(Updated August 20, 2021. The challenge is done, but prepping your meals ahead of your hunger is still a great habit! Sign up for my weekly(ish) newsletter to be invited to our next meal planning / heart-healthy eating challenge.)
Do you sit down to dinner frazzled and sweating, or fresh and relaxed?
I must admit, I’m usually closer to the latter than the former! I do a meal plan every week, but I struggle to carve out time early in the day (or week) to prep our evening meals. I’m focused on work and kids and the to-do list and suddenly it’s 6pm. Ack!
On the contrary, I have an aunt who prepares dinner in the morning, at least when we visit. She may have to put something in the oven or toss a salad, but otherwise she chats with us over a drink, unruffled and cheerful.
I’ve been dabbling with her approach more lately with the heat, because it’s especially unpleasant to be rushing around a hot kitchen. What a difference it makes!
I asked newsletter readers if they’d like to do a challenge to help each other build up this habit, and a stunning 90% said yes! About half of those opted for the “ASAP” option, with the other half choosing “Yes, in the fall.”
So I offered it in July and we’ll do it again later in September with more hearty warm-you-up foods. Goodness knows it takes a few tries to make a new habit!
Why do this?
Benefits of preparing early that you may not have thought of:
- If you’re working from home, prepping food can give you a couple of short breaks from sitting. So important for cardiovascular health!
- You’re less likely to overeat at dinner if you sit down relaxed.
- If you’re eating with family or friends, you’ll probably enjoy their company more and have a better conversation.
- And obviously… less stress! Less stress is heart-healthy, right?
- Plus, of course… you’re more likely to eat a heart-healthy meal, less likely to order takeout. You’ve got this!
So here’s the deal:
We did the challenge in July and September 2021. Sorry you missed it! Sign up for my weekly(ish) newsletter to be invited to our next meal planning / heart-healthy eating challenge.
The challenge is (was)…
…to prepare some (or all) of your meals at least a couple of hours before you eat – on the weekend, in the morning, or right after lunch. Your call.
What I ask is (was)…
…that you share your progress! Either post in our Sweet Spot Heart-Healthy Cooking Club, or if you’re not on Facebook, feel free to share on Twitter or Instagram (#prepitearly) or just email me!
Either way, I’ll cheer you on and keep you accountable!
We’re not going to take an “all or nothing” approach to this. If you even manage one step in meal preparation ahead of time, we’ll call it a win!
For those who figure out what they’re going to eat at the last minute, even deciding on a meal in the morning can be a win. Thawing something in the morning is better than scrambling at 7pm.
You decide what success looks like for you.
And bonus: If you want to share a photo or a recipe, awesome. But if you don’t, that’s okay too! Don’t let that stop you from participating and sharing your small victories. “I cooked the rice in the morning” totally counts.