Eating healthy tends to get a bad rap for being too expensive. But preparing meals saves money because you can buy ingredients in bulk, freeze leftover food for later and, most importantly, spend less money eating out. You've probably heard that you shouldn't go shopping hungry. Fast forward to me, impulsively buying an entire cart of cups of peanut butter with Trader Joe's dark chocolate (along with my actual purchases).
Apply that theory to an upset stomach on a busy work day and the inevitable meetings between meetings rummage through your dangerously practical junk food drawer. When you don't know what to eat or you let yourself get too hungry, you tend to eat foods you didn't plan on, Shapiro explains. Meal preparation ensures that you have healthy food ready and you can avoid overeating or making poor choices due to excessive hunger. Now that we're all working from home and can access the fridge and snacks all day long, it's more important than ever to have prepared, healthy meals.
Meal preparation can help you implement healthy eating habits despite having a busy and hectic schedule by controlling portions and managing calories. Preparing food also helps reduce food waste, so you can help the environment while maintaining work-life balance. While any type of meal preparation requires planning, there is no right method, as it can differ depending on food preferences, cooking skills, schedules, and personal goals. You can prepare and pack every Sunday, like some people do, but if that's not your style, choose a day that works for you or distribute the preparation training in a way that makes the most sense for your schedule.
Preparing meals and making the decision to eat balanced meals leaves room for flexibility and, at the same time, encourages you to eat foods that “make you feel good mentally and physically,” Modell adds. Research supports this, and one study found that people who used food planning strategies ate generally healthier diets compared to those who bought and prepared food “on impulse or with little or no planning.”.