It’s a new year and once again, you’ve resolved to eat right and lose weight. You may be wondering where to begin your New Year’s plan for achieving your best possible health and wellness goals.

I’ve got two words for you: meal prep! I stumbled across meal prepping in May 2019, after joining a vegan lifestyle group on Facebook. A fellow member posted a picture of themselves demonstrating their 60-pound weight loss journey. I was flabbergasted. They attributed their weight loss and no longer needing to use chronic medication all to healthy meal prepping. I needed results like this so I learned everything I could about meal prepping for myself.

After about a month of consistent meal prep, I began to drop pounds and inches from my waistline. Later in the year, I went to the doctor for an annual check-up and in comparison to years prior my results were excellent. I sat back and basked in delight as my doctor indicated I had optimal cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, and I contributed this to my implementation of meal prepping diet and exercise.

By now, you might be asking: What is meal prep? meal prepping is the highest form of meal planning you can do. Food is prepared and portioned out into single-serving meals and stored until you’re ready to chow down.

To help me explain the benefits of meal prep, I interviewed Sumer Charity, founder of She Cooks ATL, who at the time of this interview was prepping meals for 40 participants of the Atlanta Detox Project. It’s Atlanta’s largest, most trusted weight loss and Lifestyle seven-day detox challenge in conjunction with Spreading the Health and E.F.F.E.C.T Fitness in Southwest Atlanta on Metropolitan Parkway. The self-taught personal chef, whose 50 percent of her business involves meal prep, confessed she meal preps for her and her family every week. Not only are her clients saving time, but when asked if meal prepping is cost-effective, she stated, “Yes, it is! Think of the single women and men who live in our city and buy groceries that get thrown away. The meals are reasonably priced at any income level if it is a priority.”

If you check out her Instagram @SheCooksATL, you’ll find her meal prep plans are set at 5 meals for $60 or 10 meals for $110.

Though I had my own experience with meal prep, I had to determine if meal prepping was necessarily healthier.

“Definitely. Food already prepared, food prepped and ready at home, there’s no need to stop for fast food. Meal prep keeps you accountable.”

She Cooks ATL offers a variety of diets to choose from, like Keto, Vegan, and Vegetarian, and will work with you and your trainer to help you reach your goals. Sumer sees meal prep as a way to reset her clients in the short term and get them jump-started and on the right track with their health.

Her favorite meal prep entrees are Quinoa Fried Rice, Vegan Crab Cakes, and Raw Vegan Agave Mustard Dressing, which sell her salads.

I also reached out to Simone Floyd, store manager of Spreading the Health on Metropolitan Parkway. She believes in the benefits of the meal prep portion contributing to her success in the detox challenge because she wasn’t familiar with a raw vegan diet. “Having my meals readily available takes away from having to search for food once I’m hungry.” Floyd still budgets the prep into her lifestyle. “$150 for 10 meals works out to be more affordable than what you would spend on a day to day basis on food at restaurants, taxes, and gas to go to the restaurant; add all that in and it makes sense.”

You can find out more about personal chef Sumer Charity at her social media handles @SheCooksATL and her website: SheCooksATL.com

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