Not everyone enjoys spending at least an hour in the kitchen every morning and evening. Cooking healthy meals for yourself, and your family, requires time, energy, and planning that isn’t easily attainable on a daily basis. With so many other responsibilities on our plates, and no issues pertaining to food access, it becomes increasingly easy to neglect the importance of prepping and cooking quality meals.
According to the American Heart Association, “Research from the nutrition community continues to demonstrate that the foods we choose every day do indeed have an important effect on our health…With today’s hectic lifestyle, it’s tempting to opt out of cooking altogether, especially now that fast food is available on almost every corner. Yet taking a convenient shortcut instead of preparing meals at home can also shortchange your health.”
A Little Prep Goes A Long Way
Setting aside a few hours every weekend to prepare meals for the coming week makes a substantial difference in your ability, and willingness, to put quality meals on the table every weeknight. If you’re wondering where to buy meal prep containers, BPA-free meal prep containers are available through Amazon, as well as at most grocery outlets.
According to NDSU.org, “30 to 35 percent of families often eat less than three meals a week together, which means less time for connecting and communicating.” As children get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the whole family together at the dinner table during the week. The website also states, “Recent research suggests that family meals are associated with a reduced risk of childhood obesity in children and adolescents.”
Meal prep storage containers allow you to measure out ingredients for family meals well in advance. If you’re able to set aside a few hours every weekend to chop, measure, and separate ingredients into meal prep food containers, you’ll shave significant prep time off every meal during the week. You might also purchase microwavable meal prep containers that can be warmed up quickly for meals on the go.
Tips For Easy Meal Prep
Prepping, and even cooking, large batches of favorite dishes is a great way to reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen during the week. Many shy away from having too many leftovers, but storing leftovers is an easy way to have food prepared on even the busiest of weeknights. Make your freezer a close ally when it comes to storing excess food. It’s also important to recognize the benefits of throwing foods that are close to spoiling into your freezer so that they’ll stay fresh longer. Wilting spinach, for example, can be thrown in the freezer and set aside for morning smoothies.
Protein is arguably the most satisfying food group, but protein is not always the most accessible solution for grab-and-go snacks. By preparing and cooking extra proteins when you do have time to spend in the kitchen, you’ll always have a fulfilling snack-stocked when the need arises. Hard-boiled eggs, nuts and seeds, and a variety of dried meats are just a few examples of satiating protein snacks.
Spend Less Time In The Kitchen, More Time At The Dinner Table
It can be frustrating to dedicate several hours to preparing and cooking a meal only to have your family stuff themselves full in a matter of thirty minutes and depart the dining room table in pursuit of other activities. There are many benefits of getting the whole family together for quality meals at least several nights per week.
According to Texas Child Care Quarterly, “Research shows something as simple as preparing breakfast can have positive cognitive and health benefits.” Additionally, the Quarterly suggests, “Young children develop feelings about food early on and a palate for what they like and dislike. Natural positive attitudes toward food and cooking may just as easily be smothered and replaced with disinterest or lack of motivation if parents do not nurture it.”
NDSU.org goes on to state that “a striking number of studies give specific and wide-ranging evidence that family meals are an important “protective factor” in the lives of children and teenagers. Family meals are associated with a variety of positive outcomes that improve child well-being. These include a decreased risk of substance use or delinquency, heightened personal and social well-being, and better academic performance.”
Meal Prep Containers For Improved Health and Fitness
There are clearly many familial benefits of spending less time preparing meals during the week without compromising meal quality. This is also true when it comes to your ability to meet unique health and fitness goals. When working long hours and striving to spend time in the gym at least a few days every week, there is hardly any time remaining to cook homemade meals. Meal prep containers give you an easy solution to ensure that your health and fitness goals aren’t compromised by substandard nutrition practices.