It seems as though every health blog, magazine, and specialist only has one recommendation for people looking to change their eating habits: meal prep. There is definitely no shortage of benefits derived from meal prepping, but many are scared to give it a try. Whether its because they’re afraid of cooking or worried they’ll get sick of eating the same meal every day for a week, not as many people are trying meal prep that should be — so, I took it upon myself to try meal prep for a week and relay my honest reactions to it. Check it out below!
Sunday: Prep Day
For my meal prep, I decided to stick to a classic: chicken, veggies, and rice. I picked this meal purposefully because chicken is what I usually cook for myself, and I never seem to get sick of it (although mixing up your seasonings, glazes and sides definitely help with that, too!).
Then, I spent about thirty minutes grilling my chicken with just a little bit of olive oil and barbecue seasoning, and paired it with steamed spinach and parmesan rice on the side. I was a bit upset that I prepared all this great food only to pack it up and refrigerate it, but that seemed to be the only down side (besides the fact that it only created three meals instead of my projected five).
- Chicken: $10 (only used 1/2 of what I bought)
- Rice: $3
- Spinach: $6
- Time: 40 minutes
Monday: Meal #1
Monday was great! My first meal tasted absolutely delicious, and it was great to be able to just relax in the office and take my time on lunch rather than spend my half hour running around from place-to-place looking for the cheapest salad. Based on just the first day, I’d say I’m going to enjoy meal prep.
Tuesday: Meal #2
I’m still not sick of this meal yet; it’s just as tasty as it was yesterday! I am annoyed at having to bring the food on my 40-minute commute to work on the subway, though. But besides that, I’m still happy.
Wednesday: Meal #3 Plus More Meal Prep
My third meal was a bit drier than my other two, so at this point, I must say I am happy for my meal change. I wasn’t yet sick of the repetitiveness of my dish, but definitely could foresee that happening by Friday.
Now, I’m prepping another three dishes to eat for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and truly, I do not feel like cooking (and not immediately eating) more meals tonight. But, 40 minutes later, I have created three more meals of chicken with a light pesto sauce, brown rice, and glazed carrots to eat for the following days.
- Chicken: $0 (I froze the chicken I didn’t make on Sunday and am finishing it up for these next three meals)
- Pesto sauce ingredients: $3
- Rice: $3
- Carrots: $4
- Time: 40 mins
Thursday: Meal #4
I definitely like this new meal more than my first three! The pesto adds some more flavor than just the basic barbecue seasonings, and the carrots are definitely tastier than my plain spinach. Either way, I’m happy to be eating my homemade dishes and not spending money on sub-par, sodium/sugar/carb loaded lunches.
Friday: Meal #5
I am DEFINITELY happy I decided to meal prep this week. My chicken, rice and veggies meals have left me feeling fuller, more satisfied and less bloated than grabbing lunch from chain restaurants around the area. I haven’t yet gotten sick of my meals, but it’s definitely important to switch things up a bit to prevent that from happening. Choosing to change my veggies and chicken seasonings around truly made a huge difference with little to no effort.
In total, I spent $29 on six meals this week compared to the $50 I usually spend on lunch (~$10 a day), which saved me an extra $20. This is definitely a significant enough amount of money for me to continue meal prepping as often as I can, even if the 40 minutes of meal prep on Sunday nights is less than fun. More so, the quality and quantity of the food I prepared was much better than the food I’d go out and buy around the office, even though I pride myself on eating healthy at work. I’m definitely a proponent of meal prep after this trial week, and definitely recommend it to others! It’s so, so worth it.