Meal prep is a movement. And once you try it, you'll understand why. Not having to worry about what you're going to eat, how long it's going to take you to make it, and what the nutritional content is on a daily basis seriously makes your life easier—particularly if you're chasing fitness goals.
That's why it's not a huge surprise that meal kit delivery services are starting to catch on to the wonders of planning ahead. HelloFresh just announced a new menu option called Dinner 2 Lunch, which launches on May 21. If you choose to add on this option, you'll essentially cook once and eat twice by repurposing whatever you made for dinner via the HelloFresh box into lunch for the next day.
What's so cool about the idea, though, is that it goes beyond just packing up leftovers and calling it a day. Instead, you'll actually get a few extra ingredients that help bring new life to tomorrow's lunch from part of dinner the night before. For example, chorizo beef chili that becomes a fully loaded chili burrito for lunch, or sausage and zucchini pizza that transforms into an easy gemelli pasta salad you can enjoy the next day. The best part? It only takes five extra minutes to prepare the lunch, and it only costs an extra five bucks per serving. Chances are, that's cheaper than a salad at your go-to lunch spot—and probably more satisfying, too. (BTW, these seven meal-prep gadgets make batch cooking way easier.)
As of now, the Dinner 2 Lunch option is going to be offered just once a week, but we wouldn't be surprised if that increases with demand.
To be totally real, these meal-prep options probably aren't quite as healthy as what you might come up with if you were trying to make macro-friendly lunches to bring to work (more on how to pick the perfect meal-prep recipe here). But the bottom line is that something you make at home is almost always going to be a healthier (and cheaper) option than going for takeout.
Never tried meal-prepping before? Here's why you should give it a go.
It makes healthy eating less stressful. "The best part about meal prep is taking all the stress and headache out of what to eat later for dinner or what's for lunch tomorrow," said Alyssa Gagarin, the mastermind behind our 30-day meal-prep challenge for beginners. "By cooking in advance, you are going to save yourself so much time!"
It helps you mix things up. Especially when it comes to #saddesklunch. "Despite our best attempts, it's too often that lunch means the same thing every day or worse, we choose to eat poorly to quickly satisfy our hunger," said Claudia Sidoti, head chef and recipe developer at HelloFresh, in a press release. "A few simple twists can easily bring new life to leftovers, adding some variety and freshness back into lunchtime."
It helps you control portion sizes and food choices. Let's be honest. When you have to make a quick decision about what to eat for lunch, you're probably much more likely to grab a grilled cheese and a heaping serving of french fries than you are a piece of grilled chicken with veggies. That's obviously fine sometimes, but probably not advisable every day, right? "When you prep your food with the intention of maximum health benefits, you're going to be eating a solid meal every time," said Mike Israetel, Ph.D., U.S. Olympic Sports nutrition consultant and cofounder of diet and training company Renaissance Periodization in "How to Meal Prep Like an Olympian." "If you wing it, you add more decision fatigue, more stress, and cost yourself more time and money."
Ready to give it a try? Here are some helpful meal-prep tips on what to do now and what to do later when you first get started.