Are women who prepare meals in advance healthier?
Are women who prepare meals in advance healthier than those who don’t? This is an important question, and I can say yes from experience. When I don’t do meal prep and weight loss planning at the beginning of the week, I come home tired and exhausted and tend to eat whatever I can grab from the refrigerator, which is usually a sandwich and maybe a snack.
If something salty is nearby, like chips, I may grab that, along with some water. Next, I may drink a fruit smoothie previously purchased from the store but has a considerable amount of sugar to drink before bedtime. Fresh fruit would be better because there is not as much concentrated sugar.
However, when I prepare basic food at the beginning of the week, I tend to eat healthier. So, to have a healthy lifestyle, I must plan. This way, I can portion out my meals for the rest of the week, pick them up and go. You know the old saying, “Fail to plan, then plan to fail?” I think that applies in this situation. If this is an area that you are struggling with, I have some tips that may be helpful to you.
A Few Ideas
First, plan what you will eat for the week in advance. I started doing meal prep on Sunday. Sometimes I cook a few meals and portion them out in containers to take to work for the week, or I prepare veggies for soups and stews by cutting them and then bagging and storing them until needed. If I am going to steam them later in the week, I chop them and put them in bags in the refrigerator. Then, when I am ready, I add sauce, seasonings, or whatever I need to dress up and prepare the meal.
I utilize meal prep containers and put food in containers for lunch for the week. Check out these meal prep containers.
Potatoes and veggies can be roasted and saved until needed. They can then be added to stews, soups, wraps, or veggie bowls.
The Versatility of Beans
A large pot of beans can be used one day for chili, another day for burritos, added to rice or Quinoa, or added to soups and salads. If you are creative, you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make. The beans become the base for the week of other meals. I could go on and on with additional suggestions for beans. Did I mention that you can make bean dip, bean spread, and beans in sweets?
Lentils are the quickest and easiest bean to make if you have time constraints. They are full of protein and fiber and can be used as they are or with rice. I like them in Mexican soup, lentil and spinach soup, lentil tomato and spinach soup, or whatever combination you like. Canned beans with low sodium are another option for quick meals. Curried Lentils are also quite tasty!
Breakfast, the most Important Meal of the Day
I prepare 3 or 4 days’ worth of smoothies for breakfast, pour them into cups, and freeze them. In the morning, I take it out, let it start thawing, and it is ready to eat before I leave or when I get to work. My other option for smoothies is to freeze the fruit for individual smoothies in baggies, and in the morning, blend the fruit and go. This way, I have a variety for the week.
Another breakfast or dinner favorite is scrambled tofu with onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms if I have them, and spinach or Kale. It’s an excellent way to get extra veggies in my diet. I sometimes also add spinach or Kale to my smoothies.
I make a batch of my healthy whole wheat waffle recipe and freeze them. The formula is easy, and waffles cook quickly. I like the waffle makers that make four waffles at a time. This waffle maker makes waffles on one side and pancakes on the other. I love it because it reminds me of the one my mother used when I was younger.
Invest in a rice cooker or use instant brown rice. I only use brown rice because it has more nutrients than white rice. I do believe it is the healthier option. I prefer Basmati or Jasmine rice because it is flavorful and has a pleasant aroma. Depending on where you shop, it may be harder to find in some stores. Rice cookers allow you to put the ingredients in the device and return when it’s ready.
A Few Secrets
One nutritious grain that I discovered a few years ago is Quinoa. This is an easy-to-cook grain that is loaded with protein. I will write a whole blog post about it in the future. It is so versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways. This is an excellent grain for meal prep.
I keep a bag of Spinach and Kale at almost all times. I use spinach in salads, spinach or Kale on my sandwiches instead of lettuce; I put them in smoothies and scrambled tofu. I don’t eat eggs, but if you do, try adding them to your scrambled eggs.
Please keep it simple. I like the convenience, but I also want my food to be tasty and healthy. Many think that to eat healthily, one has to sacrifice taste, but that is not true.
I don’t like long hours in the kitchen. On meal prep day, I do what is easy. You don’t have to make your entire meals for the week up front, but there needs to be enough preparation, so you don’t feel like you are working a second job when you get off work.
If you take a little time each week for meal prep and weight loss, you will find that some of your bad eating habits will change. You will be more conscious of what you are putting into your body and feel better about yourself for better care of your body. Try it out next week and comment below, letting me know how things worked. Also, check out 16 Diet and Fitness Tips for Women!