Preparing your meals ahead of time not only helps keep your wallet fat and saves you time, but it can also help keep your waistline trim. If you’re working on losing weight, preparing your own food is a must, and if you’re focused on maintaining your weight loss (congratulations!), lunch offers a sneaky potential for trip-ups. Lunch prep is so important and here are 5 good reasons why you should start meal-prepping your lunches now!
1. Save Time
Cooking in batches always saves time, and the same benefit applies to meal prepping. Taking the time once a week to put together all 5 lunches for your workdays will save you the rushed morning routine of tossing whatever’s handy into a bag, as well as time at the grocery store or waiting on takeaway or restaurant meals during your precious lunch hour.
2. Lunch Prep Saves Money
Did you know 89% of working Americans spend over $35 per week on lunch? That’s over $1,750 per year! If you’re also a coffee drinker, you probably fall into the 82% who spends close to $20 per week on java—$1,000 each year ! Takeout, restaurant, and pre-made meals are expensive compared to what you can make at home. Planning your lunches ahead means you can buy your ingredients at the grocery store, saving money overall—and limiting the number of times you pay to eat out or order takeout because you didn’t have a lunch to bring to work.
Think of all the wonderful places you could go for $2,750…the new clothes you could buy for your post-weight-loss bod, the massages and spa treatments to reward yourself for milestones, the ever-practical rent or mortgage payment, or the gym membership you keep saying is too expensive.
Bonus Tip: If you need a cup of joe (or several) to make it through the day, take advantage of the coffee maker at work. Even better, keep a small container of your milk, non-dairy alternative, or creamer in your breakroom fridge (don’t forget to label it!). You’ll save yourself money, time, and calories by skipping the café.
3. Minimize Temptation & Opportunities for “Hangry” Poor Food Choices
Nearly everyone is guilty of ordering takeout because they didn’t bring lunch to work. But, if you’ve prepped your meals for the week, you’ll never scramble to find lunch or settle for a takeout meal because you forgot to pack a lunch or didn’t have any food at home. Added bonus? You won’t be tempted to dig out your change to grab one of those unhealthy, high calorie snacks out of the vending machine!
4. Eat Better – All Around
If you’re lucky enough not to have any food sensitivities or allergies, finding food options while eating out may not be a problem for you. But for those with dietary restrictions, prepping your lunch can save you from the surprise reaction, headache, or upset tummy. Even if you’re blissfully free of these, making your own food means you know exactly what is going in your body. Whether you are following a diet or nutrition plan, or eating to maintain your weight loss, you will always be more successful if you prepare your own food.
5. Manage Portion Control
American restaurants are particularly guilty of serving monstrous portion sizes. Even if you set aside half of your portion to take home as leftovers, you still aren’t entirely in control of the calories or nutrients you’re consuming. Prepping at home means you know for certain how many calories, grams of protein, fat, and carbs you’ll consume. As an added bonus, you can plan and pack snacks as part of your lunch preparation. Skip the vending machine or the temptation of breakroom donuts and cupcakes by including protein-rich, filling snacks with your lunch.
Weight loss is challenging, but so is keeping weight off once you’ve lost it! Lunch prep is one time and money-saving method to eating smart while losing or maintaining weight.
To make creating your healthy plans easier, 7 Company has partnered with eMeals, a aol technical support company that specializes in creating weekly menus, complete with recipes and shopping lists. Learn more here!