Blog , Lifestyle and Entertainment

Benefits of Meal Prep

Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2024
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
Benefits of Meal Prep

Meal prep is short for meal preparation, the process by which one plans and prepares meals in advance for a set number of days. Though the practice of preparing and assembling dishes ahead is largely associated with dieting, the truth is that everyone can benefit from cooking entire meals in bulk and ahead of time. The idea is that you prep/cook an assortment of meals at one time and create enough dishes to last the week.

Good stuff to know first:

  • You are essentially preparing make-ahead meals. Many of these foods will require refrigeration and/or freezer space.
  • Also needed are food prep containers for storing individual meal portions. Lidded and reusable food storage containers are optimal for divvying up portions, storing, and transporting individual serving sizes. To keep the ingredients fresh, and to avoid leaks, choose those containers which are airtight.
  • Blocks of time are also essential for shopping, cooking, and preparing meals. Kitchen space, tools, and some appliances are needed, too.

Benefits of meal preparation include:

  • Buying in bulk saves money.
  • Meal prepping saves time on daily cooking.
  • One consumes higher quality foods.
  • One eats better tasting foods.
  • It improves the variety of one’s diet.
  • It reduces unhealthy food temptations.
  • It reduces food waste.
  • Foods can be tailored to health or allergy needs.
  • It’s fun and creative.

Wondering where to start?

  • Set the stage. Decide how many meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) and days you will be prepping for, and the number of people you wish to feed. Most people prep food for up to five days. Choose one day to pick your recipes and shop, and begin the meal prep. Per Good Housekeeping, most people prefer to meal prep on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Select your recipes. Most people concentrate on including a variety of nutritious foods in their meal prep plans. It’s best to stick with easy to make basics you enjoy such as chicken, couscous, vegetables, and beans, as examples. Recipes should overlap in some ingredients to avoid food waste. For instance, one may prepare roasted chicken with potatoes for one meal and make chicken and rice enchiladas for another, also using the roasted chicken. Find meal inspirations on Pinterest or through food recipe apps.
  • Prepare a grocery list based on recipe ingredients. What you essentially will be doing is shopping in bulk. When making your list, arrange things in shopping order: produce, meats, cheeses, dairy, pantry, frozen foods, etc. Using an orderly list as described helps prevent oversights and makes shopping a breeze. Or use a grocery list app instead.
  • Head to the market. When shopping, stick to your list and only buy what you need. If desired, take shortcuts by buying pre-chopped, pre-peeled, or pre-diced and pre-sliced ingredients. Or, to save money, plan time to prep these items yourself if preferred. Don’t forget to include healthy foods in your meals, such as fruit, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Come home and create your meals. Allow a block of uninterrupted time to prep, cook and create individual portions. Do factor in time for cleaning up as well. Interested in cleaning tips? Check out Spring cleaning. 

Now that your meal prep is underway, enjoy these additional bonus tips:

For the containers: Some people prefer to use bento boxes with stationary or removable dividers rather than single serving containers. This allows them to section off ingredients to achieve maximum freshness.

For meats: Cook meat together using one preferred method. For example, roast the chicken in the oven all at once. Then, for flavor variety, season individual portions as desired. Change things up by playing with different spices like rosemary, thyme, paprika, garlic, and more. 

For starches and whole grains: Cook generous portions of rice, couscous, quinoa, and potatoes. Use them as bases of various recipes, with some meals containing rice and others containing couscous, quinoa, or potatoes. 

For vegetables/beans: For variety, switch up the vegetables/beans that accompany each meal.

For sauces: Often, prepared sauces can be kept separate, reheated, and added to a meal upon serving. This keeps meal prep food from getting soggy.

For food longevity: When meal prepping, always consider the freshness dates and longevity of foods. Avoid preparing more than you can store and safely eat. One may freeze some pre-cooked meals to extend the food’s “shelf life.” However, be aware that not all foods are freezer friendly.

Happy meal prepping!

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

The AMAC Foundation Logo

Support the AMAC Foundation. Our 501(c)(3) powers the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Services. This team of nationally accredited advisors offers on-time, on-the-mark guidance for those approaching or receiving Social Security – at no cost.

Donate Now
Share this article:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Join or Renew Today!

Money-Saving Benefits News, Podcasts, & Magazine A Strong Voice on Capitol Hill
All Membership Packages Include Your Spouse for FREE!



Fast & Easy !



You save $6



Save 25%



1 Payment

You can also print and mail your membership application. Download the application
Baked Potato Salad
Young People on the Move!
Road Trip
Tasty Tarragon & Chive Green Salad

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games