As a Dietitian, I spend a lot of time talking to people about the importance of meal preparation. When developing healthy eating habits, it saves a lot of time in the week when you normally are strapped for time. It may seem like a tedious task however by investing just 1 hour every week, it really does set you up for weight management success. Knowing what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat and then preparing your meals is one of the most important aspects of achieving a healthy, balanced diet.
The key to getting ahead with meal preparation is to have a few staple foods that you can use in a number of different ways. Ideal pantry staples include tinned fish, tinned four bean mix, baked beans, fruit and nuts, which take hardly any time to throw in snap lock bags or containers.
Having your meals on hand during the day means you don’t have to think on the go and head to a café or eatery for food. This not only saves you time, but also your waistline. You have full control over the portions and ingredients.
When hunger strikes you’ll be prepared at snack time with something nourishing, so you can feed your body regularly to keep your metabolism burning. It is like putting fuel in the car. You need to add fuel in order to move properly – and it needs to be the right fuel.
Another advantage of planning and preparing your meals is saving money. Skip the $15 a day you spend on a sandwich, and you’ll pocket $75 a week. Think of the exercise sessions you can afford with that.
Use these tips to help you prepare for the week:
- Invest in plenty of containers, zip lock bags and a mini esky with ice brick for transportation.
- Think about meals and snacks for the week and write these down on a 7 day weekly template.
- Use healthy eating websites when planning meals (Australian health food guide or Jamie Oliver’s Superfoods are good) to keep meals interesting.
- Make a shopping list, and stick to it during your weekly shop.
- Set aside a few hours each week to chop and cook – it will save you hours in the long run.