By Wilson Ho
As a college student, you may constantly be thinking about your next meal and how you should prepare for it. With a busy schedule of juggling study time, exams, and exercise, it may be difficult to cook daily. One solution is to meal prep at the beginning of the week to have all your meals ready whenever you are hungry. Some benefits of meal prepping (besides the sheer convenience at meal time) include: controlling salt, sugar, portion sizes, and costs.
Control salt, sugar, saturated fat levels:
Whether you are trying to achieve new fitness goals or become healthier, meal prepping can be a great option to control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat you consume. You can measure out exactly what goes into your body if you are prepping all your meals. According to the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the recommended intake of saturated fat should be less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. That may be a good rule of thumb to follow when considering the amount of fat you should include in your meals.
Control portion size:
Controlling your portion sizes may also be an important aspect of reaching or maintaining your fitness goals. Meal prepping can help you figure out exactly how much you will eat for each meal and it will also encourage you to only eat what you have planned. Sometimes you may still want to snack in between meals so it’s a good idea to have snacks planned out early on too! Some ideas for great snacks include: bananas, oranges, granola bars, and yogurt. It is always important to remember that controlling what you eat is just as important as the amount you eat.
With all the health benefits, it is also important to for us to budget and keep the costs low. With meal prepping we can have a good estimation on how much we will spend on food at the beginning of each week. Generally speaking, you will be spending a lot less by cooking at home versus going out to eat. You may also get higher quality foods like locally sourced, organic, and vegan products and yet still save money compared to eating out. As college students, being on a budget is important and you will start to notice a big difference once you starting cooking more!
Meal prepping may be a good option for you to consider, but don’t forget to treat yourself! Eating out occasionally can be great way to switch up your daily meals and to catch up with friends. In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, you will also get the benefit of saving time by meal prepping. Check out this popular Pinterest board for inspiration, and get cooking! https://www.pinterest.com/explore/meal-prep/