What happens when you combine the desire to eat healthy with an incredibly busy schedule? If you don’t take some time to prepare, it could involve a lot of pre-made meals, spaghetti and take-out. Enter the idea of preparing meals ahead of time, a relatively easy way to help get healthier meals on the table if you’re willing to put some forethought and time in. Consider this: If you already schedule your days out, meal prep can have its place on the calendar as well.

  • You will save time. Whether you take a few hours on Sunday to cook/freeze/reheat for the week ahead or chop all the ingredients so they’re ready to throw into a pan, putting forth some effort ahead of time allows you to come home and eat well. You can get going without thinking, What the heck will I do for dinner tonight? Think of that preparation as an investment to save time during the week, when you usually feel the most crunched. You may also want to make double the portions so you can save on future prep and clean-up. There’s no shame in leftovers. If you eat the same meal twice, the Cooking Police will not come to get you. 
  • You think about what you’re eating. This rings true in terms of the variety of food you eat and the nutritional content. When you prep your meals, you know exactly what you’ll eat, thus giving you control over your food and what you add to it. Plus, if you want to throw in a Meatless Monday or Friday, planning ahead allows you to cook a proper meal. If you want to try something new, choose a day when you have time to savor the flavor. 
  • You find the best methods for yourself. Doing a bit of meal prep forces you to find recipes and vegetables that freeze best. Try new methods such as blanching, and figure out whether you want to make one huge meal for the week or try for a few quick and easy ones. You may find busy Mondays mean a crock pot meal or a quick dinner of chicken sausage and salad. Or maybe you’ll make a huge pot of soup on a weekend that you’ll enjoy for lunch that week.

Planning meals ahead of time may seem a little intense at first, but the benefits will have you eating better and getting one worry off your plate. Save time and money while increasing nutrition. What’s not to like?

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