When I started out on my meal prep journey, I tried my hand at preparing five to seven days worth of meals in one go. This turned out to be a huge mistake and a source of a lot of frustration. Not only would I get overwhelmed by preparing so many meals in one go, the meals were often “off” by the end of the week or just didn’t taste fresh any more. I ended up throwing away food in the process.
The key to meal prepping efficiently is to schedule a timeslot two days per week to meal prep! Preparing meals two days per week will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of meal prep without compromising food safety, taste, and meal variety. It will also reduce food waste, and meal prep sessions will be less overwhelming and stressful compared to preparing meals only once per week.
Read on to find out why you shouldn’t meal prep only once per week and how many times per week you should be preparing meals.
This post is all about: Don’t Meal Prep Only Once Per Week! Here’s Why…
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Meal Prep Only Once Per Week…
The first and arguably most important reason that you shouldn’t meal prep only once per week for the rest of the (work) week is food safety.
Most prepared meals maintain their freshness for up to four days in the refrigerator, according to the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Preparing meals more than four days ahead of time is simply not safe and can cause food borne illness.
Side note: You can safely store prepared meals in the freezer for up to six months, however, you need to keep in mind that not all prepared meals are freezer friendly and that the quality of your meals can change.
Another reason you shouldn’t meal prep only once per week is taste!
Alongside freshness, prepared meals only maintain their quality for up to four days in the refrigerator, according to the FDA. If you want your meals to remain tasty, you shouldn’t be preparing them too many days in advance.
Believe it or not, there are more reasons. One of the most popular arguments against meal prep is the lack of variety. A lot of people don’t want to eat “the same thing every day”. If you meal prep more than once per week, you still enjoy the convenience of not having to cook every day, while introducing more variety into your weekly menu.
Food waste is another strong reason not to meal prep only once per week. If you prepare all your meals for the next five to seven days, you are bound to waste at least some of those meals. Realistically, there is always that one day in the week that you feel like going out for a sushi buffet date or lunch with your friends.
When you unexpectedly don’t manage to eat your prepared meal, you will most likely end up throwing it away. And, is there anything worse than throwing away food?
Last but not least, meal prepping all your meals for five to seven days can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. Especially if you are just starting out on your meal prep journey. Just don’t do it!
How Many Times A Week Should You Meal Prep?
The key to meal prepping efficiently is to schedule a timeslot two days per week to meal prep! It could be every Sunday and Wednesday, every Monday and Thursday, or any other two days that are convenient for your schedule.
On the days that you choose to meal prep, I recommend to meal prep three days worth of meals. Since most prepared meals maintain their freshness for up to four days, even when you skip a meal, you will never waste any food.
Following this meal prep strategy will give you the assurance that your meals are always safe to eat, taste fresh, and you’ll never eat the same thing all week again!
If you are focussed on convenience and want to meal prep only once per week, make sure to prepare meals that are freezer friendly for the second half of the week. Store those meals in the freezer until you are ready to eat them.
3-Day Meal Prep Plans To Try
To help you prepare meals two days per week as efficiently as possible, I have developed a variety of 3-Day Meal Prep Plans. These plans include three days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. All the meals in the plans are nutritionally balanced and include sources of protein, starch, vegetables, and fat. They are designed for meal prep and will maintain their freshness and quality in the fridge for up to four days.
Below are a few examples you can try.
Meal Prep Plan: 3-Day High Protein Vegan Meal Prep [Soy-Free]
Looking to include more plant-based protein into your diet? It couldn’t be easier with this soy free, high protein vegan meal prep!
Meal Prep Plan: 3-Day Vegan Jar Meal Prep [Fall Recipes Edition]
No meal prep containers? No problem! Jar meal prep to the rescue. These meal ideas can be stored in jars: Overnight Oats, Kale Salad, Minestrone Soup.
Meal Prep Plan: 3-Day Budget Vegan Meal Prep [Japanese Recipes Edition]
You can absolutely get a budget vegan meal prep done, without sacrificing taste and nutrition. Follow this easy plan to meal prep on a budget!
Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to let me know, by leaving a comment below.
This post was all about: Don’t Meal Prep Only Once Per Week! Here’s Why…