By Kelsey Kennedy
Save time and money
Research indicates that a hectic schedule is one of the main factors for individuals choosing quick takeout meals. Cooking in advance will save you more time because you don't have to spend time every day cleaning or preparing food. Every week, set aside a day to prepare your meals.
After that, all that's left to do is reheat the food and dig in. Long-term time savings come from investing more time in the cooking process up front. Even though it might seem difficult to establish at first, especially if you don't regularly make grocery lists, it gets easier with time.
Improving your diet
Home-cooked meals are typically healthier than takeout. Meal planning offers nutrients that you probably wouldn't otherwise obtain because it is scientifically connected to a more varied, higher-quality diet. Those who plan their meals are more likely to stick to dietary recommendations and consume a wider variety of foods. This may be because planning meals involves a longer cognitive process, allowing for educated choices.
Additionally, it could aid in keeping you satisfied but not stuffed. Planning ahead allows you to have diverse components and create a more balanced plate, which leaves you feeling happy and satisfied.
Helping weight loss and preventing obesity
Restaurant food is usually higher in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium than food made at home. This explains why meal planning has been associated with weight loss and the reduction of obesity. Meal planning is linked to lower probabilities of obesity in men and women.
Additionally, in one pilot program that was studied, participants got together every Sunday for six weeks to prepare wholesome lunches and dinners for the working week. By the end of the program, participants had not only embraced a more wholesome diet but had also lost an average of more than 3 pounds.
Due to portion control, prepping meals in advance may also help with weight loss, especially if you are batch cooking. In contrast to restaurant meals or takeaway, you may portion out your meals to match your specific nutritional needs because you have control over the components and cooking techniques.
Prevent irrational food choices and being hangry
It's all too common to make impulsive eating decisions, especially when you feel very hungry. This is because any eating decision will probably feel more impulsive when glucose levels are low. Your brain will seek out immediate energy, which is frequently found in the form of simple carbs.
Meal planning and choosing to eat balanced meals allow you flexibility and encourage you to eat things that make you feel well psychologically and physically. In other words, meal preparation can encourage mindful eating.
Emotional wellness improved by meal planning
Coming home from a demanding day and discussing dinner plans with your sweetheart is the perfect way to unwind. What if the outcome was already known? Just picture the enormous relief that would provide. Making meals in advance can help you do that.
Although more research is needed on this subject, one study found a strong correlation between the amount of time Canadians spend preparing their meals each day and higher self-rated mental health and lower self-rated stress.
According to other research, eating soothes anxiety and rage more effectively when there is no option involved, and it also lowers systolic blood pressure.
Beyond the plate, meal preparation has many benefits that can have a significant impact on your life and health. So, the next time you find yourself wondering what's for dinner, think about the difference that planning ahead could make.
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