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What the kitten is meal prep?

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  • avskkavskk Member Posts: 1,790 Member Member Posts: 1,790 Member
    I do a mix of meal prep and fresh cooking. Usually, I'll make a big batch of soup or something similar in quantity (a casserole, a sheet-pan roast) over the weekend and eat it all week. I also usually make one other thing (a quiche, a grain salad) that can work as a dinner side or a full lunch. Then throughout the week I cook mostly fresh dinners, but I eat the prepped food for lunches, sides, and the occasional full dinner. I tend to cook three times during the work week and eat leftovers the other two nights -- I guess it's like mini-prep?

    Plenty of people do the weekly pack with portioned containers so they have food to take to work or classes or whatever. It's a significant improvement over eating out or endless soggy sandwiches!
  • Tried30UserNamesTried30UserNames Member Posts: 564 Member Member Posts: 564 Member
    I'm not sure what you're talking about with the rows and rows of special containers, but I'm not a Pinterest or Facebook person and those sound like you might be seeing something on there.

    I meal prep. And it sounds like you do, too, if you're cooking for 2-3 days at a time and warming up the food later.

    I wash and trim my vegetables when I get home from the store. That's meal prep.

    I made stuffed peppers a couple weeks ago. I made 4 servings, ate them for dinner 2 days in a row and froze the other 2 servings in individual containers. I made moussaka last week. I ate it for dinner 3 days and froze 5 servings in individual containers. I put the frozen food in a Pyrex container and reheat in the oven. My individual freezer containers are usually old pint sized sour cream or cottage cheese or yogurt containers. If I use them at home, I wash them and reuse later. If I take food to work in them, sometimes I rewash or I throw them away if there's no running water available. I often have a pan in the refrigerator with rice in it because when I cook rice, I make several servings at once. All of that is meal prep.

    The average American eats in a restaurant, orders delivery or picks up takeout from a restaurant or grocery store. I know almost nobody who cooks on a regular basis. A "homecooked" dinner these days means buying a rotisserie chicken and serving it with a Trader Joe's pre-assembled salad and some already cooked quinoa. Sometimes people get really domestic and bake their own sweet potatoes instead of buying the quinoa dish from the food bar at Whole Foods. I think the average American breakfast is either a Starbucks latte or a carton of yogurt.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Member Posts: 30,886 Member Member Posts: 30,886 Member
    Francl27 wrote: »
    I think it's just making meals ahead? Like roasting a chicken for the week or whatever... obviously there are different degrees to that.

    Yeah, this. My idea of meal prep is that when I make dinner I make enough so I have leftovers to use for a lunch and maybe enough for a second dinner. I might roast a chicken or make a stew or some pulled pork or anything on the weekend with a plan to use it for a few lunches or a couple of lunches and a dinner, too. Or I might not.

    Beyond that, I think about what I might have during the week and get out anything I need from the freezer (or buy it).

    The containers are reusable, as others have said. I have some for lunches, although not enough for 5-7 days worth, and I never cook that far ahead, I like to be able to be flexible.
  • Ironandwine69Ironandwine69 Member Posts: 2,432 Member Member Posts: 2,432 Member
    When you spend all *kitten* Sunday cooking. And then eat the same thing all *kitten* week, wishing you would just die by Thursday
  • Duchy82Duchy82 Member Posts: 558 Member Member Posts: 558 Member
    I meal prep in the sense that I will make a big pan of soup, if that is what I fancy for lunches during the week and l will portion that daily into my soup mug and grab something to go with it like bread or this week I made falafel so that comes with. I also grill chicken breast for the other half for his lunches portion it out and freeze and he will boil enough eggs for him to take 1 to work each day. As for evening meals I tend to make big batches of homemade pasta sauce and roast veggies and such, I portion and freeze for those days I don't feel like cooking elaborate meals then it's just heat up and eat. But that's it.
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Member Posts: 10,196 Member Member Posts: 10,196 Member
    I'm not sure what you're talking about with the rows and rows of special containers, but I'm not a Pinterest or Facebook person and those sound like you might be seeing something on there.

    Something like this:

    b3214fb9baf4273e9606cb7fa31a9d10--how-to-meal-plan-for-two-meal-prep-for-one.jpg
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,563 Member Member Posts: 10,563 Member
    ^ Pic from Pinterest may look pretty but I just have to laugh (and gag a bit) thinking of how nasty some of that would taste refrigerated and reheated and flavors beginning to mix. So gross to me. Even at the bottom row, what looks like turkey, tomatoes & cucumbers...it seems like that would taste disgusting after about two days in the fridge.
  • JoRockaJoRocka Member Posts: 17,583 Member Member Posts: 17,583 Member
    That's what my fridge looks like- lots of containers- one main one for lunch- and then two small ones (two for each day)

    the whole point of it is just to pre-portion the food out to get it done and ready to go for the week. I only cook 1 x a week. I do the lunch and then I have snacks for the day (carrots for the AM- and yogurt in the PM).

