Three glass mason jars filled with vegetable cous cous, a layer of mushrooms and tomatoes

Have you found a few areas in your diet and nutrition that could do with some improvement, but you’re stuck on how to make the changes stick?

Meal prep is an extremely helpful healthy eating strategy that can quickly get you to develop healthy eating habits more effortlessly. Imagine how easy life would be if you didn’t have to figure out what to eat "on the fly", all the while having to consider if it’s both nutritious and part of your longer-term health goals.

Think about all the time you would save by not constantly having to daily scour for healthy recipes, constant trips to the grocery store, and having to clean up a messy kitchen every day.

Welcome to the art of planning and preparing and all that it offers.

Meal Prep

The idea behind meal prep involves planning your meals, buying groceries ahead of time in one go, cooking and storing your food for either a few days or up to a week. It’s a great strategy to simplify your daily routine and support a healthy lifestyle.

One of the greatest benefits of meal prep is that it can make your diet a lot more nutritious while simultaneously saving you time and money. It can be altered and customised to fit your personal cooking expertise, your healthy lifestyle goals and your personal dietary requirements. 

A huge win.

Reasons To Meal Prep

1. Saves time

    Typically, meal prep is often done on a Sunday in preparation for the week ahead. A couple of hours out of a Sunday afternoon to organise, plan, grocery shop, prepare, chop or pre-chop, cook and store is a small chore to help you save time in the week. 

    Depending on how much you plan to make, you may have meals in the fridge or freezer to pull out throughout the week – it can be one meal a day, or all three!

    Cooking and preparing food in bulk in this way will help you not only save time, but also allow you to have more headspace that would normally be occupied with thinking about meals to have, worrying about meals, cooking or ordering meals in on weeknights.

    When done properly, meal prepping allows you more time for other activities and nurturing hobbies/interest or simply spending more time with loved ones in the workweek. Or indulge in a well-deserved magnesium bath or chill and watch an extra episode on Netflix.

    2. Saves money 

      It’s no secret that eating out and ordering in can get quite expensive and if you’re doing this almost every day in the week, the bills can add up! Even if you’re looking for meal deals or lunch specials, the cost efficiency is still unmatched in comparison to making most of your meals at home.

      Cost calculating your food in advanced is another aspect of the meal prep equation that may allow your portion control to also have cost control. Not only do you save by not spending excessively on take-out meals, but you can also choose your meal prep recipes based on what deals you can get by bulk at the grocery store.

      3. Prevents food waste

      As we grow more and more conscious and aware of our carbon footprint,  preventing food waste is also key in reducing further environmental damage.

      Meal prep can allow you to reduce the amount of excess food that may otherwise sit in your vegetable drawer in your fridge before you eventually have to throw it out. When you have planned for exactly what you want to cook and how much of it you want to make, you’re more likely to be able to buy the right ingredients in the right portions.

      Knowing how much of each ingredient you need will help cut down on food waste. 

      4. Keeps your meals exciting

      We’ve all been a victim of the same pasta with store-bought sauce and breakfast for dinner week in and out. Either because it’s the easiest to make or you can’t be bothered to go to the shops and this is what you already have stored in your pantry.

      We call this food fatigue, it’s a real thing. Those kinds of meals belong to a the-time-I-was-a-student era and perhaps on a rare occasion as we’re adulting (maybe on a day we’re recovering from a hangover, we know those last longer these days). Meal prepping helps you reduce food fatigue by keeping your meals exciting since you're planning ahead of time.

      Preparing and planning your meals can take you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to the enjoyable world of food that’s full of variety, life, flavours, cultures and spice. You may also find that as you get better and more creative with your meals, you are also able to hone your culinary skills. That’s always an added bonus, I mean, who doesn’t want to make insta-worthy almost Michelin-standard meals?

      5. Keeps it fresh 

      Yes, in the actual sense of the word. Meal prep is not only a great strategy to make food more exciting, but it also can get you to incorporate the freshest produce into your weekly meal plans.

      Shopping mindfully, with a focus on health and nutrition, can allow you to enjoy local and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. It can also allow you to discover other vegetables that you may not typically cook with (think dehydrated kale or bok choy or purple cabbage). 

      And do you ever walk around the aisles of your grocery store being super indecisive about what fruit and vegetables to buy? Meal prepping can help avoid this scenario from happening because you would have already gone to the store with a shopping list!

      The Takeaway

      The benefits of meal prepping are boundless; we struggle to think of reasons not to! Preparing and planning your meals is a tremendously beneficial healthy eating strategy that can help to streamline your weekly meals, saving you time and money. It can allow you to develop healthy eating habits by supporting your healthy lifestyle. Plus, keeps you mindful of zero-waste while you improve your culinary skills.

      **At Free Soul, your wellbeing is our priority, and although we pride ourselves on our expertise in women's health and wellbeing, it is important to acknowledge the individuality of each person. Features published by Free Soul are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, or replace the advice of your GP. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you encounter any health concerns, and we’ll always be here to support you so you’re never alone on your journey.