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What the kitten is meal prep?



  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 6,214 Member Member Posts: 6,214 Member
    Most people who food prep do it for breakfast or lunch for work, so that they can quickly eat breakfast and take meals to work. The usual alternative in America is quickly grabbing unhealthy food (such as the cereal you mentioned, which is typically laden with sugar) or eating out at unhealthy fast food places.

    Cooking for two or three days and reheating leftovers is a form of food prep!
    edited September 2017
  • wenrobwenrob Member, Premium Posts: 125 Member Member, Premium Posts: 125 Member
    I don't bulk meal prep but I suppose I do my own sort of prep. My DH and DD both work rotating shifts so a lot of the time one or both are not home for dinner. Once we've eaten dinner I portion out the leftovers in appropriate portions for each and one for myself for lunch the next day. Depending on their schedule they'll either reheat and eat when they get home or grab it the next day and take it for lunch. It keeps all of us from eating randomly (a problem I had previously) or getting take out because it's there and all ready to go. Just heat and eat.
  • Aerona85Aerona85 Member Posts: 159 Member Member Posts: 159 Member
    As a single person portioning out single servings and then freezing also saves me from having to eat the same thing for weeks on end. Right now I have 12 or so servings of Italian beef, 3 days worth of breakfast casserole, 8 servings of chicken enchilada soup, 40 zucchini Meatballs, 7 pesto pizza Rollups, 10 jalapeno corn muffins, and 1 serving of pasta e fagioli in the freezer. Some are pieces to various meals (Meatballs I have a few ways I like to use, for example) but they are all there ready for me to grab and put into lunchbox. I make everything up on weekends. I am feeding just me so one recipe usually makes a ton. I work 12-16 hour days so if it isn't easy, pre-portioned for cals, and ready to go I end up picking less healthy options like fast food or take out. I use glass or reusable storage bags to store the food and take to work in. We have microwave and a pizza oven thing at work so it's easy enough to reheat items.
    edited September 2017
  • bbonthebbbontheb Member Posts: 718 Member Member Posts: 718 Member
    I'm starting to prep salads for the week and portioned out veggies, fruit, etc. And cooking meats for 2-3 days. The purpose for me is I'm an impulsive eater so if it's ready to eat, I will grab it when hungry instead of say cookies, lol
  • aeloineaeloine Member Posts: 2,163 Member Member Posts: 2,163 Member
    I definitely meal prep. It's kind of spilled into other parts of my life, too. I recently bought a clothing rack and plan my work clothes for the week, so that I have to make minimal decisions before I even leave the apartment. It also means I can sleep in longer.

    I've been making chia/Greek yogurt mixes (breakfasts), and baked chicken, salads, wild rice, roasted veggies, etc. for lunches. Last week I even pre-cooked my dinners (complete accident, but a happy one!).

    It may be because I don't really get bored with my food (the alternative would be a large pot sitting in the fridge with the same quantity of food, just not pre-portioned), or that making larger batches requires less effort for a single person, but it's made my life SO much better.

    I do take the time to jazz up my breakfasts with fresh fruit and pack different snacks every day (I used to do Greek yogurt smoothies but the calories were too high for what I needed out of a snack). Now it's apples with PB or veg with hummus that I portion out in the mornings.

    Takes about 2 hours total on Sundays (including grocery shopping).

    ETA: this also allows me to pre-log all my food for the week and stay on track with MFP. The weekends, though.... that's a different story
    edited September 2017
  • ejohndrowejohndrow Member Posts: 1,399 Member Member Posts: 1,399 Member
    I food prep as well, yesterday I made pot roast in the crock pot and got 6 meals out of it, 3 in the fridge, 3 in the freezer. Today I will be making curry and doing the same, this way I can alternate my main meal at work. Then, I prepare three salads, cut a pineapple and canteloupe and portion those out, one cup each. So, when it comes time to pack for work I have, salad, fruit, main course then I'll add another piece of fresh fruit, or oatmeal as well.

