Whether you are weight-conscious, looking to shed a few pounds or want to get in shape for the summer, meal planning can, undoubtedly, help you reach your goal. Additionally, this pre-planning is also fantastic for individuals who are on a busy schedule and work round the clock or prefer being more productive outside of the kitchen.
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Benefits of Meal Planning
The hustle and bustle of the busy city life can leave you cooking and eating the same thing every week. This can get boring real soon and drastically increase your probability of snacking on processed goods and ordering greasy deep-fried meals from your nearest fast-food chain. So even if you are putting in the time and effort of working out every day, it will not benefit you much if you continue eating unhealthy foods. If that sounds familiar, then meal planning might be a game-changer for you.
Meal planning allows you to add variety to your lunch and dinner menus. It enables you to eat more foods that you enjoy and incorporate more fruits and veggies into the menu. Meal prep is one of the best ways to improve your health drastically. Assemble your favorite meal planning recipes and get started. Continue reading to take a closer look at how you can benefit from meal planning.
Why Meal Planning Reduces Stress and Anxiety?
Spending hours daily contemplating ‘what’s for dinner?’ can be a dreadful and stressful task. This can feel unbearable, especially on weeknights, after a long day at work. Meal prep helps you eliminate this stressful task.
Take some time out during the week to decide before grocery shopping what you would like to make. Prepare your shopping list accordingly and only shop for those particular items. This will help cut down your time spent at the store. Additionally, throughout the week coming home, preheating a meal and dining will reduce stress and ensure you eat on time so you can digest food, avoid bloating, and sleep peacefully.
How Does Meal Planning Save Time?
Cooking fresh meals every day can be fun for someone who enjoys cooking and has the time to do it. For the rest of us, it can be a hassle, especially since it involves cutting up ingredients, washing them, doing the dishes, and cleaning up the kitchen.
If you are in the same dilemma as us, then meal planning can help eliminate daily cooking. The importance of meal planning lies in the fact that you get to plan everything ahead of time, which saves you time during the week. It requires you to maintain a list of foods you would like to prepare throughout the week, and since you have already shopped grocery items at the store, therefore, instead of wasting time thinking what to make, you will know exactly what to do and can get started right away.
To make things easier on a busy schedule, we recommend preparing the majority of your meals on weekends. You can also cook two to three larger dinners on the weekends, such as meatballs, chili, and soups. You can also marinate and bread chicken steaks over the weekend and fry them throughout the week. Stick to making quicker recipes during the week, such as rice, beans, and fish.
This way, even if you return home exhausted after a long day, you will have some food to eat. Additionally, you can also reheat meals as you prepare a delicious salad for a fun dining experience.
In case you are too busy over the weekend doing house chores, prefer relaxing and taking a day off, or do not have the luxury to spend in front of the stove, you might want to invest in a high-quality slow cooker. As the name suggests, a slow cooker allows you to leave meals to cook slowly throughout the day. So by the time you arrive home, your food is ready to eat. Moreover, the low cooking temperatures allow food to preserve nutrients that may otherwise be lost on high heat.
Easy Healthy Meal Planning
On an empty stomach, your blood sugar drops, and you are most likely to feel uncontrollable hunger pangs, which gives you an excuse to eat anything you can find in the kitchen. This often results in snacking on chocolate bars, bags of crisps, and other convenient snacks. However, this hassle can be avoided easily if you have a nutrient-dense meal available at your fingertips.
If your meal plan food is already cooked and only requires heating, the probability of consuming it increases. If you are looking to avoid snacking, we recommend not buying any processed snacks. The fewer cookies, cakes, and doughnuts you have, the less likely you are to eat them.
Instead, load up your kitchen with granola bars, nuts, fresh berries, fruits, and vegetables. You can also precut your vegetables and make healthy dips to eat them with. These precut veggies are also handy for juicing, all of which immensely increases your likelihood of consuming them. Additionally, eating healthy snacks keeps you full and gives you much-needed nutrients, vitamins, and minerals throughout the day.
How to Plan Meals for a Week on a Budget?
Perhaps one of the best benefits of meal prep is that it saves money. A hectic lifestyle can have you thinking about numerous things, including tasks scheduled for the day. The last thing your mind will think about is the milk that is going sour or the tomatoes that are rotting in the back of your fridge. You end up throwing out ingredients and wasting money and food.
On the budget meal planning allows you to set a certain amount aside, only shop for specific foods and create meals using everything you have purchased. Advantages of meal planning include eliminating food wastage at home, impulse buying at the grocery store, and reducing the need to get fast food deliveries.
How Can Portion Control Benefit You and Why?
How often have you heard someone say, ‘I lost weight by cutting portion sizes’? This is because portion sizes help you determine how much weight you pack on every time you eat. It is one of the best diet tricks ever. Cutting down on your portions may be difficult, especially if you eat out every other day. Most restaurants either serve a small portion which is not filling, or serve a bigger portion than needed. Eating at home gives you the upper hand to determine how much food you would like to have without overeating.
Since meal preps allow you to prepare dishes for specific days in certain quantities, you can pack them in portion sizes and eat accordingly. Eating smaller portions to lose weight makes portion control excellent for maintaining a slim waistline and losing unwanted pounds. Therefore, portion control meal plans are beneficial for you.