If you’re serious about your nutrition, most people would say you need to prep your food on the weekend (typically Sundays) to prepare for the coming week. Until recently, I would have agreed that this was an important step in getting ready for the week. It was one of my tricks for fitting it all in a busy week.
Then I stopped. And I realized how much stress was removed from my weekend. Maybe weekly meal prep isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be?
When You Should Quit Weekly Meal Prep
At the beginning of the year, we started spending at least one day most weekends in the mountains for snowboarding adventures. Saturdays were precious and awesome. So much fun, so little time. Then Sunday would hit and I would cram everything I still needed to do into that one day.
By 3PM, I was a stressed mess. Realizing I always had so much to do and 2-3 hours would be dedicated to meal prep. If I didn’t have that time, my whole week would be shot. By 10PM, I might be finished, but I was wiped out. I would have spent my whole day “getting things done”, with little time to actually rest from the week.
I decided to take stock of my day and where I was spending my time. What did I enjoy and what could be shifted to another time. The biggest chunk of time was spent planning my meals for the week, grocery shopping, and then prepping all those meals for the upcoming week. I wasn’t enjoying cooking and that is unusual for me.
Then I decided to try something different. What if I stopped prepping all my meals at once? Instead, I could prep just a few days of food at once. The first week I tried this, I was worried I would run out of time. The thing is – I didn’t! Every week it’s gotten even easier and I reclaimed a BIG chunk of my weekend.
Tips for quitting weekly meal prep:
- Plan a breakfast that can be made in the morning – less than 10 minutes from start to finish.
- Plan simple meals for during the day. These are the meals you will prep ahead, just a few days at a time.
- If you want a more elaborate meal, save that for dinner and know you’ll want more time to prep.
- Enlist your (or kids) spouse for help!
This wasn’t the only change I made to my Sunday, but it was the largest impact on my time. I also have moved my meal planning to earlier in the week (Ideally a little at a time) and Kirk has been doing the grocery shopping. These changes add up in a big way!
When Weekly Meal Prep Is a Good Idea
Now I don’t think my approach works for everyone. In fact I think there are times when using the weekly meal prep makes a lot of sense.
If you’re just starting a structured nutrition plan, the weekly meal prep can help you get used to the change. Especially if you’ve been making excuses to not stick to your plan.
If you find joy in the weekly meal prep, there’s also no reason to stop! For me, it was taking the joy out of cooking, so moving away is right for me, right now.
If getting your meal prep out of the way is lowering your stress level, prepping is a good thing for you. I don’t think there’s one answer that applies to everyone. My goal was to lower stress by quitting meal prep, so you should keep doing it if the result is opposite for you.
What other reasons can you think of where weekly meal prep is the right decision? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!
Questions for you:
Do you meal prep? How does it fit into your schedule?