    There and rent any decent options for food and rent work and renting I'm not paying someone $$ to make a crappy salad I can make myself, with better ingredients. Anyway, food prep is helpful for various lifestyles and it's helped me out a lot.
  • zdyb23456zdyb23456 Member Posts: 1,706 Member Member Posts: 1,706 Member
    I do it when my spouse is gone. I hate cleaning up and washing dishes so doing it all in one day is so much better than having to do it every day.

    I'm not nearly as elaborate at Pinterest. I cook one or two recipes and portion them into reusable containers. Then I just heat, eat, and throw in the dishwasher. Minimal clean up and no dishes to wash every evening! It really simplifies my evening when I'm busy with the kids.
  • raleighgirl09raleighgirl09 Member, Premium Posts: 696 Member Member, Premium Posts: 696 Member
    I meal prep to stay on course. When I make a meal and have planned leftover food to be available for future meals, be it lunch or dinner, I weigh or measure it into individual containers and then I can grab and go - and log and go with very little effort or brain power. I am vigilant against food waste so this cooking and portioning is random and only as I know I'll be home or have hubby home to help eat it. Otherwise I have my go-to low cal things that he doesn't like or salads, etc., something fresh and easy to make and go. The containers don't bother me and I just wash and reuse. Eating food over and over again doesn't bore me or bother me and is actually a comfort in that I know the stats and what I am getting myself into, no surprises.
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Member Posts: 8,057 Member Member Posts: 8,057 Member
    I really don't meal prep unless I know I am going to have a short time to fix something, then I do as much as I can ahead of time. For example, if I am going to do a stew in the crock pot on a day I substitute teach, I will do all the chopping and measuring herbs and spices the night before. That way, all I have to do is dump the pre-chopped stuff and the meat into the crock pot, turn it on, and go.

    Some things, like lasagna, will be made ahead and refrigerated so I just take it out and bake it (it actually tastes better if it sits for a day or two to let the flavors mingle better).

    I live alone but I still make things for 4-6 servings. I will eat it a couple of days straight, then freeze single servings for times when I don't want to (or can't) cook. I don't deliberately prep meals in advance, I just always make extra so I have things available.

    I suspect I am closer to the average person than all these fancy dancy week or even month ahead preppers.
  • JeromeBarry1JeromeBarry1 Member Posts: 10,182 Member Member Posts: 10,182 Member
    TonyB0588 wrote: »
    Just many differing levels of "meal prep" is all.

    My idea of meal prep is deciding what I want and then making it with as few dishes requiring washing as possible.

    My 'meal prep' is to bake a loaf of bread on Saturday. I'll take a slice off the loaf each morning to carry it to work in a Ziplock bag.

    Wow!! Is that all you eat for a whole day at work?

    No. My lunch is small, but it's a little bit more than the piece of bread. See my diary.
  • PWRLFTR1PWRLFTR1 Member Posts: 324 Member Member Posts: 324 Member
    Sundays are meal prep day. As long as the microwave holds out, I'm good for the week
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,603 Member Member Posts: 10,603 Member
    As others have said, it really varies by person and there are different "levels" of meal prep.

    The most I personally do is prep 2-3 mornings' worth of plain Greek yogurt with oats, fruit, chia, etc, for my husband and I to grab and eat for breakfast. Other stuff, like prepped egg-muffins, just doesn't appeal to me at all and I'd rather quickly cook an egg and toast a piece of bread each morning. I like fresh stuff, so if I'm doing an omelet I want to grab fresh herbs, some feta cheese, etc, out of the fridge that day.

    I used to do 4 lunches for my work week ahead of time since I didn't have an opportunity to come home for lunch. 4 instead of 5 because I knew I would go out or have a lunch meeting once a week. Now, I am able to come home every day for lunch and my husband works from home so he cooks our meals fresh. I prefer that, but some people have long commutes & different types of jobs that prevent such a thing. I used to buy reusable plastic containers for my meals and would do things like shredded chicken, corn & black beans along with simple salads in the containers. I was very sick of that by Lunch #4 but it was still okay.

