We’ve all seen the perfect Instagram photos of someone’s weekly supply of quinoa, roasted chicken breast, and a whole lot of smugness. We hate these posts, both because they are the social media humblebrag du jour, but also because they imply that the poster is somehow more together, more healthy, and more time-management savvy than we are. Why? Because meal prep takes effing forever! Even so, here’s why we do it:
Meal prep saves time in the long run.
Sure, meal prep is a significant investment up front. You have to plan your recipes, determine your needs, shop in bulk, and then cook large batches of your foods. After that, you get to portion and store all of these prepped meals. Whew, it’s exhausting just to write about!
But the truth is, once you have done the big push of shopping and cooking, you have saved yourself a ton of time in the future. You breakfast, lunch and dinner should be mostly accounted for, leaving plenty of time to sleep in, take that extra call, or generally feel less pressed for time. Set aside time one or two days a week for meal prep, and you will be set all week!
It’s healthier to meal prep than to eat out.
Never eat fast food, because you always have food available when you meal prep! Meal prep is often a tactic used by “health nuts” or fitness instructors, so it’s no surprise that a focus on health is a key component of the meals that are typically chosen for meal prep. It’s true, though – prepping your own food will be healthier than eating almost anywhere else, because you know exactly what you are putting into your portions.
Plus, you’re probably not deep-frying food to store for a week, so you’re definitely doing better than you would with the Golden Arches.
There is something to be said about a ritual.
Not a ritual sacrifice or anything – just a simple, calming ritual. While the first few times that you meal prep might seem tedious, you will probably find that you come to look forward to it! Gathering all of your fresh fruits, veggies, and meat each week at the market can be a fun ritual for yourself or to enjoy with a partner or friend. Prepping and cooking your food can be a good time to center yourself, preparing for the week ahead. You’ll know that you have nutritious food to sustain you throughout the week, whatever challenges lay ahead!
And lastly, the final act of dividing your meals into portions and boxing them up is a satisfying reward. Now your fridge is organized, and you’re ready to take on tomorrow. Bring it on!