You know those really busy weeks where you feel like you don’t even have enough time to get all of your work done, let alone stop and make something to eat? This is where having meals prepped and ready to go can become so beneficial. Sure, it requires a little more work on a couple days of the week but 1 hour spent prepping meals in order to free up more of your time to work, play with your kids, hang out with friends, relax, spend time with family, etc. seems worth it to me. Especially when you know you’re making choices that are aligned with your health, nutrition and fitness goals.
Here are 8 reasons how meal prepping and if you track your macros, pre-logging your food for the day can be SO beneficial for you:
1. Plan ahead: This eliminates the guessing game or macro tetris from tracking. You know when you just fly by the seat of your pants, have nothing planned or tracked ahead of time and then it comes to the end of the day and you’re left with 40g of protein, 8g of carbs and you’re over your fat target. Now what? Well, this doesn’t really leave you with many options other than a protein shake or some plain chicken breast or egg whites. Which might be fine for some people but I am sure you can agree with me that your meals would be a lot more enjoyable if you actually got to have a well balanced meal at the end of the day.
2. Ensures success: When you have everything planned, prepped and tracked ahead of time it’s going to ensure that you are successful with your goals. All you need to do is execute. If there’s a social event you would like to attend, you can input your estimates into your food tracking app and then base the rest of your day around those targets. Or, if you don’t track your nutrition you could focus on having higher protein, more nutrient dense meals throughout the day to allow for some more “fun” meals at the social event. Also, this is going to ensure that you aren’t as hungry going into the event.
3. Creates awareness: if you had to think back to yesterday do you know exactly what you ate? How often do you really think you are paying attention to what you are eating, let alone how much you ate or how you ate (did you eat really quickly and not focus on chewing your food slowly?), where you ate (did you eat at a restaurant, at home, in your car, at work?) Why you ate (are you stressed, sad, anxious, frustrated?)
Pre-logging your food intake for the day and meal prepping creates so much awareness around the above questions so that you know the WHY’s behind your behaviours. Not only this but pre-logging your nutrition and meal prepping can show you what you are doing really well. What agrees with your body and digestive system. What works for YOU and what doesn’t work well for you.
4. Creates accountability: when you are meal prepping you are likely preparing home cooked meals with mostly whole foods. You are going to be more inclined to eat the food that you have prepped and cooked rather than let it go to waste. The person you need to be the most accountable with is yourself. When you are tracking your food, you are now thinking twice about the choices that you are making and therefore, this holds you accountable to your goals.
5. Saves time: you don’t have to think about what to eat next, you already know exactly what you’re having. Plus, if it’s already made you don’t have to cook it either. You can also freeze your meals ahead of time. You can throw crockpot freezer meals into a freezer bag so that all you have to do is dump the bag in the slow cooker and let it cook for the day. Simple, easy and SO quick for those days where you have a lot going on like work, kids activities, social events, etc.
6. Saves money: if you’re able to plan ahead for the week and you know exactly what meals you are going to make. Make your grocery list based off those meals and then you aren’t buying anything that you really don’t “need”. I’m sure we have all had that one item that sits in the fridge until it goes bad or expires. If you didn’t eat it that week then did you really need to buy it?
7. Helps identify certain eating patterns: maybe you are someone who always skips breakfast and then you really struggle with making it to lunch. Or maybe you always have a higher calorie meal at lunch and find yourself really full and uncomfortable at work for the rest of the day. Keeping a food log or pre-logging your nutrition can help identify some of these patterns that you can look back and reflect on. Meal prepping can help you to portion out your meals so that you know you are getting roughly the same amount at each meal.
8. Helps identify food sensitivities: do you often feel bloated, really gassy, constipated or have the sudden urge to use the washroom right after you eat? Each person is going to react differently to different foods and by keeping track of what you are eating you can help pin point where this is coming from or what could be making you feel this way.
At the end of the day pre-logging your nutrition, meal prepping, tracking your food, using a food log or food diary is a tool that can be so beneficial for a variety of reasons and these are just a few. We all have a choice to make and it’s up to you to ultimately decide what is most important to you.