8 Scientific Benefits of Meal Prepping

Photos of neatly packed meals on social media may have drawn you to meal prepping, but cooking several days’ worth of meals ahead of time has a number of proven advantages, from saving time to getting a wider variety of nutrients in your diet.

“I definitely think meal prepping helps us with just living well in general,” says Basheerah Enahora, RDN, owner of BE Nutrition in Charlotte, North Carolina. “When we put some thought into it, we’re more likely to pick up really nutrient-rich foods from the grocery store. We have a list that’s decided in advance.”

And when you eat at home, that means you’re not eating out — a practice that, research shows, can have negative health impacts if overindulged. For example, one study suggested that less than 0.1% of restaurant meals were of ideal quality, meaning they didn’t have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean poultry, and nuts, nor did they consistently limit sugary drinks, sweets, and processed meats.

If you’re new to meal prepping, it’s important to create a plan that works for you. “People feel that a meal plan has to be this rigid structure, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that,” says Enahora. Choose a prep day that works for you, or spread the work out however makes the most sense for your schedule. Flexibility is key.

With some planning and perhaps a little preemptive chopping and marinating, you can easily call yourself a meal prepper and begin to see its benefits.

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