Everything you need to know about meal prepping!
What is meal prepping?
The term meal prepping is pretty self-explanatory. It literally refers to the process in which you prepare your meals ahead of time. Meal prepping is more than just a current trend, it is a great way of helping you stick to your diet, save some time and engage in some mindful eating habits.
What are the benefits of meal-prepping?
If you are reading this, I am pretty sure you can relate to the following - You wake up in the morning with no plans for breakfast, lunch or dinner so naturally, you would just skip breakfast,
head to KFC for lunch for a colonel burger (the meal, obviously) and stuff your face with some comfort food since there was nothing in your fridge, you didn't have the time to make something and you were too hungry to stand in a queue to purchase healthy items to make at home. Don't worry, we have all been there. Most of us work full-time jobs and nobody is as perfect as the Moms depicted in almost all American sitcoms. This is why meal-prepping is something to try. All you need is some time on a Sunday, and a little bit of elbow grease. Here are some of the main benefits of meal-prepping.
You save time
If you are looking to get in shape or lose weight, then meal-prepping is the way to go. You don't want to find yourself indulging in a fast-food meal when you find yourself being ravenous at lunch and not having packed yourself a healthy and nutritious lunch. When you meal-prep, you ensure that you have at least 5 working days worth of food that you don't have to rush making, you simply defrost, heat and eat the meal you made on Sunday.
When we get extremely hungry, the last thing we want to consume is a tuna and cucumber salad. Your brain cannot distinguish between hunger and cravings, all it knows is that your body needs energy right now! Which is why we often crave "slap-chips", sugary foods or fast food when we are very hungry. When we meal-prep, this won't be a problem. When you prep your meals, you ensure that you consume healthy and nutritious food that you have prepared before-hand. This allows for mindful-eating since your brain will not trick you into eating much more than needed. When we do meal-prepping it is important to remember to have the correct portions that will give you sufficient energy for the rest of your busy day.
Big money saver
Meal-prepping is a great way to save lots of money. If you are not part of a household/family of about 4, then you know how annoying it is to buy whole broccoli for yourself and having to eat broccoli for 7 days in a row since it will waste if you don't. Let's face it, cooking for 1 or 2 often leads to wasted food and guilt. For these people, it’s much more convenient to just order food online or have take-aways and they often come to realise that convenience is expensive. Which is why meal-prepping is an excellent alternative. Meal-prepping allows you to buy a lot of groceries once-off, and not having to worry about wasting any of it since you cook it and freeze it all in one day. Taking out a Tupperware lunch-box labelled "Monday" prevents you from giving in to the temptation of our friends from Uber eats or Mr Delivery. Though meal-prepping is a great way to lose weight, we have found that most people prefer this method mainly to save money.
Keeps you in shape
When you receive a nutritional eating plan from one of our trainers that aligns with your fitness goals, we always suggest meal prepping. When your goal is weight-loss and we have provided you with an eating plan to help you reach this goal, we want you to try your absolute best to stick to this eating plan and for many that can only be achieved by meal prepping. It also helps you to fight the temptation of your co-working asking you if you would like to join him in the Steers wacky Wednesday special with a simple: "No thank you, I already have lunch in the fridge". Meal-prepping is the best way for you to ensure that you stick to your well-planned diet.
What are the disadvantages of meal-prepping?
After reading all the great benefits, you are probably wondering what the disadvantages can possibly be. As with every trend, it has its drawbacks as well.
It takes time
As we said, meal-prepping is great but you need time for it. Preparing 7 meals in one day sometimes even for two people is no walk in the park. Slaving away in the kitchen for hours is not typically what you probably wanted to do on a hot Sunday while everyone else is taking a nap. Yes, meal-prepping takes time however, with some extra hands, good music and a glass of wine, you will get it done in no time.
It can be repetitive
Eating the same prepared food for a whole week can be disheartening. It may be boring for some people to stand and cook the same food for hours on a Sunday and even more so to eat the same combination of food for a whole week. More and more people would label themselves as “foodies” nowadays, so a bland chicken and veg mix and tuna salad may be less than appealing for your average foodie palette.
Meal-prep do’s & don’ts
You probably know by now that meal prepping is the process of thoroughly cooking food, and freezing them with the intent of defrosting them during the coming weeks. You probably also know that there are some foods that freeze well and others that don't.
Foods you can freeze
- Meats like chicken or beef
- Any fish
- Cooked grains and pasta
- Roasted and raw vegetables
- Nuts & seeds
- Grated cheese
- Sauces like hummus
Foods you shouldn’t freeze
- Soft fruit and vegetables (like lettuce or cucumber)
- Crunchy foods like rice cakes or cracker bread
- Fried food
- Potatoes (Although some fries are bought frozen, it has been found that freezing potatoes separates starch from potatoes’ water, making them soggy)
Meal-prepping is not for everyone. We live in a world where the term “instant gratification” is extremely evident in many people and is also applied to eating habits. The “I want it, and I want it now!” attitude has been the result of a developing instant gratification way of life. If you want to follow a more disciplined way of living when it comes to food, we urge you to try meal-prepping. Try it for about 3 weeks at least and you will notice the effect it has on your overall health, your budget and your relationship with food.