You’ve probably seen it on every health and fitness page on Instagram, bowls of colorful food sectioned out perfectly for every day of the week. It’s called meal prep. Making one or more of your meals ahead of time and storing them in Tupperware sounds beneficial, but it comes with its downfalls. Meal prep is convenient, healthier and cheaper, but it can be time-consuming and repetitive.
It’s Convenient. Cooking all of your food for the week takes the stress out of coming home from a long day and not knowing what you are going to eat. Being able to open the fridge and know that lunch and dinner is already made is one of the best feelings in the world. You don’t have to come back from work and start boiling the pasta or baking the chicken. Its all done and all you have to do is pop the Tupperware in the microwave.
It’s healthier. Knowing that there is a meal waiting for you at home will deter you from entering the drive-thru. Since you’re making your own meals, you know exactly what is going into your body. You’ll be able to eat portions that work for your body and eat the food you enjoy. You will be more inclined to eat a variety of grains, meats, fruits, and vegetables, all which are more nutritious than ready-made food.
It’s Cheaper. Buying all your food at once is cheaper than sporadic Walmart trips and take-out. It’ll seem more expensive when you buy a month’s worth of food at the grocery store, but it will quickly pay off when you stop spending money at the Chipotle next to work during your lunch break. Eating meals will also deter you from unnecessary snacking.
It’s Time Consuming. Prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner for seven days takes a long time to make. Not only do you have to decide what you’re making, you have to portion out a large chunk of your day–probably Sunday–to cook all of those meals. And after cooking, there’s the cleaning up of the mess. Adding it all up, meal prepping takes about three hours out of your day. It can be daunting to wake up knowing that part of your day will be spent in the kitchen. To make the time pass, play some music or have the big game on in the background, or invite a friend and meal prep together.
It’s Repetitive. Eating the same food for seven days straight can get old, really quickly. Knowing that what you ate for lunch yesterday is the same thing you’re eating for lunch today is downright depressing. It’s really easy to get sick of eating the same food without any variety, and can make you eat out even more. Try switching up your meals: what you prepped for breakfast, eat for dinner. It will give you the ability to switch things up.
Now that you know some pros and cons of meal prep, are you planning on trying it for the new year, or are you leaving it in 2017?