We’ve all heard about meal prep. But why is it so popular?
Especially bodybuilders and athletes swear by meal prepping. Is it just exaggerated and maybe a bit fanatic?
Or does it give us cogent benefits that if we would know them better, we most likely start meal prepping immediately?
In this article, I’ll unveil some benefits of why meal prepping is important and why it is sooner or later almost inevitable for most passionate athletes.
First of all, what is meal prep?
For all of you who might be new to fitness, meal prep basically implies pre-cooking.
For instance, before the next day of work, university or whatever everyday life you have, you think about what you would like to eat.
Then you start prepping certain quantities (maybe for several days) in the evening or day before and wrap it into lunchboxes.
There is no variety or limitation for meal prep. This can go as far as your creativity.
From the most common and classic fitness meal prep ever, chicken with rice and broccoli, via low-fat quark (curd) served with fruits, whey, and cinnamon to self-made protein pancakes.
As you can see, there are endless possibilities, variations and compositions.
This is what makes it even more remarkable. Everybody can compile to their own preferences what they want to eat, what to include and what to exclude.
Everyone adds a personal touch to it.
So far, it does sound splendiferous, doesn’t it? But, not only the taste makes meal prepping stellar.
Let’s take a closer look into some benefits and why you should consider meal prepping!
1. Control the Portion
Especially athletes who stay on a diet, high performers or just people who want to keep track of their nutrition should ruminate if you’re not meal prepping yet.
The first benefit that I want to mention is the control of the portions that you are actually going to eat.
Imagine you’re having a lunch break at work and you’re joining your colleagues into the city. Some get a nice burger, others might prefer pizza.
But still, even it’s pasta or something which is generally healthy. How much did you actually eat? How big was the portion?
But there are restaurants where you can look up in detail what and how much of it you ate, right?
For sure, this is true but if we’re honest, that’s not always the case.
I don’t want to say that there is something wrong about having a copious lunch with friends or family, quite the opposite.
But, for instance, people who stay on a diet cannot always enjoy such things as taken for granted as others can.
I know this is not the case for most of you, but even if you just want to keep your nutrition healthy and as clean as possible, dining out can be rigorous.
We have all been there.
This is where meal prepping comes into play.
As you prepare the food by yourself you can calculate and weigh the portions precisely like you want them to be.
Thus, you can eliminate the temptation of getting an awesome smelling burger like your colleagues and still enjoy their company.
Furthermore, this might even reduce potential compunctions and leave you with a good conscience at the end of the day.
To put in a nutshell, the first benefit of meal prepping is that you can control the portions.
2. Save Money
“Living healthy and conscious is elusively expensive”.
Who haven’t heard sentences like that?
No doubt that organic and fair trade food is more expensive than conventional. But this does also largely depend on what you’re buying.
Think about some of your colleagues, friends or just strangers that you see when you’re in the city.
A lot of people dining out on a daily basis. Again, nothing wrong with that. Eating is one of the most social occasions and you should definitely enjoy these with your beloved ones.
But, what if I tell you that there is a way cheaper and even healthier alternative?
Meal prepping combines a lot of beneficial things. The second benefit that I would like to point out is cost savings.
Of course, for some people, this might not reduce their expenses or even increase them. This depends on what you eat and how much.
There are and always will be exceptions that break ranks, but for most individuals meal prepping most likely reduces their total expenses on food.
Firstly, you eliminate dining out during the day at work or university.
This can already save you a lot but again depends on where and what you would buy.
Secondly, you replace redundant and low-nutrient snacks from your daily routine.
With this in mind, meal prepping does not only saves you money but also contributes to a healthier diet overall.
Thirdly, you can either spend the saved money on the more expensive organic food or save for certain other things.
To conclude, the second benefit of meal prepping is it saves you money.
3. Improve your Cooking Skills
How do you prepare your meals? Heating up frozen meals from the supermarket? If that’s your current routine, forget about it and start cooking!
Don’t get me wrong, frozen foods aren’t necessarily bad or unhealthy. I love frozen fruits and vegetables because you can store them up over longer periods without getting moldy.
What’s more, frozen fruits and vegetables rank closely behind their fresh peers in reference to their nutrient content.
Studies show that there is only a tiny difference between frozen and fresh fruits/vegetables.
Other studies reveal that there either might be no difference at all or that frozen fruits/vegetable may even be more nutritious than fresh ones.
But, I would not recommend oven-ready meals because they often contain superfluous additives and are probably more expensive as well.
Here again, meal prepping comes into play.
Meal prepping does not only saves you costs and control the portions, but it also enhances your cooking skills.
