Paint yourself this not-so-pretty picture: it's Wednesday. You're in the office. It's 2:30 p.m. You're tired, you want to go home, and – most importantly – you're hungry. You go to reach for a snack, but there's nothing left in the community cabinet. I guess I'll have to buy something, you tell yourself, but when you start searching GrubHub, you see that a healthy salad is going to cost you $15. So, pizza it is.
Let's face it; we've all been there at one point or another. We want something fast, something nutritious, and something inexpensive. Fortunately for you, meal prepping can hit all these checkpoints and more.
Why is meal prepping so popular?
Meal prepping for the week is a common way for health-enthusiasts to spend their Sundays. By meal prepping, people can ensure that they're getting all of the essential nutrients their bodies need to reach their goals, while simultaneously saving a buck.
Need more convincing? We've got you covered:
Meal prepping can save you $$$. When you meal prep, you have time to consciously think about what exactly you're going to make. You can look for deals, take advantage of coupons, and buy in bulk (since your total quantity of food is going to have to last you an entire week). Americans spend an average of $53 a week when they eat out, but meal prepping could shave roughly $28 off that average bill, adding up to roughly $1,400 of savings throughout the year. Some people have reported saving as much as $150 every week. Think of all the things you could do with those extra dollars every week pretty exciting, huh?
Meal prepping can save your belly. When people meal prep, they are making mindful, thought-out decisions about the foods they are putting in their bodies. This is important because a lot of the time, lunch choices are made when either stress or cravings strike, leading to unhealthy decisions (when you're stressed and in a bad mood, how much better does Chinese food sound than a veggie bowl?). By taking a few hours every week to prep accordingly, you can effectively count your calories before you eat them.
Meal prepping can save you from the dreaded afternoon crash. If you eat like one of the millions of Americans without a stable diet, chances are your lunchtime meals are comprised of refined sugars, simple carbs, and saturated fats. These ingredients, as many people know, are unhealthy, but did you know they actually "crash" your body, too? These types of foods are notorious for spiking insulin levels, and while your insulin is spiked, you will undoubtedly feel great. This spike, however, only lasts for a few minutes, and once it wears off, your energy level will literally plummet, giving you that dreaded 3 p.m. feeling that leaves most people running for coffee. If you choose to opt for meals that are chock-full of vitamins, proteins, healthy carbs, and unsaturated fats, you are much more likely to skip the crash, finish your day strong, and even enjoy your free hours at home with the family. That sure sounds like the definition of a win-win scenario.
Meal prepping can save you time. Maybe you don't eat out every day. Maybe you're a nightly lunch-packer instead. But wouldn't it be great never have to spend 15 minutes packing another lunch again? Instead of worrying about what you're going to eat tomorrow, you could spend a few more precious moments with your wife and children.
Meal prepping, contrary to popular belief, is not difficult. Most meals can be cooked and ready to seal off in containers in less than an hour. Some can even be made overnight in a crockpot, shaving significant time off the prepping process! When compared to a 15-20-minute nightly regimen, you actually save time by doing it all at once. Didn't see that one coming, did you?
If you've been struggling to stay healthy this year, give meal prepping a shot. Your waist, your wallet, and your mental state will all be thankful for your decision.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we'll bring you information about the "Cause of the Month," including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. March is "National Nutrition Month."