Meal Prep: An Overview

meal prep - yellow yams, ground turkey in tomato sauce and broccoliMBMK Definition: Meal prep is the weekly preparation of meals for a period of time usually longer than 2 days.  An example would be the planning, cooking and packaging of lunch and dinner for 4 days.  In recent years, with the help of social media and the online fitness community, the meal prep approach to nutrition has gained great popularity among those seeking to maintain a consistent diet that meets their dietary and fitness goals.

Some of the advantages of meal prep include the following:

  1. Saves Time: Preparing 5-days’ worth of meals in advance, although it may take a few hours, saves you time during the week. Meal prep eliminates the time spent on cooking daily and the time wasted on waiting for service at a restaurant.
  2. Saves Money: One of the more compelling reasons to do meal prep is its economic benefit: you save money! On average, eating out is more expensive than cooking at home. Many of the meals shown in our Meal Prep Gallery cost us no more than $6 per meal; that’s no more than $60 for 10 meals!  Take a moment to calculate how much you would typically spend on lunch and dinner each week if you ate out daily.  Although there are situations where one may have no choice but to eat out regularly, we encourage everyone to at least try cooking at home instead.
  3. Helps You Stay on Track: If you prepare your meals and healthy snacks in advance, you are less likely to go out and mindlessly grab snacks that may compromise your dietary and fitness goals.

We at MBMK are advocates of meal prep, however, we acknowledge that there are drawbacks to meal prep.  Despite its advantages, there are some shortcomings of meal prep that you should consider:

  1. Adding Variety: Depending on your meal prep planning, it is possible that you may eat the same thing every day for an entire week when you meal prep.  On our Frequently Asked Questions page we provide a few tips on how to create variety.
  2. Time Commitment: As we mentioned above, meal prep can save you time during the week, however, you may need to invest a large block of time in advance for cooking and clean up. The good news is that as you become more experienced with meal prep, the time you spend in the kitchen will reduce. A meal prep session where you prepare meals for 5 days may take 60 – 180 minutes.  An alternative to long meal prep sessions is to complete your meal prep over more than one day or another solution is to prepare meals for 2-3 days instead of preparing 5-days’ worth of meals in one session.

REFERENCE

Menu planning: Eat healthier and spend less, 2014, September. Retrieved 1/20/201 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/menu-planning/art-20048199?pg=2

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