It’s Sunday, you’ve opened your refrigerator to check your food supply. After you determine what you need, you head out to the grocery store. Once you return from grocery shopping, you unpack your bags and start to cook your Sunday meal. But, have you ever considered preparing a weeks’ worth of meals in advance?
That’s exactly what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families across the nation to do as part of its “Go Further with Food” campaign during National Nutrition Month.
“Preparing several meals on weekends can provide balanced meals that can easily be reheated throughout the week,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Kristen Smith. “It’s also a great way to eat healthfully, save time during the week and reduce food waste.”
Preparing your own food can be time consuming, but it is the healthiest way for you to monitor what you’re putting into your body. Fast food seems very convenient, and easy when you’re in a rush, but food can be made just as fast at home.
Include your meal staples, a protein of your choice (chicken), vegetables (carrots), and one fiber (rice, or potatoes). Refrigerate, and warm up throughout the week. Any variation that is appealing and healthy will do. Take it a step further, and store chopped veggies, and washed fruit aside for snacking!
Between school, work, and weekday activities, it can be hard to find a free moment to breathe, let alone cook! Find a day on the weekend that your entire family can get involved in the meal prep process. Have one person wash, dry, and chop, while another look up recipes, and someone else helps store the meals. Plan your meals according to the events happening in the coming week, and portion snacks to grab on-the-go!
According to the Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions, about 90 billion lbs. or $107 billion worth of food goes uneaten in the United States each year, costing the average family of four $1,500 annually. Just imagine how much food and money your household may be losing. When you’ve created a meal prep system and have a planned grocery list, then you’re less likely to make impulse purchases that lead to food waste. Since fresh produce like veggies and fruits can go bad fast, meal prep also can cut down on the number of healthy foods you throw in the trash can.
Weekly meal prep allows you to eat clean, simple and healthy. It also saves time and reduces food waste. How do you plan on getting involved with National Nutrition Month?