Meal Prep: Help Your Wallet and Your Waistline

Not sold on the idea of meal prepping? I get it: you're busy with work, the kids, and with everything else under the sun. I don't want to hear that excuse, though! When we're busy we often times make rash decisions when it comes to what to eat. Think about it - out of convenience and an effort to "save time," more processed, unhealthy foods are often picked up while shopping for groceries and while dining out. As Americans, we love convenience and will pay anything to have it afforded to us. This mindset can be extremely detrimental to both your wallet and your waistline as you are more likely to spend money and eat less healthy options.

Image Credit: Kristin Sutton

I know you're probably wondering where you should start and how, as well as dishing out those excuses about not having time to actually prepare all of your meals in advance. Here's the logistics:

Meal prepping actually saves you time, so you have no excuse! For instance, if you prepare a few meals a night for lunch and dinner and wake up each morning making breakfast, that can total 5-6 hours of your time throughout the week! Additionally, if you eat out more often than cooking during the week, you can save over $100-200 depending on your what you're spending. I don't know about you, but the thought of saving that much money per week has me on the edge of my seat!

Start with determining which meals you would like to prepare for the week and include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You should also have an idea of what types of snacks you want to indulge in as well. Once you have all of this figured out, write out your grocery list. Only buy the items on the list. Crazy, right? This saves you money because you are not picking up items that you don't need.

I know those cookies and that bag of chips look real tempting, but if they weren't on that list, don't think about throwing them into your cart!

Next, determine which day is your prep day. Ideally, you should prep your meals during the weekend. Sundays are usually the go-to as they ensure that you are all ready to go for the week ahead. Make sure you block off about 3 hours or so (could take less time, but probably not at first) for cooking.

Now here's the fun part! Get in the kitchen and start preparing those meals that you planned out. You should be cooking and preparing multiple meals at once so that you aren't in the kitchen all night long. Make it a family affair; have the kids package up all of the snacks for the week. Make your spouse wash the dishes as you cook. Don't worry about potentially having too much food; you can always freeze the extras and warm them up when you need something easy to eat.

Image Credit: Kristin Sutton

By sticking to the script and eating what you've prepared at home, you're likely to eat healthier. This is a major plus for those looking to lose a pound or two! I suggest giving this whole meal prep thing a try, what do you have to lose (other than a few inches off of your waist)?