Today’s hectic world and demanding schedules require immense discipline and preparation. Coupled with the desire and need to keep in shape, young professionals are struggling to maintain a balance between work, health and personal fulfillment. Luckily, there are some things we can do to improve our chances of success in health and in life and doing meal prep for weight loss is one of those valuable things we can do for ourselves. In this article, we will look at some of the best meal preparation hacks for weight loss. In fact, these meal prep hacks will also save time and valuable financial resources.
Advantages of Preparing and Planning Meals
Failing to plan is planning to fail and this holds true to this day. Preparing in advance is part of planning so it is only normal for people who wish to face the challenges of life ahead to plan and prepare in advance. Weight loss is a big challenge for any individual and one of the best strategies to actually achieve an individual’s targeted weight loss is to have a meal plan that can avert binge eating and snack on unhealthy food items. Meal prepping for weight loss is also cost effective and efficient as it helps people better budget their healthy meals and prepares the aforementioned meals in less time.
Five Time Saving Meal Prep Hacks
Below are some of the best time saving meal prep hacks that can help in weight loss:
1. Cook meals once a week
This tip is focused more on saving the most valuable resource which is time. Cooking once a week frees up the other days from preparing some other meal. Meal preparation done once a week helps lessen grocery shopping, kitchen cleaning, ingredient preparation. Meals that are cooked for the entire week can also be healthier compared to other snacks brought about by sudden cravings as they can be meals cooked for an entire week of planned meals tend to have healthy ingredients that have been carefully chosen.
2. Keep the recipes simple
Cooking like a chef may not be the most practical way to achieve the weight loss aspiration most people have. In fact, keeping it simple may help you prepare meals that are familiar to you and healthy for your body. People can prepare simple recipes starting with the healthy ingredients they love such as onions, lettuce and other green leafy vegetables.
3. Make sure that the Freezer is Filled with Healthy Options
Even the most carefully planned week may have some surprises within it such as emergencies, sudden visit from family and friends and just plain old miscalculation in meal preparations. Whichever the case, it is still best to keep certain semi-prepared food items in the fridge and the freezer just in case. Cooked portions of meat that either cut or shredded can last a number of months in a freezer and can make for a tasty dish or sandwich spread in minutes. Chopped vegetables which are already healthy in and of itself, can be used as a healthy salad base if and when the cooked weekly meals in the freezer ever runs out. Healthy options that are ready in your freezer can prevent you from ever snacking on unhealthy food items again.
4. Mix in Frozen Produce to your Meal Plans
Frozen produce usually get the bad rap for being a preserved version of its fresh variant. However, a 2013 study revealed that frozen produce, particularly frozen broccoli, blueberries and carrots, had the same or even greater quantities of nutritional content such as lutein, beta carotene, vitamin C, polyphenols. As such, frozen produce is not only a convenient way to save time and money in preparing meals, but also an efficient way to provide the body with the much needed nutrients to improve and ensure good health and overall wellness.
5. Include Healthy Snacks
Just because this article is all about meal prepping, does not mean we should only focus on the major or main course of our weekly plan as snacks should also be considered in our meal preparations. This entry is related to number 3 as it encourages us to store healthy snacks in our freezer for the entire week to prevent the sudden onset of cravings, sweet tooth and binge eating. If these biological reactions do occur, then having healthy and available snacks in the refrigerator can be a life saver! These snacks can be stored in single containers for a quick and convenient munch in between meals. Crackers, almonds, nuts, baby carrots and yogurt are all great choices as health snacks and food items.
Bonus tips on Time Saving Meal Prep Hacks
Aside from the five (5) main tips for meal preparations, here are some bonus tips to improve your time saving skills in the kitchen:
Meals can be repeated
Some meals may or will most probably be repeated but so what? The fact that the weekly meal plan was prepared by you means that the meals in the freezer will be items that you and your family will probably like. These meals can be repeated for a repeat dose of the healthy food items and even save more money and time.
Use the same ingredients for multiple recipes
Saving and being healthy at the same time sounds like a dream come true for most people but preparing a weekly plan can actually help you achieve both quite easily and effectively. Using the same ingredients bought in bulk for different recipes can result in significant savings in terms of time and money. For example, buying tomatoes in bulk can be cheaper compared to buying it per pack and you can use the larger quantities of tomatoes for different types of recipes such as salads, pasta and wraps.
Form an assembly line and do the meal preparation in stages
Forming and assembly line and cooking meals in stages rather than per stage can significantly reduce the preparation time and the cost of the meals being prepared.