Meal Prep: 5 Benefits to preparing your meals

In Health & Wellness, mental health, Recovery, Sober Living by THR

By Brent Botros Tree House Staff

As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, setting aside time to prepare meals takes self-discipline and consistency. It takes work and a thought out plan to prepare meals for yourself to stay on track. There are a few major reasons why I do this. The first being the financial benefits, and the second being that it helps me stay on track with my diet – meal prepping allows me to get the nutrients I need during my day. The third reason is self-discipline, and the fourth is that it is a form of meditation to clear the mind. Lastly, preparing my meals allows me to improve my time management skills.

1. There are Major Financial Benefits

Let’s start by talking about the first reason – the financial benefits. First, it’s important to take a look at how much money you would be spending per day if you were to eat every meal out. Most people eat three meals per day. An average meal with a drink can be anywhere from $10-15. So, on an average day, eating out can drain $20-45 out of your wallet. Now, adding that up, eating out can amount to $140 each week. When I grocery shop, I spend on average $40-50 per visit, shopping about twice per week. Following this pattern I can save about $40-60 per week at minimum. So, it makes complete financial sense to meal prep.

2. It Allows for Optimized Nutritional Intake

The next reason behind my choice to meal prep is optimizing my nutrient intake. Cooking my own food gives me peace of mind and body. I know exactly what I put into every Tupperware container, and therefore don’t have to worry about unneeded chemicals entering my body. Foods that I prepare for myself are oftentimes less processed and more “from the earth” than foods that I may order out. It’s simple; if I didn’t cook it, then I don’t know EXACTLY what is in it.

3. It Requires Self Discipline

The next benefit of meal prep is more mental. Meal prepping requires self-discipline. Before going on to this topic I think it’s important to ask myself “Do I always stay consistent with this habit?” The answer is no. Without remaining consistent, I easily fall off the path. I would like to say that I do practice this all of the time, but being human, we make mistakes. This is where self-discipline comes in. Sometimes, on the weekends, it’s easy to want to relax and not worry about setting aside time to devote to meal-prepping. This comes down to a mental choice that must be made, taking a look at the pros of devoting time needed for the self versus the cons of choosing not to do it.

4. It’s a Mindfulness Practice

Following self discipline is another mental and spiritual benefit – preparing your meals is a meditation. Mindfulness is a form of meditation for me, and plays a huge role in meal prep. I have to plan ahead and think about what I want to eat, what I’m going to season it with, how much I need, and how to balance the meal properly to stay on track with my nutrients. Juggling all of these different pieces forces me to be in the present moment and attend to what is in front of me. While I prep my food, I usually turn on my favorite music and just go. Usually by the time I’m finished, I feel calm, relaxed, and a sense of peace engulf my spirit.

4. It Improves Time Management Skills

Last, but not least, is improving my time management skills. Meal prepping takes time, but it also saves time. This is where forward thinking comes in. When I meal prep, I have to set aside a few hours of my weekend and some time during the week on my least busy day. I also have to factor in time needed to walk to and from the grocery store and shop. Now, the benefit of sacrificing my “free time” is that I now have a meal each day during work and can simply go to the fridge, microwave it, and sit down at my computer and eat. This is where the completed task reminds me of just how important it is to follow this habit and remain consistent. After eating my meal, sometimes I think about how good it feels to get the necessary nutrients, save money, and condition my brain to remain in control of my thoughts.

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