I am always motivated when planning grocery shopping based on Pinterest meal prep ideas. However, the idea of physically buying an ingredient in bulk, there are two factors that I keep in mind, date of expiry and the dimensions of the food cause I need to store them in the fridge. Often, in midweek, my appetite for the cooked meal diminishes and I start craving for other food nowadays. I don’t want to eat or see the prepped meal anymore. Instances where I try to not cook in advance and prepare before going to work, I will be too tired to prepare it prior or wake up just in time to go off to work. This results in wastage of food and spaces in the fridge uncleared.
I am constantly looking into new recipes that can incorporate food that I love that are easy and quickly to prepare. I browse through pinterest as though they are magazines of a tabloid magazine before I go to sleep and am always amazed with the new posts of popular acai bowls, poke bowls or oatmeal prep and want to follow. The effort to create a perfectly curated meal that is Instagram worthy are masterpieces to upload on my feed but something that I may just take a bite or two before I opt for grilled chicken/seafood or fish that fills my craving instead.
Though I wanted to become a meal prep queen. Well, my internal self and the rest of the siblings didn’t agree with it. Family constantly chiding on my bulk of ingredients in the freezer and my various sauces laid out on top of the kitchen oven. They constantly buy my dinner instead of thawing my food for me before I reach home from work.
Needlessly to say, there are a lot of benefits to meal prep:
- Saving money
- Less food waste
- Decreased temptation to order delivery
- Developing healthier habits
- Eating less packaged and processed foods
Superb, right? Not so much for me.
Though the benefits of meal prep are pretty tempting, for me, it created more rules and control around eating — something that affected my relationship with food. I believe food is fuel and nourishment. If we put good things in our body, we get good things out. However, meal prep gets in the way of my freedom, enjoyment, and love for food.
Here’s why I can never stick to Meal prepping
Cravings overpowering body signals
My brain signals are so powerful to push those signals to really listen to my body. My body would tell me that I needed fried chicken or maybe even a piece of salmon sushi despite my efforts to meal-prep, which was oatmeal with fruits. I’d eat it and feel unsatisfied and still hungry at the end of my meal. Being able to listen to what my body is telling me allows me to leave meals feeling more satisfied. Sometimes those meals are nutrient-dense and other times they’re not. Our bodies want to be fed well.
Indulging in a negative relationship with food
I find that trying to control the what, when, and how I eat had a negative impact on my mental health. Since meal prep has to be healthy, I rarely include “indulgent” ingredients on my meals. This in turn labelled many favourite ingredients as bad while vegetables as good despite how I, not used to the taste of it and often reluctant to eat it. At times I rather starve than eat the food I prepared as I was simply not enjoy what I am eating or hates chewing the broccoli and swallowing them
The amount of website links bookmarked on my browser – all focusing on good recipes – is crazy. Often, I get attracted by how refreshing it looks and yet appetizing but I can never follow their recipe when grocery shopping, especially deciding the entire week’s menu. This in-depth decision making drains my energy to actually lay out my Tupperware for my food and often opt for Salad bowl from Stuff’d instead.
Guilty when dining
Eating with friends is one of my greatest joys in life. It’s never about the food but the conversation and synergy with your peers. When I was meal prepping previously, my mind would trigger guilt despite knowing that I am able to just eat the next day.
All that said, I learned that my meals do not have to be perfectly proportioned, well-rounded meals. Eating healthy is beyond any kind of food planning and it’s so much more fulfilling not worrying about what’s on my actual plate but more focused on having sufficient nutrients in life.