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.
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Do you have any tips to make meal prep less daunting?
Any favorite recipes to share?