Scaling Back: Robins dietician says meal prep important weight loss ingredient Published Jan. 25, 2017 By Robins Health Promotions Office Robins Public Affairs ROBINS AFB, Ga. -- If you’re among the 38 percent of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, your second resolution should be to learn how to meal prep. Eating out often or settling for less than satisfying healthy food are two ways people set themselves up for a weight loss fail. “The phrase, ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail,’ is especially prevalent if you’re trying to lose weight,” said Marita Radloff, Robins Health Promotions’ registered dietitian nutrition. “Make it easy on yourself to make good choices, and you won’t be tempted by unhealthy foods.” Save Money, Calories “If you tend to wing it each night, or make daily trips to the grocery store scrambling to come up with dinner, you could be saving money by planning out your meals for the week and going grocery shopping just once a week,” Radloff said. “You might find yourself driving to and from the grocery multiple times and buying ingredients that can’t be used for another meal and throwing them out at the end of the week after they’ve gone bad.” Investing a few minutes in making a weekly meal plan can save time and relieve the stress of last-minute meal decisions, Radloff said. Make Healthier Choices and Indulge Less “When you eat out or make something on a whim, you tend to follow your stomach versus your weight loss or health goals,” Radloff said. “This could lead to unhealthy choices. “ Radloff said people are more likely to stick to a list, avoiding unhealthy impulse purchases. Save Time “When you meal prep on the weekend, you won’t be rushing home trying to make dinner,” Radloff said. “Instead, you can enjoy your evenings and fill them with exercise, relaxation, or catching up with your family after the workday. Plus, you’ll have less dishes to do post-dinner, which is a huge win for everyone.” Learn Portion Control One of the keys to weight loss is to learn portion control. “When you prepare your meals in advance and portion them out for the week, you begin to translate that portion control into other places of your life where you can’t meal prep, such as eating out,” Radloff said. “Meal prep is ideal for learning what a true serving size of food is so that you can reach your healthy weight loss goals.” Learn to Love (and Enjoy!) Healthy Foods “When you cook and prepare food for yourself and your family, it’s made with love, but might not always be the best choice for your health,” Radloff said. Learning to meal prep favorite foods can show you how to make them healthier, help you lose weight, and you will begin to crave healthier foods. Healthy foods don’t have to be boring. “Meal prep is all about adding variety to your day without adding unnecessary calories,” Radloff said. “When you are in control of what you put in your body, you are getting more nutrition because you’re eating primarily unprocessed, unrefined, whole foods.” Meal prepping can mean different things to each person, so it’s important to find a routine that works for you, Radloff said. Join Health Promotions’ new Meal Prep on a Budget class Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. to noon. This monthly class requires pre-registration. Call Health Promotions at 478-327-8480 for more information. Editor’s note: For more information, call 478-327-8480.