Maybe you’ve heard some gym bros or Pilates pros evangelize its benefits. But what is meal prep, exactly?
We’ve all been there. You go to the fridge looking for lunch, dinner, or something to snack on, and everything needs to be cooked—or there’s not much there at all. It dawns on you that this is exactly one of those situations your co-worker who always brags about CrossFit was talking about. Meal prep would have solved the problem, but what is it, and how do you get started?
You’ve heard the term, but isn’t it just for athletes and Insta models? Nope!
Meal prep is for everyone. And it can save you from another night of cold disappointment and sadly eating ketchup packets for sustenance.
Why the heck should you plan what you eat?
You should probably do a little planning because you’re going to be freaking hungry! But other than coming home to ingredients instead of food after a hard-ass day, what are the other benefits?
- It saves time. You don’t always have the time to cook dinner or make it to the gym. With meal prep, you do have to set aside a day each week to make the stuff. But that’s an efficient investment that wins you back time. Cooking in bulk means you’re not spending an hour or two each day whipping up lunches and dinners. And if you don’t feel like cooking on a specific night, you already have something handy right in your fridge!
- It’s a practice in portion control. We all like to go a little crazy when we’re hungry. And if you have a hard time controlling how much you eat, then meal prep is a pretty handy way to cage the beast. You can measure everything out ahead—when your hunger and emotions aren’t calling the shots.
- Healthy meals are always on hand. If you love fitness and nutrition, then you’ll surely appreciate this benefit. This is similar to portion control. Planning and making meals ahead of time gives you control over those quick eats. Instead of reaching for a freezer-burnt pot pie with six zillion calories and preservatives made in a lab, you’re grabbing a healthy, home-cooked dish.
- It saves money at the grocery store. Planning means you know what you’re going to be eating before even going shopping. It spurs you to buy what you need, not shovel random s*** into your cart on the spur of the moment.
So, now you know what meal prep is and why it’s a smart play. Now, how the heck do you do it?
Sold on a little nutritional planning? Great. But how do you get started?
Meal prepping isn’t all that hard, even for folks who fear the kitchen. But it does take a little work—and getting started before you hit the grocery store.
- Plan and make a list. This can be a little tricky, especially since you may not know what you will feel like eating the following week. But it's essential, so you don't overspend or over-buy some terrible-ass junk food at the grocery store. Make a meal list, and then decide which ingredients you’ll need to make those dishes.
- Set aside some time. Now that the shopping is out of the way, the cooking begins! Really set the mood here. Rock out to your favorite tunes, get into your comfy clothes, light a candle, or hit up some CBD — whatever puts you in a relaxed state of mind! Take it easy — one meal at a time — to avoid overwhelm.
- Cook bigger meals. If you can’t plan a few hours every week to devote to cooking, then you may want to start making bigger meals so you can store them away. Here’s where our next tip is vital:
- Learn to use your freezer. Not everything can be eaten within five days, and that’s okay! Freezers keep most stuff fresh for about three months. So, you can make GINGANTOR meals and divide them up for later, saving time in the long run.
- Get the ingredients ready for when you do want to cook. Meal prep isn’t just about making ready-to-eat dishes. Sometimes it’s as simple as prepping the elements, so you don't have to spend a lot of time slicing, dicing, and chopping when you get around to firing up the stove. This saves hours cooking and doing dishes.
Now you’re a meal-prepping wizard, Harry!
Have we turned that “what is meal prep?” into “why did I take so damn long to do it?” Cool.
Meal prepping is a lot of fun if you love the kitchen. But even if slicing, dicing, and sautéing aren’t a few of your favorite things, the benefits are still pretty huge. It really does save a lot of time, money, and big, bad calories if those are concerns.
So now, let’s talk about dessert! You didn’t think we’d skip out on that, did you?
The meal is over, the dishes are done, and now you have time to just chill out with your favorite flick or book. You’re craving something sweet.
Instead of going for a donut, why not reach for a little CBD candy? Tastes awesome and gives you the extra benefit of kicking racing thoughts and excessive worry to the curb.
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