Meal prep. It can feel overwhelming, difficult, complicated and downright impossible. I felt the same when I first started doing meal prep too!
Seeing all those perfect photos of meal prep on Pinterest – all perfectly planned, prepped, cooked and portioned into matching containers.
I remember thinking to myself, “How on earth do these people find the time to cook ALL THAT FOOD?!”
But first, let’s talk about the basic pros and cons of meal prep which will help you decide whether it’s for you. Because you know that’s the key to a healthy lifestyle right? You’ve got to find something that works for YOU.
I’ll be as diplomatic as possible about what I think the pros and cons of meal prep are. I’m biased towards doing meal prep as it does work well for me, but I have relaxed on my meal prepping since going more plant based (but it’s something I want to get back into).
I totally understand that it’s not going to be right for everyone and their different lifestyles, so I’ve tried to remain neutral here and give both sides their due!
10 Reasons to Love Meal Prep
- You get the all or the majority of the week’s cooking done and dusted in a few hours on one day. It’s so much more efficient and you get more time over the other 6 days of the week!
- You know that you have healthy, fast options to grab when you’re busy.
- It can really help with emotional eating. No need to constantly think “What should I eat?” or reach for that 3pm candy bar because you already had a nourishing lunch and snacks ready to go.
- It’s more cost effective as cooked food lasts longer in your fridge, so less wastage at the end of the week.
- Generally, you only need to do 1-2 grocery shops a week. You can even order your groceries online each week and get them delivered right to your door – this used to be a lifesaver for me!
- You will find it easier to stick to your nutrition goals or meal plan when it’s all prepared ahead. It’s much easier to stay on track with portion control too.
- You can cook extra portions and freeze them for the following week or what I like to call “Emergency Meals”.
- No more gazing blankly into the fridge wondering what to have for dinner, giving up and ordering an unhealthy takeaway option!
- You save so much money every week from not spending $10-$20 on lunches at work – that adds up fast.
- And last but not least, you’ll really, really enjoy and savour going out for breakfast, lunch or dinner once or twice a week as a treat.
10 Reasons to Hate Meal Prep
- You have to spend a few hours of your precious weekend time slaving away in the kitchen.
- It *can* get boring as your meal prep is generally going to have the same meals or similar meals over a week.
- If you want to eat something other than your prepped meal or don’t have time to eat for some reason, you can end up with food wastage.
- Your kitchen will be slowly taken over by plastic containers until you end up finding them in random places throughout the house, your car, at work etc… Plus the lids always seem to vanish, probably to the same unknown dimension where all my socks and bobby pins vanish to.
- You can lose your creative cooking vibe in the kitchen because you can get too focused on being an efficient Kitchen Ninja (or a tornado of mess, however you look at it).
- If you are not a fan of cooking, then spending hours in the kitchen at once will feel like torture.
- Buying all or the majority of your groceries for the week can be hard to judge the right quantities sometimes. Especially if you order online and accidentally buy 5kg of carrots instead of 5 carrots. Not that I’ve ever done that.
- Lots of meal just don’t taste as good re-heated, so you’ll find yourself sticking to lots of meals that freeze well.
- You miss out on work lunches during the week because “Sorry, I already have my lunch from home…”
- You have to be organised, know what you’re prepping, plan the meals and recipes and make sure you get all the right foods and quantities. Like I’ve actually gotten headaches trying to work out the quantities of ingredients by the number of meals (I’m pretty poor at maths though).
So there you have it! 10 reasons to love or hate meal prep.
Whether you love or it hate it, remember there is no strict rule around how you meal prep (or don’t!) – modify to do what works for you! You may find just prepping dinners or lunches is great, or you only like to prep a few days ahead.
Either way, I hope you at least give meal prepping a try!