You’ve been there, you’ve done that. Meal prep is just NOT your thing.
Or are there just some mistakes that you’ve been making that have made meal prep an absolute dread. Yes, we said it: it’s not meal prep, it’s you.
However, we’re here to fix your woes, and combat a few myths that exist around meal planning.
Myth #1: I have to eat the same thing every day.
For some, eating the same food each day is a blessing. And if you are prepping for a competition or working on that summer body, you might be okay with chicken breast and veggies each day. But most of the world is not.
Meal prep doesn’t mean that you need to cook ALL of your meals exactly the same. Rather than buy a full pack of chicken breast and the same veggies that you plan to just boil and ignore, look for variety, but cook similarly.
For example choose a few protein sources like:
- A whole chicken to roast (or a pre-roasted chicken if you feel really time-crunched)
- Some lean ground beef for burgers or meatballs
- Tofu or tempeh to add in a few plant-based days
Next, pick some vegetables that can be cooked similarly. Roasted is usually the easiest option, like:
- Brussel Sprouts
Change up your sauces! Make a few sauces (or buy them if meal-prepping is still new to you), and switch them up per meal.
Myth #2: It’s time consuming.
Meal prep can be as time consuming or time saving as you want it to be. If you choose to make all of your meals for the week plus snacks, and package it all into meal-prep containers, it will take a little longer.
What’s the best way to save time? Batch cooking. Batch cooking a bunch of different foods and storing them in their own containers not only saves you time, but also means you have more variety and choice for each of your meals.
For example, you can cook:
- 2 cups of quinoa
- 1 whole roast chicken
- Roast broccoli, cauliflower
The above should get you through at at least 6 meals throughout your week, for one person. Prep time is about 15 minutes, and cook time is around 2 hours (for the chicken only).
Myth #3: I don’t have time to cook my own food.
Fact: if you have time to binge watch a full series of Game of Thrones to catch up to the rest of the world, you have time to meal prep. In fact, you can actually meal prep AND watch 2 or 3 episodes of GOT at the same time!
Myth #4: It costs too much to eat healthy.
You know what costs more? Eating out each night.
Even if you only eat out once per day, each day of the week, that still means you’re likely spending at least $50 for the week. However, if you’re just cooking for yourself, your full grocery bill for whole week can be between $50-$70. And this includes snacks, and some essential pantry items!
Myth #5: I never know if I will eat out.
If everyone at your office eats out each day for lunch, be realistic about packing your own lunch. Choose one or two days that you bring your own, and the other days, get lunch with your work friends!
It’s almost like starting a new workout plan. If you tell yourself you’re going to go to the gym for one hour 5 days a week, and only manage 3, you will be mad at yourself. The same can be said for meal prepping. If you cook for 5 lunches, and only eat 2, you will be mad at yourself for the wasted money (and wasted food… because remember: food waste is a problem)!
Here are some quick tips to remember:
- Batch cooking your food is key. It gives you more diversity, and saves time.
- Use all areas of your kitchen: stove, oven, crock pot. It saves time to do everything at once.
- Plan a little, especially when starting out. Going into a grocery store blind is overwhelming.
- Play some music, put on a TV show, make it fun!
- Grab some friends and grocery shop together. Maybe even plan a meal prep where each of you cooks one thing to contribute!