as helps you avoid temptations!
Food Shopping Made Simpler
A planned grocery list where you know exactly which ingredients you need to make your weight loss meals for the week is a huge timesaver and makes life simpler at the grocery store! In addition, you’ll be less likely to grab junk food when you have a list handy and ready to go.
Money Saving Instead Of Splurging
Healthy meal prepping forces you to keep your purchases to exactly what you have on your list. Buying food in bulk whenever possible also helps to prep even more healthy meals and snacks in advance. Additionally, by prepping meals you’ll eat out less — and likely save more month per month!
Lighten Your (Work) Load
Finding a way to eat healthy every day may seem to use a lot of energy and effort, but once you start meal planning and prepping, your week actually provides you more free time to do other things — spend time with family, friends or hobbies.
The Best Ways To Meal Prep
Meal prepping is as simply as taking the extra time to prepare snacks and meals for the rest of the week. In fact, meal-prepping ahead in batches can actually be he key for meeting your wellness and diet goals!
Here are our best tips for making meal prepping easy:
Create A List
A great tip to meal plan is to take the time to write out all the meals you typically cook, keeping in mind the dietary program you are on. By having a list, you make planning your weekly menu so much quicker and easier each week.
Set Aside A Day – Or Days – To Prep
An effective way to meal-prep is to devote one or two days to do all of the work at one time. For example, if you decide to do your weekly food shopping on the weekend, you can devote Sundays to begin meal prep. Just spending one-two hours in the kitchen prepping and cooking ahead of time reduces the amount of time to get your meals ready-to-eat for the week!
Small Steps Make Big Strides
Most complaints about meal-prepping for a week is that it feels overwhelming to think about seven days of meals. If that is the case, one suggestion is to focus on three or four days of prepping instead. This way, you still only need to cook twice a week, and can get into the swing of meal prepping that works for your lifestyle.
It’s OK To Be A “Repeat” Offender
You don’t have to come up with exciting new recipes every week. Sometimes familiarity is key to good food prepping and meal planning. Getting into a good routine of planning for a week’s worth of meals, and repeating it later, is a great way that meal prepping can work for some families. Going back and recycling an entire week’s meal plan, especially when you’re entering into a particularly hectic week, is a great technique to incorporate when you’re short on time.
Cook In Bulk
The simplest tip in Meal Prepping 101 is to cook bigger portions to save time! By just making two or three extra servings of a recipe, you already have tomorrow’s lunch, and without any additional effort. Additionally by cooking in bulk, you can store any leftovers in the fridge and use them the next day in a different way — for example, cooked roasted chicken leftovers can be chopped up and mixed into a healthy salad!
Stock Up On Storage
Always have enough containers in the house for storage, this way you can split out your servings and maintain portion control. Plastic is convenient but not always ideal, so check out environmentally friendly or BPA-free alternatives such as glass bottles (for shakes and smoothies), mason jars (ideal for oats, fruit or nuts) and stainless steel containers (perfect for salads and other leftovers.)
Utilize Your Freezer
After cooking in bulk, you may realize you are unable to use up all your leftovers before they go bad– in which case, it may be time to consider utilizing your freezer to store meals! Many foods, such as stews and soups for example, are easy to freeze in meal-sized portions. Just take out when needed, defrost, reheat and ready to eat!
Prep Healthy Snacks For In-Between Meals
Snacking has a bad rap, but snacks can be easily incorporated into any healthy diet program. The key is to prep your snacks, since it is easy to fall into temptation by reaching for unhealthy items like candy or chips. Snack prepping can be simple — keep cut up raw veggies, fruit and yogurt handy, portion out dried fruit or nuts into snack sized bags, or look for healthy snack recipes that can prepare keep your portions bite-sized and controlled.
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As you can see, having a healthy dinner or snacks prepared and waiting for you makes it far easier to stick to your diet and wellness plan. By spending just a little extra time each week prepping nutrient-packed foods with whole ingredients, you make grabbing junk food or takeout far less tempting!
The NJ Diet program is not only aimed at promoting healthy weight loss, but aims to improve your total wellness — where the side effect is weight loss, but the end result is better overall health and well being!
We provide the support you need to be successful on your weight-loss journey at NJ Diet! When you come in for your initial consultation, we will explain how our unique individualized system works to reduce hunger and feel healthier, and how our 4 component approach makes it possible to lose 20-40 lbs. or more of fat in only 40 days! We assess the many metabolic factors to genetically make sure you not only lose weight, but we ensure you’ll keep it off and stay healthy for a lifetime.
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