You might be asking yourself, “why bother?” Here are a few reasons:
Planning several meals (let’s say, one week) in advance saves money.
There is nothing better than going into the grocery store with a list.
First, browse some flyers to gauge prices, and learn what is on sale and the frequency. Download an app, like ShopSavvy, to save time bouncing around stores and flyers for the best prices. ShopSavvy scans the UPC bar code of the specific item and brand to compare prices across different stores. Similar apps can help you make informed decisions about purchasing products.
Next, plan your weekly meals. Remember the food groups from elementary school. Dig to the back of your brain and try to come up with meals accordingly. Make a list consisting of all the items you will need.
Head to the store! But don’t dawdle because this can lead to some items mysteriously jumping into your shopping cart… If it helps you to speed through the store to only get the items you need, plan an errand for after the store like picking up a prescription or grabbing gas, heading to the post office, etc.
2. Saves time throughout the week.
It’s simple. Cook once or twice so you don’t have to cook six or seven times later on. The most efficient way of saving time would be to cook one meal in a large enough quantity for the entire week, however this can get really boring by the fourth or fifth mean (understandably). So, make a few meals and put some in the freezer to swap them out when you are starting to feel bored with the same meal.
3. Prevents you from snacking, and making unhealthy food choices.
If you don’t have a meal set to go when you are hungry, chances are you will likley choose the convenient option. Not necessarily McDonalds, but other take-out or casual dining places (yes, I mean that burrito twice a week at Chipotle).
With a meal or snack ready to go, you can quickly munch or dine to keep you going.
You can read dozens of articles on the pros of meal prepping. It’s not just for gym rats and health finatics, it has some real cost and health benefits for broke post-grads.