    No- most people don't do this- but it sure makes life a LOT easier to deal with IMHO.

    also- I reuse all my Tupperware as much as possible to reduce waste.
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,563 Member Member Posts: 10,563 Member

    The average American eats in a restaurant, orders delivery or picks up takeout from a restaurant or grocery store. I know almost nobody who cooks on a regular basis. A "homecooked" dinner these days means buying a rotisserie chicken and serving it with a Trader Joe's pre-assembled salad and some already cooked quinoa. Sometimes people get really domestic and bake their own sweet potatoes instead of buying the quinoa dish from the food bar at Whole Foods. I think the average American breakfast is either a Starbucks latte or a carton of yogurt.

    Waste of money...I cringe at that. Although I do go out to eat a couple times a week, I can't even imagine wasting cash on *that*

  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 6,164 Member Member Posts: 6,164 Member
    ^ Pic from Pinterest may look pretty but I just have to laugh (and gag a bit) thinking of how nasty some of that would taste refrigerated and reheated and flavors beginning to mix. So gross to me. Even at the bottom row, what looks like turkey, tomatoes & cucumbers...it seems like that would taste disgusting after about two days in the fridge.

    This is what I wonder about. Sliced veggies deteriorate quickly. Sliced strawberries start getting mushy within a couple of hours, much less days. Who wants to eat fresh food that was fresh five days ago? I think one of those is some sort of grilled fish, which should really be eaten within 24 hours to be at its best.
  • theowlboxtheowlbox Member Posts: 912 Member Member Posts: 912 Member
    Meal prep is a great tool, but everyone does it for different reasons. To save time because you're single and go out a lot, or are in school, or have kids and need to cook for children and adults who eat differently, etc. It's a frequent staple in people trying to save money who want to cook large quantities and freeze before they go bad, use cheaper cuts of meat that are larger and a single person would buy, or to avoid buying meals out while on the go. People aren't meal prepping 7 cheese sandwiches, they are prepping to hit nutrient goals or to eat cooked recipes of food rather than simple options where 2-3 ing are used. But one thing to keep in mind is that there is a meal prepping aesthetic that is like candy to type a people everywhere. Things matching? Pictures on pinterest? Perfectly stacked freezers? Aside from being iseful, there is a satisfaction that comes with meal prep for a certain type of person. I just made my 93 year old uncle 12 plastic containers of frozen plum crunch and apple cake so he doesn't eat his crappy ice cream bars made from processed funk. Just looking at those stacked containers gave me a peacock tail. So it might be cultural, but it might also be a form of organization worship. :smile:
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,563 Member Member Posts: 10,563 Member
    theowlbox wrote: »
    Meal prep is a great tool, but everyone does it for different reasons. To save time because you're single and go out a lot, or are in school, or have kids and need to cook for children and adults who eat differently, etc. It's a frequent staple in people trying to save money who want to cook large quantities and freeze before they go bad, use cheaper cuts of meat that are larger and a single person would buy, or to avoid buying meals out while on the go. People aren't meal prepping 7 cheese sandwiches, they are prepping to hit nutrient goals or to eat cooked recipes of food rather than simple options where 2-3 ing are used. But one thing to keep in mind is that there is a meal prepping aesthetic that is like candy to type a people everywhere. Things matching? Pictures on pinterest? Perfectly stacked freezers? Aside from being iseful, there is a satisfaction that comes with meal prep for a certain type of person. I just made my 93 year old uncle 12 plastic containers of frozen plum crunch and apple cake so he doesn't eat his crappy ice cream bars made from processed funk. Just looking at those stacked containers gave me a peacock tail. So it might be cultural, but it might also be a form of organization worship. :smile:

    Peacock tail!! I LOVE IT!!

    Yeah, definitely can see the appeal in a lot of ways.

  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,764 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,764 Member
    I always prep food in advance. For me, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and post-workout snacks are almost always eaten at either work or a dancing venue. Then a late supper after dancing - usually the only thing I eat at home (and I'm not about to do anything more than microwaving/assembling at 11pm). Not everyone has a large enough block of free time to drive home, cook, and eat between work and gym/group run/cycling/dancing/other stuff.

    For soup/stew, I usually do leave the large pot in the fridge, and only portion out about 3 containers at a time.
    If doing salad at work, I'll just throw some of the greens from the salad spinner into a produce bag and bring the seasonings/etc separately. I usually just do soup though - less effort. I pre-mix and portion out batches of greek yogurt and cottage cheese for breakfast and snacks (the 1 cup pyrex glass storage cups are great for that) and keep hard boiled eggs handy.

    I usually wash the containers at work after eating (since I'm rarely home for long enough to wash them there).
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,013 Member Member Posts: 39,013 Member
    72 hours is my max for prepared in advance food...even shorter for some things. Most of my prep is done the night before for the next day...breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Dinner is almost always fresh...
  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,764 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,764 Member
    Even with meal prep, dinner for me has been 2 pouches of fruit snacks pre-run followed later by 1/2 a Clif bar + 1/2 a single-serve tub of peanut butter while simultaneously strapping on dance shoes on more occasions than I might like to admit.
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