I Refuse to Meal Prep — And I Swear It’s Saving Me Time AND Money

updated Jan 23, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Hot take: I strongly believe that meal prepping does not save you time or money. This is a controversial opinion, I know, (just look at this very site or browse the 11 million-plus #mealprep posts on Instagram), but I haven’t meal prepped in years, and my life is so much better — and less stress-y — because of it. I officially give you permission to take a hard pass.

Here are three legit reasons not to meal prep.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Real life is too busy to stick to a meal prep plan.

Let’s be real here: Life gets busy. There are so many reasons why you may not end up eating the food you cooked on Sunday. Let’s say you made a big pot of chili with the intention of warming it up throughout the week. But Monday night drinks with friends turns into “Let’s order dinner, too.” On Tuesday, you end up having to work late and grab takeout while you power through that deadline. By Wednesday, that chili is starting to smell a little funky. Into the compost bin it goes. And along with it, the valuable time and money you spent buying and cooking ingredients. Bummer.

I’ve tossed so many well-intentioned meals because they just didn’t fit into my busy schedule. While I love the idea of sticking to a strict meal plan, I would rather live my life and allow for flexible and social eating. By taking a hard pass on the weekly meal prep, I no longer guilt myself for spontaneous meals out. And I don’t waste time, money, or food on meals that I’m not going to actually eat.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Leftovers are not tasty.

There. I’ve said it. Very few foods actually taste better a day or two later. Plus, the more you have to eat leftovers, the less appealing they become. Additionally, it’s majorly ambitious to assume you’re going to crave the same flavors and textures three out of five days next week. By forcing yourself to eat out of alignment with your real preferences, you’re stifling the creative joy that food brings.

I prefer to eat intuitively, which means I ask myself the following questions before meals and snacks: Am I really hungry? What sounds best to my body and mind right now? I love having the freedom to make food decisions based on my changing moods; it makes me feel much more nourished and vibrantly healthy in the long term.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

3. Weekends should be spent weekend-ing.

You know what is not fun? Spending hours shopping for food, rinsing pounds of greens, roasting veggies, and washing a zillion pots and pans at a time. You know what makes it even less fun? Doing it on a weekend. People, we all work hard: We deserve to spend our days off relaxing and playing!

When I meal prepped, it became a chore that I dreaded almost as much as going in to the office on Monday morning. Blergh. Now I spend my days off going for hikes, reading, and connecting with friends. Any stress that comes from not having a meal game plan is relieved by the fact that I have a few organic soups, and boxes of mac and cheese (gotta love Annie’s!) stashed away in my cupboards. I know that I won’t go hungry, and I won’t succumb to eating French fries for dinner all week long.

Are you also anti-meal prep? I know I can’t be the only one! Discuss in the comments below!