Meal prepping is the backbone to every healthy lifestyle: It helps you plan and portion your meals so you can stay on track of your fitness goals. However, the idea of eating the same thing every single day can be as stale as the food you prepared last week. Plus, who has the time, or the money, to buy and prepare various meals when you have so many other obligations? It's simply too much.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Americans have increasingly become less reliant on home-cooked meals. And this is not a new phenomenon, either. Since 1965, Americans from all socioeconomic groups have dedicated less time to food preparation—a trend that continued into the 1990s.
In fact, according to one study published in Nutrition Journal, people are simply not spending as much time in the kitchen as they once did. The proportion of women who cooked declined from 92 percent between 1965 and 1966, to 68 percent between 2007 and 2008. (Women in the 1960s spent three times the amount of time making meals than men.) During that same period, women who did cook spent 47 less minutes than they did in the mid-'60s. Men spent significantly less time in the kitchen compared to women, and despite a slight uptick in the number of men cooking over the four decades researchers examined, it did little to address the overall decrease. Of course, this coincided with a rapid rise in women entering the labor force, which in the 1960s, grew three times faster than the male labor force, according to Pew Research Center.
With the changing economic landscape and both men and women turning to exercise after work, among other factors, there's very few hours left in the day to spend hovering over a stove waiting for water to boil, especially if you're a parent.
Americans searching for an alternative to their meal-prep malaise have embraced meal-prep services, which do most of the work for them. Purchasing pre-made, healthy, and proportioned meals from Square Meal Kitchen enables hard-working adults to navigate their day without the stress of contemplating their dinner, and eliminates precious time wasted preparing meals on Sunday for the upcoming week—time better spent at the gym, family bonding, or relaxing.
The process is simple. Companies such as Square Meal Kitchen enable you to choose a meal you want, and then pick it up from a location of your choice. It's healthy, convenient, delicious, and way better than meal-prepping at home or ordering from the drive-thru of the nearest fast-food joint.
Saves You Time
Between work and family, going to the gym is hard enough. And then add meal-prep to your week. There aren't enough hours in the day!
Buying pre-cooked, healthy meals eliminates the hours spent grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning associated with meal prep. You simply pick up your meals at a designated location, heat them up, and enjoy—on the go, or at home. Plus, family size portions are great for everyone!
Add Variety Into Your Meal Prep
Perhaps the worst aspect of meal-prep is the day-to-day creativity you relinquish by forcing yourself to eat the same exact spread every single day. We all know that Friday feeling: You'd almost rather skip a meal than eat chicken and rice for a fifth consecutive day. But on the other hand, purchasing meals daily can get expensive, and cooking a few different meals, not to mention the post-prep cleanup, can be time-consuming. If you're seeking more variety and are mindful of your budget, then a meal-prep service may be the way to go. At Square Meal Kitchen, for example, you decide from an assortment of delicious meals, ranging from chicken and beef to fish and vegetarian options.
Sometimes, the problem isn't what we eat, it's how much. Portion control means you have to be disciplined; and even then, it's incredibly enticing to cheat every once in a while. What's more, the seemingly inflated portions at restaurants could also impact the way in which we consider how much food is too much.
"It is no secret that portion sizes, as well as waistlines, in this country are expanding," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report titled, "Do Increased Portion Sizes Affect How Much We Eat?" "The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 urge Americans to pay special attention to portion sizes, which have increased significantly over the past two decades. Restaurant meals of all kinds have gotten larger, with an emphasis on getting more food for the money. However, the rise of portion sizes is not limited to restaurants alone. Bags of snack foods or soft drinks in vending machines and the grocery store are offered in larger and larger sizes that contain multiple servings, while a 1-ounce bag of snack food or an 8-ounce soft drink, which are the recommended single serving sizes, are very difficult to find."
Choosing healthy, pre-cooked meals can eliminate overeating and the urge to grab that extra slice of cheese (Yum!). Not only that, designated portions will become a routine part of your diet. Plus, you'll know exactly how many macronutrients (aka "macros") are in each meal, making it easier to maintain fitness goals.
Options for Your Diet
On top of having the autonomy to select variations of dishes, pre-cooked meal services are also cognizant of important dietary restrictions. When selecting a meal, you might discover a "Low Carb Option"—for example, the ability to substitute white rice for cauliflower rice or whole wheat pasta for zucchini linguine. Whether you're interested in low-carb options or vegetarian meals, it's important to find a meal-prep service that offers alternatives without sacrificing quality, and recognizes your craving for great-tasting food.