This will be well received by your current or future wife, friends and family when you invite them over to have dinner or agreed on cooking together.
Furthermore, I can talk for myself at this point, cooking is fun. I am definitely not a chef but I am consistently trying to improve and pick up new tricks from my friends.
While cooking you can already be delighted to enjoy that nice and healthy meal with your beloved ones and once more make cooking your routine.
In short, meal prepping improves your cooking skills and will be well received by friends your friends, wife, and family for future cooking arrangements.
Furthermore, cooking is fun and might even become your new hobby and passion.
4. Time Management
Time is money. “Sorry, I can’t make it today, I don’t have time.”
“What do we want to eat?” “Hmm, should we order? I don’t have that much time…”
Who does not have heard similar sentences, day in and day out?
If there is one thing that we all don’t have enough of, it’s for sure time.
Not enough time to work out. Not enough time to eat healthily. Not enough time to do what we would like to do. Not enough time to meet friends. This list is endless…
We all know this feeling, I definitely do as well.
Oftentimes the easiest and most convenient solution was to pull out your smartphone or laptop and order something, heat up a frozen pizza or fall back on chips and sweets.
What if I tell you that there is a better alternative that will be of advantage in both ways?
You already assumed it. Of course, I am talking about meal prepping;)
We already discussed why meal prepping makes it easier to eat healthily and don’t get tempted by spontaneous snack attacks.
That’s simple because you have prepared and planned meals throughout the day.
But how does meal prepping affect our time management?
Well, there are a couple of reasons why meal prepping will help you to save time!
Especially people who pay a lot of attention to their diet know what I am talking about now.
Preparing food and eating absorbs a lot of time every day. Breakfast, Lunch, pre & post workout, dinner, and snacks. It all adds up.
This is where meal prep helps you out.
On the one hand, if you prepare your food for the next day in advance in one go, this will save you a lot of time.
You don’t need to think about what to eat the next day and even more significantly, you don’t have to cook it!
Going through your everyday life without wasting any time on eating, except a thrill of anticipation for your healthy and self-made meals.
You can spend this additional time with the things you love or that you always wanted to do.
Picking up a new book, reaching out for friends that you’ve haven’t seen for a while or just enjoying time with your kids and family. There are endless possibilities for how you can spend your time.
Furthermore, this also saves you serious calories when compared to the average fast food or whatever people get for their lunch breaks.
Lastly, it, of course, depends on what you’re eating, but in most cases meal prep will make you feel more saturated and satisfied as well.
Eventually, meal prep saves you time and serious calories.
5. Stay on Track and Win the Mental Game
What are the most influential aspects for fitness, nutrition and going to the gym?
Exactly, the mental game.
If you’re not ready to lift heavy, sweat and overcome your personal limits, you already lost the battle.
As it is with most things in life, it’s all about your mindset. If you think I won’t bench 100kg for 5 reps today, the weight will feel a lot heavier than it would with a positive mindset.
Eventually, you tell yourself, I knew it. Today is not my day.
Of course, there are days where you seemingly have endless power. As well as it’s ordinary to have bad days where your performance feels like shit.
But, what if I tell you there is a way to win your mental game for an entire week in advance and stay on track with your diet?
Meal prep does combine both aspects.
For instance, if you prepare your food for a whole week in advance, you never have to think about things like shit my workout today will suck because I ate too little.
Preparing your food for a whole week might take you a few hours, that sounds a lot. But think about how much time it saves you.
A whole week without thinking about what and when to eat. A whole week without cooking. A whole week having your optimal nutrients supply prepared.
On the one hand, this can improve your mental game because you know in advance, you ate well, you’ve had all required nutrients to succeed in the upcoming workouts, your job, and everyday life tasks.
On the other hand, meal prepping helps you to stay on track. Whether you are trying to gain or lose weight, you’ve prepared food according to your goal for the next day/week.
Your body will thank you after with the best possible results. You ate healthy, conscious and in accordance to your goals. You won the mental game. You made it to the gym and killed your workout.
On a final note, having considered all the mentioned benefits, it can definitely be said that meal prepping has a lot of advantages.
Whether you’re going to start meal prepping or not, that’s totally up to you.
Let’s recap how meal prep benefits us.
Certainly, there are many more benefits. Today I addressed my personal favorites that I regard as most important.
Meal prep does…
- Control the portion
- Save money
- Improve your cooking skills
- Enhance your time management
- Help you stay on track and win the mental game
I hope I did my job well and did demonstrate vividly to you why meal prepping is important.
What do you think about meal prep? Share your experience with us and the community.
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Thanks for reading, guys.