Here are three meal prep tips to help you keep your nutrition in check even on those busy days.
- Have a plan – Taking time to plan out what you are going to consume allows you to make healthier food choices, decreases stress related to figuring out what to eat at the moment, and can help you save money. The general recommendation is to meal plan about once weekly before purchasing your groceries. However, you can do it as frequently as possible, as long as it works for you.
Meal planning allows you to make sure you have what you will need to consume on hand without making extra trips to the grocery store. If you know you will have a busy week, make sure you plan to buy things that are easy to grab and go. Such as fruit with peels like bananas, apples, oranges, low-fat string cheese, and low-fat and low-sugar yogurt.
If you are going to be at a place where eating at a restaurant is the only option, meal planning can also help you make the healthiest choices before you sit down at the restaurant and are tempted by an unhealthy option. Take time to pick the restaurant you want to eat at and look up the menu before going so you know the options. Most restaurants have calorie counts on their menus, which can be a great tool to help you plan what you will eat.
- Prep the night before – Making time to prep for the next day as part of your nightly routine can help you save time and eat healthier. Pack your meals for when you will be away from home in a quick grab-and-go container.
- Keep drinks on hand – One significant influence on our nutrition is the types of drinks we consume regularly. It’s easy to stop at a vending machine or go through a drive-through when we aren’t prepared. However, many of those drinks are filled with added sugar. Keep a stash of bottled water or unsweetened beverages in your car or office for quick grab-and-go drinks. Better yet, keep a reusable water bottle with you so you can refill it as needed.
Making time to meal plan and prep for your day part of your routine will help you make sure you get the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and decrease your risk of chronic diseases. It takes the stress out of making the in-the-moment decision on what to eat next and can help you make healthier choices regarding food.