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What the kitten is meal prep?

yirarayirara Member Posts: 6,246 Member Member Posts: 6,246 Member
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?
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Replies

  • Francl27Francl27 Member Posts: 26,373 Member Member Posts: 26,373 Member
    I think it's just making meals ahead? Like roasting a chicken for the week or whatever... obviously there are different degrees to that.
  • __TMac____TMac__ Member Posts: 1,661 Member Member Posts: 1,661 Member
    Yeah, I sometimes prepare ingredients ahead of time (chop veggies, pre-cook ground beef, etc.), but I'm not into all the boxes. I do plan menus a week at a time, but not the actual food.
  • JeromeBarry1JeromeBarry1 Member Posts: 10,182 Member Member Posts: 10,182 Member
    The plastics industry have discovered that they can sell divided containers more readily than they can sell single-compartment containers if they tout them as keeping one food separate from another. Whatever.
  • JeromeBarry1JeromeBarry1 Member Posts: 10,182 Member Member Posts: 10,182 Member
    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.
    edited September 2017
  • LounmounLounmoun Member Posts: 8,428 Member Member Posts: 8,428 Member
    It is how some people choose to eat. Probably not the majority. Most people who work or go to school are taking food with them or buying food somewhere.
    Some people just pack food daily but others pack food for the week all at once. I imagine those people take an hour or two once a week to prep food for the week. To be efficient they choose one meal to have repeatedly. Since it is all the same food they can cook a large batch of something and just portion it into containers that they store in the refrigerator. These are containers that people wash and reuse.
    Sounds like you do often prep food for several days but just don't separate it into individual portions in advance.

    I personally eat lunch at home most days.
    I eat low prep things for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
    I often eat salad, a sandwich or dinner leftovers for lunches.
    I take 30 minutes to 1 hour preparing an evening meal for my family most days. Something different every night.




  • Rosemary7391Rosemary7391 Member Posts: 232 Member Member Posts: 232 Member
    I'm a bit fan of one pot style meals. So I just keep empty margarine tubs and freeze things in individual portions - bolognese, chilli, curry, soup etc. That's largely because it's the most practical way to cook with being single. I also keep frozen veggies and meat for stir frying, and I freeze sandwiches too if I'm in a mood to have sandwiches. So throughout the week all I need to do is grab stuff out of the freezer or fridge. I do wash the containers afterwards!
    edited September 2017
  • TonyB0588TonyB0588 Member Posts: 9,521 Member Member Posts: 9,521 Member
    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?
  • TonyB0588TonyB0588 Member Posts: 9,521 Member Member Posts: 9,521 Member
    @yirara Life has changed a lot, and there are so many variations of "normal" now. Everybody thinks they're too busy to do the old three meals around the table thing at home anymore, so this is the better substitute to buying all meals out as some seem to do.

    In another era, persons woke up early and cooked fresh meals each day to take to work in a food flask. Now I see people buy meals from vans which visit the workplace at lunch (and breakfast too). Then they buy something else on the way home after work.

    This is one of my pet peeves and I could say a lot, but I am going to stop here now.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 6,246 Member Member Posts: 6,246 Member
    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.

    One slice? That doesn't sound much, but yes, otherwise it's probably similar to me. I only take 5 slices with something yummy on it along.
  • livingleanlivingcleanlivingleanlivingclean Member Posts: 11,755 Member Member Posts: 11,755 Member
    In our house, we usually do stuff in bulk that can be frozen.... I wouldn't have food sitting in the fridge for a week. Yuck.

    We prep fresh food 3 days at a time, use glass containers, or plastic reusable containers. Sadly there are a lot of meal prep companies and individuals using the plastic takeaway type containers that are thrown out.

    My prep is minimal as I generally only take one meal out with me. My husband takes 3 meals.
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Member Posts: 10,196 Member Member Posts: 10,196 Member
    I'm not an American, so maybe this isn't answering your question specifically, but here is what food prep looks like in our house.

    We don't portion, and we never freeze cooked meals. We make the food (one or more pots/dishes), eat, put away the whole pot/dish as is in the fridge, then just take a portion out whenever needed, heat it up, and eat it. No pre-portioned containers. We make enough food to last 1-3 days, up to 5 in rare occasions. When the pot is half empty and food can fit into one of the smaller containers we have, we move it to one and wash the pot. My personal "meal prep" for dieting if I'm making a dish only for me consists of pre-logging, and just like above putting the whole thing in the fridge. No meal-prepping breakfast or dinner (lunch is my main meal) for me, I just grab whatever from the fridge and log it or make something if I'm feeling like something specific. If I'm planning around a tricky calorie budget for that day I sometimes have an idea what I want to have for breakfast/dinner and pre-log that. My sister works long hours, so when she takes lunch to work she just portions whatever she is planning to eat into airtight containers from the main pot/container/dish in the fridge.

    I think 20 containers lined up just look cool for Instagram. I don't see myself crowding the fridge with containers just to save a few seconds on dishing out my portion daily.
    edited September 2017
  • Gaygirl2120Gaygirl2120 Member Posts: 541 Member Member Posts: 541 Member
    I love to meal prep. I do protein like chicken or ground turkey, veggies & brown rice or sweet potato. I portion them out into containers so they are easy to grab & go. I do for 4 days at a time & it never takes me more than an hour to prep my food.
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