Not just for health nuts
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Search “meal prep” on the internet and you’ll probably be bombarded with a million results aimed at keeping you healthy. As a self-proclaimed garbage pescatarian, my meal prep has never been centred around dieting or health. I like being unhealthy. In fact, I go out of my way to be as unhealthy as possible when it comes to my eating habits. However, meal prep does have advantages for someone like me in that it is perfectly suited for both the poor and the lazy.
Let’s begin by getting one admission out of the way—I hate cooking. It is not that I don’t know how, I just hate doing it. I much prefer the eating part. Luckily, I have both meal prep and a loving partner willing to do the majority of the cooking for me. Meal prep means that I spend less time performing a chore—because that is what I see cooking as—but still get to reap the benefits of having home-cooked meals throughout the week. If you have a slow cooker, this works out even better! You can set your meal to cook and then leave it for a few hours, so you can make food without actually having to be present. Just come back later and dish everything out.
Having pre-prepared meals also works great for anyone doing shift work, or if you have a really strange schedule set up. For me, I have certain days where I might be working at 5 am, or I might be working until after midnight. Depending on where you live, finding something to eat at those times can be challenging. Having something ready to go means that I don’t have to worry about stuff like that.
Beyond being lazy, meal prep is also cost-effective. The main component of meal planning for me is to examine how much money I can save by not buying food while I am at work or in class. A good way to analyze whether a recipe is good or not is to take the cost of the ingredients and then divide it by how many portions you can get out of it. A good meal-prep meal should generally cost you around three to five dollars—which is significantly cheaper than a full meal from even the cheapest fast food place. Keep in mind that there will be a one-time cost of purchasing the containers, but these are generally fairly cheap. You can get a basic set of 10 off Amazon for less than $20.
I would be being disingenuous if I claimed that there weren’t downsides. Since I dislike cooking, I seek to reduce the number of times I need to do it. That means that when I do have meal prep days, they are few and far between. This has two problems associated with it. One, everything my boyfriend or I make has to freeze well. That means no potatoes, very few soups, and we usually avoid anything with lettuce or raw greens. Two, I end up eating the same thing for weeks on end. Personally, this doesn’t bother me much—but I know that this can be a deal-breaker for some. That being said, some great meal prep options are stews, pasta, breads, or anything sautéed.
In the end, perspective makes the world go ’round. Whether you have decided to get into meal prep for dieting or convenience purposes is up to you. Meal prep is about making food that you’ll enjoy—even if it’s covered in cheese and hot sauce and can in no way be labelled as “health-conscious.”