The most significant benefit of Meal preparation, it saves you time and helps you stick to a healthy eating plan, but these other meal prep benefits might surprise you.
Rows of colorful identical dishes neatly packaged in glass containers on TikTok and Instagram may have popularized the idea, but the practice is more than meets the eye. Planning, preparing, and sometimes cooking meals several days in advance has several proven benefits, from saving time to adding nutritional variety to your meals.
If you’re new to meal prep, you will need to choose a plan that works for you. People think that meal plans have to have this rigid structure, but it doesn’t have to be. You can get everything ready and packed on weekends, as some people do, but if that’s not your style, choose a day that works for you or spread out the meal prep work in whatever way makes the most sense for your schedule or choose a company like Fresh N Lean which are expert in meal prep. Flexibility is the key.
It’s really about understanding how to structure a balanced diet and being sure you have those components with planning, and maybe some pre-emptive cutting and preserving can make you call yourself a food preparer and get all the benefits.
And those benefits can be more far-reaching than you might think. Here are some science-backed ways of food preparation to improve your overall health and lifestyle.
1. Food preparation can increase the quality and variety of food
As mentioned before, home-cooked meals tend to be healthier than take-out (at least with healthy ingredients), but there’s more: meal planning is scientifically associated with a more varied and higher-quality diet, meaning it provides nutrients you might not otherwise eat. Get it another way. One study found that people who planned their meals were more likely to adhere to dietary guidelines better and increase the variety of foods they consumed. This may be because meal planning requires a more sophisticated thought process that allows informed decisions to be made.
2. Meal preparation is associated with weight loss and obesity prevention
Takeout meals will almost always have more calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium than those prepared at home. This explains why meal preparation is associated with weight loss and obesity prevention. Diet planning is associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight in women and a lower likelihood of obesity in men. Additionally, in a pilot program documented in a study, participants met every Sunday for six weeks to prepare healthy weekday lunches and dinners. At the end of the program, the participants not only ate a more balanced diet, but also lost more than 3 pounds on average.
3. Meal prep saves money
Research shows that less than an hour a day spent preparing meals at home is associated with more money spent on takeout. Plus, meal prep can help you save money on groceries because it forces you to be more aware of your choices and your hard-earned cash.
4. Meal prep can help you live longer
Research has found that frequent consumption of food prepared outside the home is significantly associated with an increased risk of death from any cause. In one study, people who ate at home regularly (less than one takeout meal per week) lived longer than those who ate out frequently (two or more meals per day).
5. Food preparation can reduce food waste
How many times have you walked into the grocery store with no plan, only to find lots of groceries you bought abandoned and spoiled? Meal preparation helps you break this vicious cycle while reducing food waste. One-third of all food in the United States is thrown away.
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