Meal prep has been a popular topic in the blogospher for a while now, and with good reason… it's a great way to get in the habit of eating healthy meals and controlling portion size. But it just doesn't work for me – and here are five reasons why.
1. It restricts my creativity.
I enjoy the process of trying new recipes and experimenting with ingredients that I've never used before, and I find that meal prep eliminates much of this creativity. I also like to leave a bit of leeway when I go grocery shopping – if I was planning to make turkey burgers but they have some delicious-looking sea scallops, you better believe I'm getting those instead. And sea scallops certainly don't lend themselves to meal prep, which leads me to my next point….
2. Lack of freshness becomes an issue.
Most of the things I like to eat don't keep very well. Fish is one great example. I'm all for leftovers, but only within reason… there's no way I'm eating leftover salmon. It's just not the same. But I also find that combining certain ingredients into one reusable storage container doesn't always provide good results either. Lettuce wilts when you put sliced tomatoes on it, and my gluten free pasta gets harder the longer it sits in the fridge. A cut up cucumber may only last half as long as one that's stored whole and then chopped when you need it.
3. My taste buds get bored.
I need variety! I can't eat chicken five days in a row, no matter how much I vary the seasoning. And if I force myself to eat chicken five days in a row, then I start eating more exciting snacks (i.e. less healthy). So it really doesn't help me to eat healthier overall, which is one of the main reasons behind meal prep to begin with.
4. I reserve Sunday nights for relaxation.
For me, prepping for an entire week is completely overwhelming. It kills at least three or four hours when you take into account planning, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning up… and it makes the most sense to do it on Sunday night right before the workweek starts. But I've always reserved Sunday nights as a time to stop doing chores and just relax before the rat race starts all over again on Monday morning. It's one self-care routine that I try hard to stick to. So the thought of prepping a week's worth of meals is not appealing.
5. It takes the fun out of it.
I find cooking and eating to be a pleasant experience, but prepping everything all at once takes the fun out of food! It makes it feel like a boring chore rather than an enjoyable ritual.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't meal prep – it can be a great tool for those who struggle to lead a healthy lifestyle. And don't get me wrong, I do plan ahead and I do eat leftovers… I usually go to the grocery once a week with a list of ingredients for 3-4 meals as well as some general items that could be incorporated into any number of different recipes (brown rice, spinach, ground turkey, etc.). This allows for some room for improvisation, without having to make a week's worth of food all at once.
So how do you feel about meal prep? Yay or nay? Sound off in the comments section!