Why I Hate Meal Prep

One of the newest nutrition fads is “meal prep.”  You make your meals for the whole week on Sunday and pack it up in Tupperware to be eaten throughout the week. It is said to help with weight loss as it controls what you consume at meal time. It also saves you time during the week, since you will not have to cook or prepare food for the next day.

 I hate it. I don’t get it. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

We are constantly being told to eat a variety of foods to make sure we consume as many nutrients as possible. Eating many different foods makes it easier to consume a balanced diet. It is ideal to consume vegetables and fruits of different colors, as the colors can give you an idea of the different antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals they contain. It is ideal to consume different foods daily, as you may be missing an important nutrient one day, that you consume plenty of the next day.

Nutrients break down in vegetables and fruits after harvest; especially if they are not stored properly. Although meal prep-ers store their meals in the fridge, the nutrients begin to break down more quickly after the item is sliced. Once the cut surface is exposed to heat, light, and oxygen the nutrient value decreases. In addition, microwaves can strip away the food’s original nutrients. The microwave tends to change the molecular structure of the food, which weakens the nutrient content.

Meal prepping and controlling your diet may force you to crave different foods. Just because you have prepared and eaten a meal, does not mean you won’t crave something more nutritious or something that tastes better. It will not control the snacks you eat or crave daily.

The most significant reason I am not fond of this fad is that it is taking away the pleasure of cooking and enjoying your meals. To me, cooking and baking is something you do with family. You learn from your elders and from your own mistakes. My boyfriend and I’s favorite thing to do together is cook. We make time together just to cook dinner, even if we don’t finish until 10 o’clock at night. We bring our leftovers to work or make a salad for lunch the next day. This new nutrition fad is another way to make life go by faster, instead of enjoying the present and taking the time to cook meals. So much is lost in this day in age, food should not be one of them.

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48 responses to Why I Hate Meal Prep

  1. I have similar thoughts but practise what I call food prep. I just cook a variety of foods on Sunday because I am a teacher and parent of two very active teens. I could not eat the same dish every day, I would literally die…lol. Feel free to check out my two posts on it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Forget-me-not says:

    Completely agree with this. I like to decide a few hours before I’m going to eat what I want to cook. Plus eating the same thing multiple times a week does not sound fun to me

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  3. Milly says:

    Yes! Thank you! The thing I always think of is that by the end of the week your prepped food has been sitting in the fridge for that long :/ It’s not fresh or healthy and might even be a hazard.

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  4. So true! I always meal plan for the week (eg decide on which recipes I want to make and do a big Sunday shop) but I love to cook each and every night as I find it therapeutic!

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  5. floatinggold says:

    Ditto.
    Aside from what you already said, I would like to add my 2 cents.
    When I first started hearing about this “trend”, I thought it might be helpful for me.
    1. Because I do not always have the time and energy to cook during the week.
    2. I’m guilty of snacking and ordering a pizza if the above (lack of time and energy) happens?
    I thought – I’d do it all on Sunday, when I have the time and energy and I’ll be set for the whole week.
    Well…. no.
    1. The food looks/ feels/ tastes differently after a day or two, which is not appealing.
    2. I cannot eat the same thing every single day. I struggle when I have leftovers from day 1 to day 2.
    3. And this is probably the biggest for me – I like to enjoy my food. What I had a taste for on Sunday, will most likely NOT be what I have a taste for on Tuesday. The rest of the week just gets laughable.
    Conclusion – I would prep on Sunday, get tired of it after 1 day, let the rest sit in the fridge for the remainder of the week, maybe try a fork of it at some point, put it back in the fridge, only to throw it out when I’m organizing my fridge. Such a waste.
    Sorry for making my 2 cents that long 😀

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  6. I understand where you are coming from but everyone’s lifestyle is different. Meal prep is a good choice for people who have to commute back and forth to work and/or school and don’t want to have to spend extra money in the city to buy food. Also, it’s a time management thing. For me, I’m too tired to cook dinner and lunch for the following day after coming back from work. I really think it depends on how you perceive it. Just because you prepped a meal on Sunday for the week, does not mean that you have to eat it. You can easily throw it in the freezer and eat something else. I definitely don’t see it as controlling your diet per say.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Karen says:

    For couples who both work, I can see the advantage for them… but you’re right about having food sit in the fridge for so many days. That’s why I like being able to shop almost daily to get fresh ingredients (especially from local farmer’s markets).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally agree! I dread meal prepping and hate the thought of eating left overs day after day. I have staples like sweet potato and I cook that with greens or something that doesn’t take a lot of time, and tons of fruits and veggies for a quick fix.

