Because our goal is helping you achieve lasting success in your health and lifestyle, we should go over practical ways to do it. One of those priceless habits you should develop is meal preparation. Meal preparation isn’t only about the food, but it is actually a much deeper philosophy. People who prepare their food take control of their own lives; they’re proactive, not reactive; and they make conscious decisions that move them toward their goals. The mental state affects every other aspect of one’s everyday life in a positive way, just as lazy eating habits deliver over to other lousy habits.
There are many practical benefits of preparing your food:
1) You’ll be thinking ahead, planning and calculating your future eating. That keeps staying on track much easier.
2) The more proactive you are in your nutrition, the less unpleasant situations you find yourself in, where you can binge or eat food that you otherwise wouldn’t eat.
3) It saves you time and money.
If meal prepping is a new thing for you, then there is no need to go all out and plan every little thing ahead. Start with one or two meals a day. You don’t even have to necessarily prepare your meals, but know ahead of time where and what you will be eating and what macronutrient composition it has.
The first thing that goes into the preparation of meals is, of course, the food itself. The newer this is to you, the simpler you should keep it. For example, instead of making a complex meal, you might want to add two chicken breasts, one boiled egg, a handful of nuts, a cup of cooked rice, and some salad into the meal box. It’s very easy to prepare and calculate the macros. Once you get more efficient in meal preparation, you can prepare more complex meals. For most of your bigger meals, you should think in macro categories, meaning for every meal you should have: a good protein source, a good carbohydrate source, and a good fat source. Of course, sometimes they overlap — salmon, for example, is a good fat and protein source that just needs a quality carbohydrate source to go with it. In addition, you should have a vegetable source for most meals if they aren’t already in the carb category. Start with simple food combinations, for example:
Protein – tofu.
Carbohydrate – oats.
Fat – seeds.
Vegetable – carrots.
Preparing snacks can be easier since they don’t require all four food groups.
Of course, to prepare what you want, you should have necessary ingredients ready. That’s where a healthy shopping list comes in handy. Instead of buying what you fancy, you go to get groceries knowing exactly what you will be getting. At the same time, you won’t buy anything lying around the house that will be challenging your willpower. Like chocolate or beer. Buying bigger portions of food at a time will also help save money.
An easy and effective way to prepare food is to make bulk meals that you can divide into many same-sized meals. You can eat one today and take one as a lunch to work tomorrow. Or even make the same lunch for every work day for the next week and keep them fresh in the fridge. Invest in quality food containers that can be stacked, opened, and cleaned easily.
Schedule and make a habit of meal prepping. Don’t just wait till you run out of food to start prepping food. That’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do. Instead, schedule yourself time to prepare your meals. You could do your week’s grocery shopping on Sunday and make all the biggest meals on Sunday evening, or you can take 20 minutes every day after work to prepare the next day’s meals. Whatever suits you best, make it a regular habit. Make it enjoyable if you can — listen to good music or audiobooks, do it with your spouse or kid or whatever other enjoyable thing you can add to it. If you’re a natural cook, you’ll enjoy the process itself. But if you’re not — don’t worry — it’s another skill that you’ll get better at the more you do it. It becomes much easier and enjoyable with time.