When you’re hungry, it’s easy to want to rush through the process of actually preparing a meal so you can skip right to the flavor. If you take the time to carefully plan out and prepare your meals ahead of time, you can benefit in so many ways! Not only will you save time in the long run, but you can eat healthier and with less stress during the week. In this edition of the Mindful Eating Series, we’re exploring how meal prep can be an exercise in mindfulness and intentionality.
Slowing down to appreciate the food we eat is a great way to cultivate mindfulness every day. This involves noticing the different aromas, flavors, and textures in a dish, but it can also mean reflecting on the choices you make while preparing food too!
Meal prep is the perfect mindful exercise because it involves dedicating time to thinking about the food you eat well before hunger strikes or there’s a mad rush to the kitchen table.
Many working moms and dads find that preparing lunches for the week on Sundays is a helpful routine to make sure everyone in the family eats healthy meals on a consistent basis. Many families also like to prepare dinner meals on the weekends to save time after work on weekday evenings. There isn’t one perfect way to meal prep, so you just need to find a routine that works best for you and your own family.
Whichever way you prefer to meal prep, you’ll likely notice a lot of benefits that all tie back in some way to mindfulness.
One benefit of meal prepping is that you tend to eat healthier. You’re not rushed because the meal is ready to go when you finish work, errands, or chores, so you won’t find yourself calling for a desperate pizza delivery or stopping at the drive-through.
Because meal prep involves thoughtful planning before you go grocery shopping, you can plan meals that are healthier to enjoy every day. The planning process doesn’t have to be scientific: simply reflect on what proportions of food groups, macro and micronutrients should go into each meal for a nutritious balance. It also helps that every meal is easily portion-controlled in a container or bento box.
All that planning pays dividends throughout the week. You might notice your anxiety is reduced throughout the week because you no longer have to worry about what’s for lunch or what to make the family for dinner.
Another mindfulness benefit of preparing meals in advance is that when it is time to enjoy the food you’ve made, you tend to enjoy it and appreciate it more. You’ll be less tired and less rushed at dinnertime, so everyone can relax and enjoy!
Finally, you save a lot of time when you meal prep and that means you can spend more time enjoying your favorite hobbies, getting some exercise, or spending time with family.
Being intentional about preparing your homemade meals in advance is easy to do and it gets even easier once you’ve found your own rhythm. With that said, there are a couple tips that can help you.
When you’re making lunches for the week, you need to use ingredients that last a long time.
Greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are long-lasting fresh vegetables that make meal prep a breeze. They’re grown closer to home in a controlled environment so they can be picked at the perfect time to arrive at your local supermarket with fewer food miles and at peak freshness. Thanks to state-of-the-art greenhouse growing technology, these veggies are available all year-round, too!
In particular, greenhouse snacking veggies like Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers and Juno® Bites Red Grape Tomatoes make great ingredients to add to your weekday lunch routine. These bite-sized veggies come in convenient packs that help keep them fresher for longer and they only need to be rinsed and placed in your bento box!
There are endless options for healthy and delicious meals that you can prepare up to a week in advance. If you’re looking to get some inspiration, Pure Flavor® has a few recipes to help you get started thinking about some easy lunch recipes:
- Cucumber Turkey Wraps
- Mini Caprese Bites
- Vegan Vegetable Primavera
- Vegetarian Rice Wraps
- Healthy Lunch Bento Boxes
When it comes to the food we prepare and eat at home, we often take it for granted. We rush through cooking and then we rush some more when we eat! Taking the time to eat and prepare food more mindfully can help us to better appreciate what we put in our bodies. Plus, it has all sorts of different benefits for our health and well-being!
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