In Defense of Not Meal Prepping: Why One Writer Won't Jump on the Health Trend
There’s one common theme that takes over my Instagram feed on Sunday nights—meal prepping. Perfectly organized Tupperware containers stocked with brown rice and brussels sprout show up in story after story after story. For so many, it seems like Sunday afternoons aren’t spent unwinding in front of the TV, but in the kitchen preparing home-cooked and good-for-you dishes. Now, I’m not saying it’s anything new. Meal prepping has always been a thing, but thanks to social media, it’s in your face 24/7. Oh, and I’m NOT here for it.
Let me preface this by saying I totally understand why one would meal prep, and I think it’s awesome and admirable. My mom used to make our lunches the night before for years, and I can't thank her enough for taking the time out of her day to do this for me and my siblings. Instead of school pizza, we had lovely sandwiches and fresh fruit. It also saves money, helps you make healthier choices, keeps you away from the work vending machine, and if you have a family and work, it’s pretty life-changing.
But I should also say I’ve been shamed multiple times for not participating at this given time in my life. Of course, I have my reasons, and I’m using this essay as an outlet to defend why I'm not stepping up to the meal-prep challenge and spending hours on Sunday in the kitchen.
Cooking? It's not my thing.
I know plenty of people who have said that they've actually improved their cooking skills by practicing every Sunday night, but I'm a horrible cook. No, but really. I don't even have butter in the fridge. I think it's a science my brain doesn't fully understand, and I don't find any pleasure in it either. Maybe if I take a class and learn how to uses spices and my broiler the right way I'll change my mind, but every time I make an elaborate meal, I end up feeling like I'm eating cardboard. And trust, there's nothing more depressing than a cardboard lunch on a Monday afternoon, let me tell you.
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I need Sundays to chill.
Sunday scaries is a real thing, and I tend to use the time I'd prep meals to totally zone out and prepare for the week ahead (mentally, anyway) in front of the television, on the treadmill, or with a book. Would I be happier with lunch the next day if I took the time? Maybe! Would I be as calm when six "time-sensitive" emails came in at once? NOPE.
I'd rather wake up early and make my lunch.
Yep, I still bring my lunch... I just don't make it way ahead of time. I'm an early bird. I am legitimately a happier person in the morning and more willing to take on annoying life tasks. Returning that shirt that didn't fit? Sure! Picking up dry cleaning? Why not! Making my salad and chicken salad sandwich at 7 a.m.? Happy to! One day, when I have kids and have to get them prepped for their day, I realize I will not have this luxury and mornings will be more hectic. But for right now, I'm living it up in the a.m. with my arugula.
I actually don't own, like, any Tupperware.
This is a bad excuse, but if I'm being honest, my Tupperware cabinet is so incredibly sad. It's not organized, everything falls out the minute you open the cabinet door, and I don't have the right size containers for lunch. They're either really tiny and made for salad dressing or they're the huge containers your grandmother packs with leftover spaghetti and meatballs before you leave her house—none of which fit in my cross-body bag.
Like I said, one day I might give it a try, but right now I'm OK with the morning grind and my somewhat sad desk lunches. And just like I would never, ever shame anyone for spending their Sunday afternoon prepping delicious-looking chicken (for the record, I want every snack I see on Instagram), no one should shame me either.