Last week, Mr PugRunner chose to make some changes in his lifestyle to get on a healthier track. He hired a coach to help him lock down his fitness and nutrition and when I looked at his plan, I realized that meal prep was going to become a part of our lives. This planning technique is not my bag. So what are the meal prep pros and cons? Let’s review them here.
Pro: We know what to expect.
Meal prep means having everything planned out in advance. There are no questions, and no floundering around for food solutions. We can line up recipes, and grocery shop in advance, and then handle cooking in one fell swoop.
Con: Lack of variety can lead to boredom.
Eating the same meal day in and day out is not for everyone. It’s boring and while you know what to expect of your macros and calories, some people want to mix it up a bit We compromised in that Mr PugRunner will get a week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches, and then dinner will change nightly, but stick with his guidelines. Little man and I can do our own thing for our first two meals, but we will partake of the same dinner.
Pro: Meal prep takes the guesswork out of cooking.
Once you have your plan for the week, that’s it. There’s no “what are we having for lunch” and “where are the snacks?” Everything is set and ready and all Mr PugRunner has to do is grab his containers from the fridge on his way to work.
Con: Meal prep eats up an entire day with cooking.
The Meal Prep Motto seems to be “On Sunday, We Cook.” Because we spent HOURS doing just that this past Sunday. Friends, I love to cook, but not in huge batches, and not for the purpose of stuffing containers. I find it lacking in art and creativity, and a big draining.
Pro: When you’re not worried about foods, you can focus on the rest of your lifestyle change.
With hydration needs and workouts on his calendar, Mr PugRunner doesn’t need to spend more time each day figuring out his fuel Having his meal prep means he can grab and go without worrying about anything else.
Con: Meal prep does put a lot of emphasis on food.
While Mr PugRunner’s plan isn’t super strict (we are trying to follow it as best we can, but his coach does not demand perfection), there is a lot of measuring and analyzing. For someone who has recovered from eating disorders, this becomes difficult, even if I’m not the one on the plan. The constant focus on quantity makes my brain a little crazy, so I’m trying to keep my eye on the quality of food.
Pro: Grocery shopping gets a little bit easier
Between the plan (which comes with its own list) and online recipes (which usually have an attached shopping list), grocery shopping is easier. Or at least more organized. Don’t get me wrong: a lot of food comes home, which is super overwhelming. That food goes fast, however. It’s kind of amazing how quickly we cooked through so many things in the first day.
Con: Failure to plan is planning to fail.
This is a double-edged sword with meal prep. You have to be prepared and ahead of the game at all times. Not having the right items available means sliding back into not so great habits. This week, we had to buy almost four dozen eggs to make sure we had enough for hard-boiled egg snacks, egg muffin cups, and then extra for a pug with GI difficulties and any random cooking we might do. It can be annoying to think that far ahead. If we calculate wrong or underbuy, it’s right back to the store to make sure Mr PugRunner has what he needs.
Pro: We get to try new recipes.
It’s always fun to try new recipes. Since he is limited on dairy and carbs, we are definitely venturing into new culinary territories. There’s nothing wrong with different flavor profiles and it’s fun seeing what might work for everyone. And little man finally learned that he loves cauliflower.
Con: Not all recipes are winners.
While Mr PugRunner has been super happy with everything so far, I confess to crying over a batch of sweet potato hash browns. I really wanted his breakfasts to be special. Flavorwise, everything was fine, but the hash browns had nothing to bind them and weren’t crisping up nicely. He finally just sautéed them and divided them up and swore they were delicious as is, but it was disappointing all the same. Live and learn.
PS: These are the containers we chose (not an affiliate link), and they are perfect for our needs.)
I also have a Pinterest board for great meals that fit Mr. PugRunner’s plan, so feel free to check it out here.
It’s Tuesday, so we are linking up for Tuesday Topics with KookyRunner and Zenaida!
Please visit these lovely bloggers, plus check out some of the other blogs on the link-up, and don’t forget to share your own post, as well!
Do you have any tips to make meal prep less daunting?
Any favorite recipes to share?
Beckett @ Birchwood Pie says
Congrats to your husband for making the changes! It’s not going to be easy (except for having all of his meals ready to go, which is pretty huge) but it will be worthwhile. Yes the downsides, there are weeks were we have a “plan” and then family comes in to town or a special event happens that takes us away from home, and of course there are times when your Thursday self doesn’t feel like eating what your Sunday self planned…I’d say that we plan 40% of our meals and let the other 60% just happen.
Beckett @ Birchwood Pie recently posted…Weekly Eats: The Great Catch Up Edition
We have some flexibility and his coach said it’s ok if he deviates (like if he wants lasagna, he is having lasagna), so that helps, but we are trying to follow it as closely as we can.
I CAN eat the same thing everyday, but a lot of this isn’t things I want to eat. We are definitely experimenting with different options and its will work out in the end, I’m sure.
Kim G says
Kudos to your husband for making changes – that’s the most important first step!
I have the same thoughts about meal prep – I was nodding my head in agreement the whole time I read your post. One thing I’ve started to do since working from home is cooking my protein (chicken, shrimp, etc) and just prepping my vegetables on Sundays. That way I can add a sauce or marinade to the veggies so that I feel like I’m eating something new everyday. I like the variety.
That’s a good idea. I hate big batch cooking and that might make it more manageable.
Meal prepping is an art. I love how you’ve laid out the pros and cons and I totally agree with them. I’ve tried and failed many times. At the moment, I don’t meal plan properly BUT the big problem with that is I start grabbing everything in sight when I get home or am hungry. By the way, that photo of the trolley in the grocery aisle is EPIC! What a shot!
I think one of the benefits of having everything ready is so that you DON’T grab everything in sight. We had to make sure everything was cooked, prepped and ready to go so there are not excuses.
Debbie @ Deb Runs says
Wow, your meal prep is impressive! Even though I manage to get a good meal on the table, I am not that organized…
This is not the way I like doing things, if we are being honest, but if it’s helpful to him, I’ll try. This definitely makes it easier for him to stay on track through the day, and we can all benefit from some variety at dinner time. Batch cooking is not my fave.
I think it’s great that he’s trying to make healthy changes! Change is always hard. The key is always to ask: is this a change I can continue for the rest of my life?
Sometimes (often) the answer is no, and yet you take something away from what you’ve tried & add it into your life.
Mr. Pugrunner needs to talk with Mr. Judy. Because obviously I don’t know anything, but if it comes from someone else. 🙂
Mr PugRunner doesn’t listen to me either, LOL! This has his doctor’s hands all over it.
The actual current meal plan probably isn’t sustainable, but it’s a good jump start for the future. It’s definitely going to change his relationship with food and help him manage portions, so that’s good.
Zenaida Arroyo says
Great job at meal prep. During the school year I would make overnight oats to have ready in the morning. Other times it would be just oatmeal.
I like how you state the pros and cons of it. Doesn’t look easy but with careful planning, it can work.
Thank you for linking up with us!
Definitely not easy. Manageable, yes. But not my favorite.
Darlene S. Cardillo says
Wow. Kudos to you and your hubby for tackling this.
A lot of work. I won’t lie. Never work in my house so I hope we stay healthy.
It’s working so far. Of course, we’ve only tackled week one, so…