We all have fantasized about reaching optimal health in our lives. We think it’s a luxury for those with time, money, or a lot of help. It is true; celebrities achieve their beautiful bodies and healthy glowing skin with the support of a lot of money and people helping them.
Yet, most of us ignore how basic meal prep is the answer to unlocking our inner potential to look and feel our best. Why? Well, the answer is simple, you cannot outrun your mouth.
So, what goes in your mouth largely dictates what level of health you will experience in your life. That means our focus has to be on food and nutrition for us to shed that excess weight and trim the waistline and even reverse the most common ailments we experience in modern society – heart disease and diabetes.
But that is hard, right! I mean, who has the time to work 40+ hours, commute for another 5 hours, sleep for 56 hours, AND make delicious healthy meals every week – let alone every day?
This article will discuss how you can hack healthy cooking by adopting meal prepping in your life.
What is Meal Prep?
But first, for the less culinarily-inclined amongst us (which is the majority, by the way), let’s discuss what exactly meal prep is.
Meal prep is short for meal preparation ahead of time for later consumption. This involves chopping, cutting, portioning, and sometimes cooking the food we will consume over a few days or weeks. The idea is to maximize batch-cook and prep all your meals for the week (or half a week) all at once.
Industrial food manufacturers and restaurants use the batch cooking method to save time, labor, and energy costs all the time. The entire concept of make-ahead foods is what perpetuated the massive success of the fast-food concept.
Fortunately for us, meal prep is a strategy we can apply in our kitchens for our daily meals.
Now, let’s look at how meal prep saves us time, money, and energy! For more ideas on meal prepping recipes, techniques, and hacks, check out Mealprepify.
I picked money as our first point because money motivates us. I hope that after reading this article, you will put down your screen, and go to the kitchen and start meal prepping right away. So, let’s dive right in.
Apart from the celebrations and festivities, most of what we spend on dining out is due to convenience. Remember that ever-shrinking family time and free time? We compensate for the lack of time by outsourcing our food needs by ordering in or dining out. Meal prep can be our best friend when we are feeling lazy or exhausted.
Thanks to that Sunday meal prep, you may not have to order expensive restaurant food. You can simply reheat and enjoy a delicious serving of brown rice casserole or one-pan chicken curry and just add a make-ahead salad, and voila, you are done!
What is even more shocking, perhaps, is that you would think that these big-spending habits would mean we would waste very little of the precious food that is getting more and more expensive every year. On the contrary, Americans waste between 30% to 40% of the food supplied to them.
This means we are wasting 133 BILLION (yes, with a B) pounds of food that costs us 161 BILLION dollars of our hard-earned money.
We know how that happens. Being stretched for time, we shop for groceries in bulk. We overbuy and overstock our fridge and pantry. Yet, because of the drain on energy modern life has been, almost a third of that food in the refrigerator sits and rots away.
Meal prep can stop that. Meal prep is the single most efficient way of using up your produce and groceries to maximize how much nutrition you get. Instead of letting fresh produce go to waste, we can utilize every bit of the ingredients for cooking nutritious, healthy meals that will keep in the refrigerator for days or the freezer for even months.
Meal prepping is also a way of preserving food. You would typically meal prep food that will last a bit longer.
So, you can see how it all adds up. You can save thousands of dollars from your total food bill by having healthy, nutritious meals at your fingertips for an instant meal – food that is faster than takeout!
Speaking of faster than fast-food, did you know that the average American says they spend between 37-61 minutes a day preparing a meal. This does not include the time you spend grocery shopping, or time at restaurants, etc. Meanwhile, the average make-ahead meal prep time for an entire week’s meal is about 2 hours per week. Compare that to the 4 to 7 hours a week if you split up the work into daily chores.
The reason is efficiency. When you batch cook a tray of chicken breasts, they take the same time as if you were baking one portion. When you are using a food processor to chop or blend, it only takes a few extra seconds to process a bigger batch of ingredients. This is how efficiency builds up.
Finally, it can also save you the critical time you may not provide during the week. A weekend leisurely meal prep is much easier to accomplish than cooking on a night when you had to work late.
This is how meal prepping saves time spent and utilizes the time you can spend cooking most efficiently.
Meal prepping can save energy in multiple ways.
First is the physical energy you spend on doing the work. While meal prepping and batch cooking require work, the good news is you only have to do one clean-up job after – saving you on your physical energy.
Meal prepping also saves you the energy you will use in your home to cook food. Weekend rates for electricity consumption are generally lower than weeknight peak hour consumption. So, just by doing your meal prep on Sundays, you are more energy-efficient, saving you energy costs in utility bills.
Meal prepping also has another major energy-saving benefit. This one is tied to waste. When you meal prep for the week and freeze or refrigerate the meals, you eliminate the possibility of the ingredients rotting or spoiling. As we all know, the food we buy is grown and processed in an energy-intensive industry. The more food you save, the less energy will be wasted on wasted food. That reduces your carbon footprint significantly.
So, as you can see, meal prepping can save you energy in various aspects of consumption.
Meal prepping is a simple and easy way of bringing tremendous efficiency to your daily cooking chore. It saves you money by utilizing the produce you use at its freshest, so none of it is wasted. It saves you time because batch cooking and prepping require less time than doing all that prep work every day. It also saves your home, your body, and our planet valuable energy.
You can meal prep anything from your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even snacks!
So, check out the recipes (like this big batch Italian turkey meatball recipe) and meal prepping techniques and hack the system to save you time, money, and energy.