Meal prep and food prep may sound like the same thing, but there are slight differences; and depending on your environment, the busy-ness of your schedule, or the type of personality you have, one may work better for you than the other!
What is “Meal Prep”
Meal prep is the action of literally preparing all of your completed meals for the week (or whatever pre determined amount of time) ahead of time. Therefore, we are making one dish (per meal) and rationing it for the numbers of days that we are prepping. For example, I would be having chicken thighs with broccoli and sweet potato for lunch for the next 5 days. I would make each food (chicken, broccoli, sweet potato,) get out 5 containers and divide each meal evenly. Tada, my lunch is prepped for the next 5 days!
Who is Meal Prep For
For a lot of people this is the type of preparedness that their lives require. They work and have busy lifestyles all week. Therefore, the food needs to be portioned for them ahead of time. They need to be able to just grab and go. However, another factor to consider…You have to be okay with eating the same thing for lunch for the next 5 days, without it causing boredom or the “urge to splurge.”
Are you thinking to yourself… “I can’t eat the same thing for 5 days straight, I will end up eating the entire bowl of candy in the break room.” Or maybe you are thinking: “I could do it, but I don’t want to. I need some variety in my lunches.”
What is “Food Prep”
Here enters the concept of food prep. Food prep is where we decide on a handful of choices, possibly 2-3 proteins, 3-5 sides (could be vegetables, whole grains/legumes, or both) and maybe even a healthy fat or two if needed. Once you have decided what those are going to be, you prep them all in bulk style and store them each individually. When it comes to meal time, you are able to mix and match from the different foods you have chosen to create your meal for the day. Rinse and repeat each day!
With food prep, inherently you have to have a little bit more time as you will have to “make” your meals each day but that will be come faster as you do this more and become more comfortable with what different serving sizes look like in your containers.
Who is Food Prep For
Food prep is a great option for those of us (myself included) who need an allusion of variety throughout the week. This helps keep cravings at bay and allows me to be more creative with my food!
As you are deciding which option may be better for you, maybe try them both. Find which one is going to fit best with your lifestyle. Remember, maybe this week meal prep is exactly what you need. But next week food prep is where it is at. Be flexible with what works for you but know that being prepared one way or another is the key to success!