Meal Prepping vs. Fresh Cooking

To meal prep or not to meal prep. That is the question at hand. Do you prefer meal prepping in advance of the start of the week or fresh cooking every day?

I used to meal prep religiously every Sunday afternoon or night from around 2009 until 2020. That is 11 years of meal prepping. And then all of a sudden, my husband and I started cooking everything fresh. I’ve started really thinking about what’s best for someone living with an autoimmune disease and I don’t have the be-all-end-all solution for you. However, I’ll share the pros and cons and you can decide what works for you depending on your daily/weekly routine.

Meal Prepping

Meal prepping, means preparing all your food for the week ahead of time. In the past, for me, this included breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as organizing snacks for the week. This worked really well for me because I was working in an office and I would eat breakfast and lunch at my desk and then dinner immediately when I got home or after the gym. I was well nourished and I didn’t end up ordering food too often out of fatigue or laziness.

Sunday Meal Prep
A Sunday Meal Prep Picture From Year’s Ago

I loved meal prepping. It gave me control, and organization and I was setting myself up for success each day. Meal prepping comes with the need to meal plan. And while I do not currently meal prepping once a week, meal planning hasn’t changed for me. It’s still very key to leading a nourished life.

Many years ago, I discovered a tool called Real Plans and it made meal planning so much simpler. To this day I still use the platform to plan out our meals. The way we prep our meals has just changed. So when did it change and why?

Cooking Fresh

Along came 2020 and like many of you, our routines changed. I was pregnant with our twins, we had just moved across the country and there was a pandemic with lockdowns. When my husband and I moved to Vancouver Island in 2020, we started cooking fresh instead of meal-prepping. I had arrived in Port Alberni at the beginning of January 2020, my husband then drove across the country and landed the day Canada basically went into lockdown in March of 2020. My husband really stepped into the role of chef during this time and would cook our dinners fresh every night. I barely had any energy at the end of a workday to stand up with the weight of the twins in my belly. Leftovers would then become my lunch the next day. And I only really need to prepare a few breakfast meals a week.

Chicken Marsala

There is just something about a freshly cooked meal instead of heating it up in the microwave. Of course, the whole topic of using microwaves is a loaded one. But even just heating up a meal on a stovetop is sometimes less than ideal. I also definitely noticed that in our shift to cooking fresh that we wasted less food. We weren’t throwing out as much food at the end of the week due to spoilage.

Pros And Cons of Meal Prep vs. Cooking Fresh

Here are my pros and cons to meal prepping or cooking fresh…

Meal Prepping– Order Out Less
– Save Time & Energy During The Week
– Food Can Spoil If You Don’t Eat It
– Doesn’t Always Taste Fresh
Cooking Fresh– Fresh Food
– Flavourful
– Need Time & Energy Daily
– End Up Ordering Out When Tired

I remember when I shared my meal-prepping ways on social media one of the many questions I would get over and over again was “Is it safe to eat meat at the end of the week?” I never had an issue but some might.

Regardless of whether your meal prepping or cooking fresh the meal planning part is still an integral part of setting yourself up for success. That way you know what you’re eating every single day and don’t have to take time or energy each day to figure that out.

What Meal Prep Looks Like For Us These Days

We moved back to Ontario in April of 2021 and have found a new routine in our house and as twin parents. I still sit down on Saturday or Sunday to meal plan for the week. I place an online pickup order at our local grocery store and my husband grabs the groceries on Monday morning. While my husband still cooks dinners every night, I’ve also started meal-prepping a few key meals for us. On Monday, I’ll make a key breakfast meal like Maple Sage Breakfast Patties that will last us a few days. Then on Tuesday, I’ll make an Instant Pot soup like AIP Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup that will last us for a few lunches that week. So while I’m still meal prepping, it’s no longer being done on Sunday afternoons or evenings just throughout the week as my work schedule allows.

Do you like meal planning?

Are you busy on Wednesday, October 12th? I’m hosting a Meal Planning Masterclass at 8 pm ET if you’d like to see how I use Real Plans to meal plan.

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