If you have any form of social media, you’ve probably seen the latest fad in health and fitness plastered down your various timelines… but what is meal prep? Why do people do it? Is it really a fad, or is it a sustainable way to implement lifestyle changes?
The concept of “meal prep” for me began when I was very little. My mom was a single parent and we had a very busy schedule, but she wanted to make sure I had a hot meal on the way to school in the mornings. She would make breakfast burritos on the weekends and freeze them so I could pop one in the microwave on the way to school, and Voila! A hot, and time conscious, home cooked meal.
That’s the origin of meal prep in my life, but it has grown into so much more. I love cooking, and love home cooked meals even more, but I just don’t have the time to cook every single day. I started meal prepping back when I was working full time, before starting business school. Now that I’m a student again it is an absolute necessity.
On Sunday evenings I cook and then I eat those meals throughout the week. At first I started small, making one meal for the week, but now I prep breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in each setting. I’m not going to lie, when I first started meal prepping it took forever! Like, 2-3 hours for all of my meals…
I know. That sounds ridiculous. However, when you compare how much time it would take to prepare these meals singularly, meal prepping actually takes less than half the time. After a few weeks I was able to reduce that time by over half. Not only that, but it is such a relief to know I have food for the week, delicious and healthy food, and more free time. It’s amazing! Not only am I giving myself free time throughout the week, but I am also saving money and trimming inches off of my waistline simultaneously. (Plus growing my recipe repertoire!)
So now that you know the “what” and the “why” of meal prep: How do you meal prep? Where to begin?
Start by cooking one meal on Sunday or Monday that you can eat throughout the week. If you are working, lunch might be a great option. If you want time away from the office at lunch, start with breakfast. Try different meals and see what works best for you.
Try New Things
I refuse to get bored with food. There are entirely too many delicious options to eat the same stuff every day. I recommend mixing up recipes and trying new things so don’t get bored. I’ve learned to love Brussel sprouts (right?!) and have a delicious recipe for cauliflower crust pizza. Yes, cauliflower, cauliflower. I have some great cooking videos and recipes on RegularGirlFitness to get you started, but there are endless amounts of recipes on Pinterest and the internet for all types of yummy and healthy food!
Last, but most importantly: Have Fun and Enjoy the Proceeds!!!! Meal prepping is meant to enhance your quality of life, not stress you out =)