Hello, hello my loves! Happy Wednesday! For Wellness Wednesday I’m bringing back one of the most popular posts here on The Southern Sooner – updated and tweaked to not sound so formal and lecture-y lol. Meal prepping has seriously been a lifesaver in my life. I really started getting into the habit of it my last semester of college. I was working two jobs and taking 12 credit hours – my days started at 6:00 AM and didn’t end until 10:00PM Monday through Thursday. I would go to my sports nutrition internship, go to class, go home for an hour or two (where I usually took a power nap) and then would finish off my day working my tutoring job. My schedule was exhausting and left zero room for cooking healthful, complete meals. If you’ve been on the fence about meal prepping – wondering if it’s for you or if it’s worth it – here are some of my most noteworthy pros and cons to the meal prepping fad.
Cook free weeks. I come home from work knowing dang-well that I’m going straight up to bed to relax and cuddle with my pup. I have plenty of other chores to do around the house without cooking having to be one of them. Meal prepping makes it easy to grab-and-go and gives me one less thing to worry about during my week – huzzah!
Thought-out meals. When I get to plan out my meals in advance, I get to take the time to make sure my meals healthful + more complete. If I’m cooking on or around that period of hunger, it gets easier to rush through the process of cooking to get it over with by omitting healthy sides. When I meal prep, it’s 10x more likely that I’m going to have a variety of fruits + veggies paired with my meals.
Better portion control. Meal prepping has made it so so so much easier to refrain from overeating. Odds are, if all the servings are together in one pot/pan, I’m going to overeat because it’s all. right. there. But when I meal prep, I divvy up the food into equal, single-size servings from the start. Portion control is a huge factor when it comes to weight loss, so if that’s a goal of yours, meal prepping would be beneficial habit to pick up.
Decreased temptation to eat out. It is painfully easy these days give into stopping at the Taco Bell that’s on your way home because we know we simply don’t have the time or the energy to cook – look, even I can’t resist a quesarito at times, so trust me, I get it!!! That’s where meal prepping is a lifesaver because by having all your meals done in advance, your home-cooked meals essentially become your own “fast food,” in the sense that you can go home, throw it in the microwave, and have a quick, good-for-you meal in a matter of minutes. Added bonus: if you lose part of the temptation to eat out, you’re going to save money in the process!
It’s tiring. It’s exhausting being in the kitchen cooking for hours on end and then cleaning the dishes, only to dirty them up again making the next item on the menu for the week. Finding the motivation (or simply the energy) can be tricky. But the exhaustion of that single day is well worth it when you don’t have to even think about cooking for the next week.
Potential boredom. I try to make two meals for any given week, but sometimes it can get boring eating the same meals for a week – especially if you don’t end up liking something you made as much as you were hoping you would. One of the most important things when it comes to nutrition is making sure you’re excited about what you’re eating! Look for recipes that excite you to try and avoid potential boredom with your meals.
Food waste. This is one of my biggest pet peeves because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made food and can’t get through it all. It’s a blessing and a curse to have so much food, but it’s irritating to not be able to get through it fast enough without either 1) burning yourself out on that food, or 2) feeling like you wasted precious money on groceries that just went bad. It’s tricky finding the serving-size balance when I’m only cooking for myself – I don’t want to have so much that it goes bad, but I don’t want to be left with not enough, either. If a particular food you make is freezer-friendly, freeze it and save it for a later week when you’re in a bind or just don’t want to spend the money on ingredients to make a whole new meal.