How often have you picked up a quick meal at a fast food restaurant, ordered take-out, or snacked on something sweet from the break room?  These scenarios could all be avoided by one simple step - pre-planning.  Whether you are trying to reach a healthy weight or improve your diet, it is no secret that meal-prepping can play a big part in helping you reach your goals.

Food-prepping has numerous benefits, including eating healthier, saving time, preventing waste, and saving money. It only takes an hour or two each week to reap the rewards.

  • thanaphiphat/ThinkStock

    Saves Time

    If you work all day and hate coming home and cooking, take a few hours one day to make several meals for that week. Simply cook them and then freeze them so when you get home all you have to do is defrost your meals.

  • Tomislav Forgo/ThinkStock
    Tomislav Forgo/ThinkStock

    Saves Money

    Meal planning helps you stay on a budget and ultimately save money. Take a little time at the beginning of each week to carefully plan what you and your family will eat that week. Meal planning lets you decide before going to the grocery store what healthy meals your family will eat during a given week.  Instead of throwing items into your cart on a whim, you only purchase the nutritious foods you plan to eat that week.

  • Liv Friis-Larsen/ThinkStock
    Liv Friis-Larsen/ThinkStock

    Prevents Waste

    None of us wants to throw out perfectly good food, simply because it goes bad. When we prepare our food in advance, we know how much we will need.  If we have leftovers,  we can find a way to make it work into another meal or even a lunch.

  • Cheryl Casey/ThinkStock
    Cheryl Casey/ThinkStock

    Reduces Stress

    "What should I make for dinner?" is a question you will never have to answer again if you take the time to plan in advance. By knowing what you are going to make each week, you take the guesswork out of dinner and reduce stress in your life.

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