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  9. I agree and disagree for a few reasons. Although you are right, and I totally hate the fad as well, it depends on how a person is meal prepping. A lot of people may feel overwhelmed by having to prepare every meal every single day. If chopping all your vegetables for the week at one time is going to make you eat healthier, by all means DO IT! But you are right in the sense that the way most people meal prep reduces variety and quality in their food. Why would you want to eat the same thing every single freaking day? And most meal preppers have such PLAIN food too. Blegh!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I personally enjoy meal prep. My fianceé and I will typically spend some time Sunday and prep “work meals” for the week. We will still make dinners throughout the week, and prepping is something we get to do together. We have created a system and work well together and enjoy the time. I agree with what you said about nutrient dissipation throughout the week due to the food being microwaved or previously prepared and stored, however its better than ordering out every day or eating incorrect portions. It can be used for more than weight loss too, we make different types of food and different portions to support what kind of diet we are pursuing. For instance I typically have larger portions higher in carbs and proteins when I’m gaining and need extra calories, where as she typically would have smaller portions with more fiber and less protein than me. We both love to cook and this is just a giant cook day that sets us up for a week of positive nutrition and saves us money over ordering food while we work.

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  11. I’ve really evolved how I do meal prep to take into account desiring different foods throughout the week so I’m not always at the mercy of what Sunday Me thought was a good idea. At the beginning, when it was a Pop Tart or a scramble made with all pre-cut veggies, the pre-cut veggies were still the clear winner in terms of nutrition. In the long run, what I’ve adapted to is to have a base kale salad (since I would argue that kale will never be as good recently cut as it is 3 days after it’s been massaged in olive oil) that I can build on for my next day at work. It really can be a useful tool when you’re staring at a McDonald’s on the way home like it has the last burger on earth and it’s the apocalypse!

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  12. I agree. Prepping for meals and lunches is my way of unwinding when I get home from school. As a teacher, my day is filled with activity and meal prep is so peaceful.

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  13. I absolutely agree with you. I love preparing fresh meals every day.. It’s true that it is tiring & time consuming but I find it fun and distressful… I think that the meal preparation should be changed into menu preparation (according to what we have in the fridge and to our nutritional needs) that way we don’t waste time thinking what to eat and we’ll be sure not to waste food…

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  14. Thank you so much for your visits to my site! Let me share with you regarding Meal Prep that some fitness enthusiasts rely on the practice for strict dietary and nutritional control. I am certainly not one of them, but it’s an excellent topic to address.

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  15. haveyourcakeandeatittoosite says:

    Going into this I wasn’t sure what to expect because I like to prep when I can. However, I agree that it takes away from some of the variety and also time spent. The one issue I have with it is the redundancy so I try and make each meal a little different if possible so they aren’t always the same.

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  16. emilym125 says:

    I agree, girl! If I prep anything, I may bake some healthy sweet treats or bake chicken, but that’s it! Good post!

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  17. momtoninja says:

    I remember the days when my husband and I were newlyweds and used to enjoy cooking together. Sigh. Now 11 years and 4 kids later, things are different. We have 4 kids aged 5 and under. Meal prep is a necessity for us. If I don’t have something already made up and waiting for me in the fridge, I don’t eat. I simply don’t have the time in the day to prepare a meal for myself. Plus, I don’t really like cooking. That being said, we usually meal prep for breakfast and lunch, and my husband tries to cook something fresh for dinner. I agree that the nutrients probably aren’t as good, and things don’t usually taste as good reheated. But less nutritious healthy food is still better than a leftover half eaten dinosaur chicken nugget or a half bowl of mac and cheese. Now, we look forward to our meal prep time together on sunday. It’s like a whole week of cooking together all at the same time. lol. Different things work in different seasons of life.

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  18. overcomefat says:

    I totally get what you are saying and agree. But, I have to make my lunches for work. So I usually cook on Sunday and either Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m not a fan of prepping all my meals. I don’t want to be a slave to food.

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  19. bitemeupke says:

    I concur and personally prefer carrying left overs for lunch or ‘meal prepping’ the night before with simple, nutritious and filling meals such as sandwiches and wraps due to time constraint. Variety is the spice of life!

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  20. T. A. Fuller says:

    Spot on! Thank you. We don’t know what our bodies will need the most from one day to the next. I absolutely promote the daily play-by-ear (or stomach) approach. Following now and looking forward to more…

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  21. ktkickass says:

    I wish, sometimes, I was more organized to do this meal prep thing, but I think it might get kinda boring??? I like to make a fresh salad every morning, a fruit one and a vegy one, to take with me to work…. then I always pack a few bananas… and in the evening, I always cook from scratch. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, they’ll be leftovers, if my son hasn’t already eaten the leftovers…. I love preparing an awesome meal for dinner! Knowing that my body is getting all that goodness after a long day of work and working out at the gym!!!

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  22. So I agree and disagree. I approach meal prep loosely but apply some principles. I was and dry veggies, I cook a big protein source on Sunday (i.e roast chicken, big thing of bean soup or chili, roast a pork loin, spicy braised beef etc) then can make quicker meals throughout the week. Semi-prep, perhaps? Also thank you for checking out boy-eats-world.com!

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  23. blainenp says:

    When I cook I try to cook enough to have leftovers the next day but I just don’t like planning out my whole week this way.

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  24. SandyLand says:

    I agree. I don’t “meal prep” unless I’m heading out of town for a night or two. I have friends who meal prep every week, yet they continue to overeat and gain weight. ….There’s something to that…..

