We all know we should eat healthier. Eating healthy nourishes our bodies with the nutrients that it needs to generate new cells, clear toxins and function. Furthermore, eating right will decrease your risk of getting diseases such as diabetes and cancer and gives you more energy and alertness throughout the day.
However, just knowing this is not useful if we do not execute. But taking action is not easy as there are many challenges that prevent us from picking the healthier choice for our meals.
Arguably, the biggest obstacle to choosing healthier foods is busyness. When life gets in the way, picking the unhealthy option like fast food becomes too easy.
This is why preparing your meals mindfully and ahead of time is so beneficial.
What is Mindful Food Preparation?
Fear not, mindful meal preparation is more than your typical meal prep plan. You won’t need to eat from the same container and eat an identical meal every day.
Instead, mindful meal preparation is all about choosing to prepare the week’s meals on the weekends with a focus on mindfulness and a lot more flexibility.
Do note that mindful meal preparation does require a bit of initial commitment. You will need to carve out two to three hours every week to prepare these meals. However, it is still one of the easiest ways you can responsibly nourish your body with healthy food. Think of all the time you spend queuing for less than nutritious food outside and the two to three hours will seem like a great use of your time.
Benefits of Mindful Meal Preparation
To put it simply, Mindful Meal Prepping is to mindfully prepare some, or almost all of your meals ahead of time. It’s like eating those prepacked meals you can find at the convenience store, except for the fact that you will be making it yourself with finer, healthier ingredients that are unprocessed.
On top of the time you will save, mindful food preparation will make sure that you are eating healthier foods regularly with the right sized portions. This will help you develop the discipline to avoid reaching for quick snacks or unhealthy prepackaged snacks or meals that will cause you to consume more than your caloric needs.
The underlying idea behind it is that when you have healthy ready to eat options that are pre-prepared, you will make the mindful choice to eat them instead of potentially eating unhealthy foods.
This will be great for your wellbeing and general health.
Here’s a simple step by step guide to get you started.
Step 1. Choose a Day
To get started, pick a day to prepare all the meals. We would recommend that you start on Sunday or Saturday, as you usually do not have to worry about work. Most of your family will be home and you can even do it together as a fun bonding activity,
At the start, we would advise that you do not go overboard and prepare meals for the entire week. A good starting point will be to prepare 3 meals a week.
Something we found helpful was using a calendar to help visually map out the meals. This can be on your phone or a physical calendar or whatever works best for you.
2. Choose Meals & Recipes
The next step would be to choose what meal you would like to prepare first.
Breakfast and Lunch would be a great place to start if you are just cooking for one or two people. Dinner will be better if you are preparing meals for the whole family as everyone gets to enjoy.
In the end, the choice is yours. You would want to put some thought into it before you start.
The next step would be to decide what recipes to use.
With mindful meal preparation, you can choose not to use the same recipe for all three meals, even though you can. However, if you want to cook dinner meals for your whole family, you might be facing some resistance as your family might be bored from the lack of variety.
We really liked the recipes found on Asian Meal Prep as it is catered more towards Asians. The creator of Asian Meal Prep is also a Sports and Exercise Nutrition Coach, who from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and Precision Nutrition in Toronto, Canada.
She believes that “Asian food is awesome. It’s cheap and with certain tweaks to the recipes, you can make it healthy. And let’s face it, we’re Asians and busy, so let’s save our time and prep our meals for the next few days.”
Check out this playlist for some inspiration.
3. Mindful Cooking
Thirdly, we would recommend that you learn how to cook mindfully, as it enhances the whole mindful food preparation process. According to renowned dietician and mindfulness coach Lulu Cook, mindfulness does not have to be constrained to yoga and meditation as “Preparing a meal with awareness is a really different, satisfying experience.” When you cook mindfully, you will savor the process more and get more out of your meal. Here’s how to get started, courtesy of the folks over at goodfood.au
- Be mindful of each step in the cooking process – Be aware of the choices you are making.
- Set your intentions – Is it a chore or an opportunity for creativity?
- Appreciate the food – Be aware of the wonderful we have access to
- Focus on just one thing – Cut out other distractions like music to be more present when you are cooking
- Tune in to yourself – Consider each of your five senses, feel, hear, see, smell and taste the food to experience it.
There you have it! All you need to know to get started with mindful food preparation.
Furthermore, practicing mindful food preparation helps with a person’s wellbeing as you are in more control of what you eat. This attitude towards meals then fosters better self-acceptance. At the end of the day, practicing mindfulness is all about going on a journey to improve your well being. Here are some articles you can read to get you started on your mindfulness journey.
- Mindful Eating Guide
- A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness
- How to Love Yourself With Mindful Self-Care Practices
- Mindful Productivity 101: How to be Massively Productive at Work
Speaking of being mindful, how mindful are you about how much markups there on products? At IUIGA, we cut out the middlemen markups on our thoughtfully designed products to sell them directly to you online and offline. For each of our products, we breakdown how much the product truly costs giving you more aware of where your money is going. To get you started, here’s a gift for you. Use code NEW15 at checkout (Terms & Conditions Apply). Sign up here to enjoy this offer!