    I also know a lot of moms who meal prep for their family's dinner meals, but it is a much bigger thing involving 1-2 full days of cooking and pans of lasagna, casseroles, etc, filling a locker style deep freezer. Since my husband and I are a two person household, I can't imagine the need for that (for us). I also can't imagine having that many 9 X 13 pans or casseroles to use for such a thing, but I am sure it's different in a large household.
  • amtyrellamtyrell Member Posts: 1,449 Member Member Posts: 1,449 Member
    I don't prep anything ahead as I am single and well don't like leftovers.
    My sister preps lunch for her family of 5 on Sunday night for Monday Tuesdayand wedsand Wednesdaynightfor Thursday Friday. Differentpeopledo things different you should do what works for you and your family.
  • ejohndrowejohndrow Member Posts: 1,399 Member Member Posts: 1,399 Member
    ejohndrow wrote: »
    There aren't any decent options for food at work and I'm not paying someone $$ to make a crappy salad I can make myself, with better ingredients. Anyway, food prep is helpful for various lifestyles and it's helped me out a lot.

    Apparently my phone had rent on the mind in my earlier post. I'd better proofread better before submitting via mobile

  • Noodle797Noodle797 Member Posts: 362 Member Member Posts: 362 Member
    My boyfriend and I meal Prep for the week on Sundays. We cook up several things and portion them off into separate containers then put them all in the freezer. That way we can each just grab one to take for lunch and one for dinner when we get home. No excuse to go out to eat or get fast food/take-away when you can have a hot meal in about three minutes from the microwave. Plus when we cook & freeze several things at once we can have decent variety during the week. It doesn't work for everyone, but it works well for us.
    edited September 2017
  • hesn92hesn92 Member Posts: 5,882 Member Member Posts: 5,882 Member
    I don't meal prep. Just doesn't make sense to me. I don't eat breakfast, and for lunch I either bring leftovers from dinner or a sandwich, which I would never prep ahead of time lol. I have occasionally made a lasagna or chicken pot pie ahead of time to bake later in the week. I have gotten better about picking meals that don't take too long to make on week nights. At most I will spend an hour making dinner.
  • Treece68Treece68 Member Posts: 780 Member Member Posts: 780 Member
    I meal prep by making more dinner then 2 can eat and freeze one and put the other in the fridge for lunch. To eat the same thing every day for a whole week BORING!!!
    edited September 2017
  • ryborybo Member Posts: 5,432 Member Member Posts: 5,432 Member
    I meal prep my lunches for the week. It takes me 15 minutes on a Sunday.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,122 Member Member Posts: 39,122 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    It might sound odd, but maybe there are cultural differences here. What the kitten is meal prep? When googling I see rows and rows of containers with different compartments containing different food.

    1. Is that how the average American eat though out the day
    2. How long does it take to prepare all this???
    3. And do you throw the containers out? This looks like so much garbage.

    Now, hear me out. For me, eating throughout the day looks very different. I get up, make a pile of bread (butter, slice of cheese or something meaty, second slice on top), grab veggies and fruits for the day. Some people I know do the same, others have cereals, porridge or other things for breakfast. But anyway, nothing complicated throughout the day. Then cooking for me takes 30 minutes max with all preparations, and probably dishes if I was to do them every day. I often cook for 2-3 days and just warm up the leftovers or cook fresh rice or pasta for those. So I guess I hardly ever spend more than 30 minutes on preparing and cooking food in a day. Even with a busy job that's not a lot.

    Seeing all those containers with stuff boggles my mind. Do I misunderstand food prep?

    No, this is not how the average American eats throughout the day...the average American mindlessly shovels food into their face.

    My wife and I don't use any specialized compartment containers. My wife does more prep than I do...she will typically make 5 salads for lunches during the week on Sunday and she just uses a regular washable container. I usually grill up a bunch of chicken on Sunday so that we have a protein for lunches for most of the week. I also often make enough food with our evening meal to have leftovers...which is about the extent of my meal prep.

    Those special containers are washed and re-used.
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