Eating a nutritious diet is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re not used to cooking and preparing meals, the effort involved can be a major obstacle to achieving your dietary goals. Read on to learn ways you can make meal prep fun instead of a chore and find meal prep resources that will ensure you love the food you make.
Prepping your meals in advance is a great way to spend less time cooking, enjoy your time in the kitchen more, and stick to healthy foods.
Why It’s Time To Look at Cooking Differently
At the end of a stressful, busy day, it’s hard to muster the energy to prepare a wholesome meal from scratch, especially if you have children and you’re not sure they’ll be on board with a Whole30-approved meal. You can minimize the tension associated with cooking by doing most of the work at a time when you’ll be able to dedicate your energy to it without too many other competing demands. Many people choose to make their meals for the week ahead over the weekend, so when the end of the workday arrives, heating up something healthy is just as convenient as other options.
If you’re dealing with a mental health condition or substance issues, a healthy diet is especially important, but the work of recovery can leave you feeling too drained to cook. You can benefit from a different cooking mindset here, too, as you prepare for your tougher days by making meals in advance. Many psychologists recommend trying a “cooking therapy” class after you complete a detox for drugs or alcohol. The multi-sensory environment of the kitchen is an excellent place to practice mindfulness-based stress reduction, not to mention basic self-care.
How To Solve Common Meal Prep Problems
A better outlook on cooking might help you get through the meal prep process, but often, there are other obstacles to address before you’re ready for kitchen duty. If your efforts to cook ahead haven’t been fruitful before, why not? Many people who struggle with committing to meal prep routines find that:
- They don’t want to eat the same thing every night
- The leftovers don’t reheat well
- They were disappointed by the recipes
- The plan couldn’t accommodate schedule changes
A more flexible approach to meal planning might help you address some of these concerns, especially if you’re willing to do a limited amount of work before dinner on the weekdays. Think about the things you like to eat and how much cooking you can handle while you’re hungry to develop a meal plan you’ll like.
What To Cook for the Week Ahead
It can be a challenge to set the menu for your meal plans. Accounting for refrigeration, freezing, and reheating in addition to taste and nutrition can constrain your choices. Get ideas from recipes designed to be made ahead so you can learn what you can do in advance and what won’t hold up as well. You don’t have to stick to make-ahead recipes exclusively, but they’re a great way to improve your cooking and preparation skills and increase the odds that you’ll want to eat your leftovers after all.
Making your meals in advance is a great way to spend less time cooking, enjoy your time in the kitchen more, and stick to healthy foods. With some advance planning, you can master the process for good.
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