Why Meal Plan?
Every fitness person covers this topic and each has their own take on it. For us here at Powell Performance, we work with hundreds of athletes and clients with different goals, monetary limits and approaches to life. That being said, we still ask all of them to figure out and plan basics about what they will eat this each day, week or month.
No matter what you do professionally, how much money you make or your current goals, you need to plan ahead, even if it’s only by a few hours or days. Then we realized, that we never really discuss the “Why” of this. While preparing to write this article, we started thinking about all the great reasons to meal plan. This list is NOT all encompassing, but we highlight some of the biggest reasons it is important.
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- Save money
Shopping sales, buying in bulk, and utilizing coupons all play a role in our planning each week. A great example here is knowing our local supermarket will have half price chicken breasts on Wednesdays. This allows us to plan ahead and have meals prepped for the end of the week to include it. This is a great opportunity to test new chicken dishes you’ve previously seen and want to try, or even better you can use your PP Cookbook to find some.
Taking control of your health is important. When you meal plan, you have control over what goes into your body, how much money is spent on food, and a better say over your schedule.
This allows you to go to work or school with food either being cooked (crockpot with timer), already cooked (Sunday’s meal prep food), or in the cupboard (goal-oriented snacks). Coming home to food that is ready or a few minutes from the table is a great feeling after a long day. Now you can sit down and enjoy either family or personal time.
Controlling the exact foods that go into you and your families’ body is important too. If you are reading this, your health is important to you, now it’s time to implement it into not only your life, but your family’s.
- Learn new skills
A major reason PP staff talks about What Level Eater Are You is cooking skills. Many people, our staff included, started meal planning and prepping with minimal skills. Through family (thanks mom), friends, and YouTube we learned many new skills and use them weekly. Learning the difference between mincing and dicing, how to multiply and expand recipes and how to multitask effectively in the kitchen are all great ways to “level up”.
These invaluable skills make cooking faster and more enjoyable. If the desire to cook at the end of a long day or early in the morning was relied on for most people’s health it would lead to more processed food eaten and more drive thru’s visited.
The other major division in the level of eater a person is, are the habits you’ve formed. As we talked about before, the biggest thing that separates you from the people you admire for their accomplishments, work ethic and “drive” are the habits they’ve created over time. Remember that every action you take towards the person you want to become is a vote for the new you!
- Reduced stress
While eating well and exercising are amazing ways to reach wellness and fitness goals, another huge component is stress management. Of course, good habits like meal planning, allow you to reduce stress levels about not being prepared or making decisions when things go wrong.
Oh no… I came home late from work, now I don’t have time to cook the chicken I was thawing.
No worries! You’ve planned ahead and have leftovers from yesterday’s meal you prepped Sunday! Now just cook the chicken in the crockpot tomorrow morning and not waste food! Better planning will give you more freedom to do the things you want. It reduces stress by freeing you from the burdens of responsibility, and wasted time. Your food is ready to eat whenever you need it. Planning relieves the stress of cooking when tired and the excuses for getting fast food.
- Save Time
This one seems counter intuitive until you think about it. “I’m spending my whole Sunday meal prepping and planning” or “I still have to do the cooking” are common concerns.
Planning and prepping ahead long term will allow for reduced time commitment because you get better at it!
True, planning your week or month, and cooking in bulk, takes some practice. Our clients’ and athletes’ prep time, however, diminishes drastically over the first few weeks. Like any skill, it gets better the more you do it. Planning and prepping become habits. You learn what recipes work best for the week and which ones you and your family enjoy.
Meal prepping can truly improve your life and allow you to have more freedom if done correctly. Do you want to learn more about how to meal plan, build better daily habits and have a staff of dietitians, coaches and counselors to help be your allies? Click here to speak with our staff and get more help on your journey today!