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  25. Kami B says:

    Great post! I’m a meal prep fanatic though, because, unlike you, I don’t enjoy cooking. I’ll prep for 3 days’ worth of meals at a time. Looking forward to more of your posts!

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  26. sandireta says:

    I also agree and disagree, especially because I have still not done one single meal prep (oops) and the fact that I know I have something in the fridge which I can heat and eat, it does make me look forward to eating it. Once I do start meal prepping, I plan on meal prepping for 4 day’s worth because unfortunately yes, I eat out too much and do not have the time nor the talent to cook at home, especially for dinner – one day some day ;). Thanks for your article and I agree with you, cooking with friends and loved ones, is so awesome!!!

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  27. grumpytyke says:

    Never heard of it. Ruin a Sunday? Never! There are better ways to solve the time problem and I don’t believe it will help nutrition at all.

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  28. tonyblount says:

    I 100% agree. Love this entry. Only thing, when I have my kids it is soooo hard to make sure they are getting healthy food without cooking everything I can at the beginning of the week. But your right, they enjoy the experience of is doing it together. Always a dilemma

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  29. Couldn’t agree more! I spend most of my time at work dreaming about what I’m going to cook when I get home – it get’s me through the day! I’d day a better way to go about things is to meal plan – no harm in having an idea what you are going to cook each day, but leave the cooking until it is time, and, most importantly, enjoy it!

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  30. I believe in the principle of meal prep since my work day as a realtor can get crazy and I can easily end up either living on protein bars which I keep in my purse, eating a bad choice because I’m starving or missing meals entirely. But I am like everyone else in not loving leftovers all week and I definitely hate re-heating any form of animal protein. But what I try to do is portion-size all my protein when I get home from the grocery store, so I season up a range of things (like curried chicken breast or thai-seasoned ground turkey or salmon fillets) in individual zip lock bags and this way, I can decide what I feel for for that day, quickly make it in the morning or night before and take that with me for lunch, and cook fresh for dinner if I have time. Lately I am LOVING the frozen cauliflower rice crumbles – it is a super yummy and easy and quick way to get veggies that I enjoy for a meal. 🙂

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  31. I try to pre-plan what we will have for the dinners so that I am sure I have what is needed when it comes time to prepare, but meal-prepping in my world is reserved for the lunches I have to pack to take to work or send to school. It helps to streamline those busy mornings when we are trying to get out the door on time.

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  32. e joint chicken, openhanded matter of edible bean soup or chili, joint a porc loin, spicy braised beef cattle etc) then can arrive at quicker meals throughout the calendar week. .

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  33. Michele says:

    Yeah – I hear you!

    I don’t do a full meal prep. I simply don’t want to be spending an entire day of my weekend cooking – rather be outside! But, I do things when I make dinners that give me fast options for other meals. So I think about this as more getting creative with left overs.
    – Roasting a chicken – gives a comfort food one night and endless sandwich, taco/quesadilla, salad and soup options later in the week.
    – Souped up Puttanesca – adding a ton or veggies and ground turkey works for a dinner over pasta, but I’ll freeze left overs to throw on a roasted spaghetti squash or use as the stuffing inside an eggplant lasagna
    – Rice – making extra means I can make fried rice the next night or throw in soup
    – Riced cauliflower – I don’t like buying the frozen and fresh is easy. Just as with regular rice I can turn it into pilaf, throw into soup, or create a veggie hash with a veggie burger. Never lasts more than 2-3 days in my fridge.
    – Chicken Sausages – hot Italian, garlic cheese, spinach and feta, chipotle, apple, doesn’t matter. I’ll grill a bunch of them for a dinner and those left over will go on a pizza, in eggs, wrapped in phyllo, or simply sliced up and eaten cold with cheese and fruit.

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  34. autolysissy says:

    What an interesting post! In some aspects I completely see where you’re coming from- food is a joy for me, both the preparation and eating aspect.
    But I think its important to acknowledge that for people who may be working 5-7 days a week, with little free time, meal prep is a wonderful compromise. Even if they don’t have the luxury of time to devote to daily cooking, they are taking a huge step in the right direction.
    xx

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  35. I so agree! I never know what I’m going to be in the mood to eat, and I have a psychological aversion to eating the same things multiple times a week.

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  36. Penny says:

    I have a lot of friends who meal prep for work lunches, and for that I totally agree and see why they do it. But meal prep for dinner is one step away from a TV dinner, that you heat as soon as you walk in the door and plunk down to eat because you have to. It’s fuel for the machine, not an enjoyable experience. I love to cook and so does my husband, we cook together most nights. I can’t understand it, but there are people in the world who don’t care about cooking and if anything, actively don’t like it. Meal prep for them is probably a sanity-saving measure. And really, when we start getting into health and nutrients, we have to talk about how depleted they are by the time we get them at the store. Between quick harvests that don’t contain all the vitamins and minerals of home-grown veggies and whatever they spray on them to keep them green and crisp, nutrient loss isn’t the a great deterrent against meal prep (though I do like your point about rushing through life, that is true).

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