Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?
Data from the U.S. Census from over 112,000 U.S. adults found that when folks take an additional 10-minutes to prepare meals, they are more likely to exercise for 10 fewer minutes. This was found in both men and women, single and married people and those with and without kids. On average, participants spent an average of less than an hour on both exercise and meal prep on the same day. The big takeaway from this study is that one healthy behavior can take time away from another. It also highlights the importance of planning out your meals and exercise time.
It's tough to give up your workout time, especially when Americans designate so little to exercise. However, there are many time saving corners you can cut once you get into the kitchen. Plan out your weeknight meals on the weekend and have all your ingredients ready to go.
- Stock up on pantry-must haves, like quinoa and dried spices.
- Make a double batch of your favorite recipes and freeze them for later.
- Pre-portion snacks like trail mixes or cheese and crackers at the beginning of the week so you have healthy snacks lined up.
- Have only 5 or 10 minutes for breakfast? Whip up these healthy options.
- Zap these quick and easy dishes in your microwave.
- Chop and measure ingredients needed for dinner the night before or right before you go to work.
- Create these deliciously healthy dinners in 40-minutes or less.
There are also ways to exercise if you're pressed for time or want to use those 10 extra minutes you have to prep a healthy meal:
- Take a walk in the park or around the block during part of your lunch break.
- Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Stand or walk around your office when taking that long conference call.
- Lift light weights while watching TV.
- Catch up with a friend over a nice walk or bike ride, instead of meeting for coffee.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »