Every Sunday, I spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen, meal prepping. I make an absolute mess. I use every pot and pan I own and always swear I will never buy another sweet potato and/or spaghetti squash again, only to buy them the next week.
In all honesty, I don’t enjoy meal prep. It is an absolute chore. I love to cook. I really love to bake. But I can always think of better things to do with my Sunday evenings other than slaving away in my tiny kitchen. Yet when it’s all said and done, I’m so glad I do it.
In my opinion, meal prepping is an absolutely essential component of being successful when following an eating program, whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, or build muscle. I’ll do a more detailed post on my meal prepping routine soon, but to start us off, here are three reasons to meal prep.
My days are long. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I wake up around 5:15AM, train at 6AM, head to the office from 8:30-5, and then, depending on the day, I have barre classes to teach, clients to work with, Junior League meetings to attend, and friends and family to spend time with. I’m rarely home before seven. I know from previous experience that those late evenings lead me to meals of popcorn and cheese and crackers.
When I come home and my meal is already waiting, I don’t have to put in another 30+ minutes to cook something. I simply assemble, heat, and enjoy. Those 30 or so minutes meal prep saves me most nights are invaluable.
Sometimes, it’s just easier to buy food. How many of us have hit up Chipotle on the way home for no other reason than the fact that we don’t want to cook? (Raises both guac-covered hands). I bet I’m not alone in opting not to pack lunch because “I’ll just buy something.” My lunch and dinner bills have been cut drastically by having my meals already prepped. All I have to do is grab and go.
Know What You Eat.
The biggest reason I meal prep is because it allows me to know what I’m eating, and it’s nutritional content. When we’re buying lunch and picking up Chipotle, we’re relying on someone else to make our food. When I cook at home, I know where my food came from, and what goes into it.
Additionally, meal prep lets me be in control of portion size. Sure, it’s tedious to measure out servings and, if you track in MyFitnessPal like me, load the recipe into the database, but it’s worth saved calories and added nutrition.
There are so many ways to meal prep. I cook a breakfast, lunch, and dinner each week, and eat those meals Monday through Friday (dinner on Friday is usually something different though!). I don’t mind eating the same thing each day. I know of people who designate one weekend a month to make their meals for an entire month, and other people who make a certain number of dinners, then use the dinner leftovers for lunch the next day. There’s no wrong way.
As I mentioned, I’ll do a post soon on how I meal prep, including how I plan for the grocery store(s). But for now, I wanted to get the basis of why down.
Do you meal prep? Why or why not?