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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Banning

4 Meal Plan Options to Fit Your Lifestyle


We love cooking and gathering around the kitchen... sometimes.


There are days when the idea of coming up with a creative meal seems like it will be the straw the broke the camels back(...that's such a weird saying).


Cooking takes time. Meal prepping takes time. Being healthy takes time.


…and sometimes time is not a luxury.


When you’re running from job to job or coming home late on a Tuesday after back to back meetings, the last thing I want to think about is cooking a meal from scratch. I know it’s supposedly healthier and cost effective, but it doesn’t work for my lifestyle every night of the week.


This is why we want to be realistic with you.


We know not everyone has the time to cook insta-worthy meals every day. If you do, we have plenty of options on our website. For those of you who are looking for an easier option. This is the blog for you.


We wanted to lay out some options including the pros and cons for each so you can make the best choice for yourself and your family.


Can you be really healthy with only one of these options? Yes.


Can you be really healthy eating out for every meal? Yes.


Any one of these options can lead you down the road of health and longevity. They'll require you to pay attention to certain things, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work for you.


When reading through the pros and cons, think about what you value most about your life (time spent at work, time spent with loved ones, money saved, stress levels, etc.) and the level of health you want to have.


1. Pre-made meals or Delivery/Take-Out


A pre-made meal is something you either drive to get or gets delivered. It’s stored in the fridge or freezer and when pulled out you can either dive right in or heat it up and it’s ready to go. Many delivery services also fall into this category.


We don't use this option particularly often as the cons outweigh the pros for us and we find portions to be too small, but could be a good option for people who are constantly on the move or have unexpected schedules. Some examples are Project Lean Nation, Trifecta, Get Fit Foods and Nourished Charlotte. (If you're in the area, Nourished Charlotte is a particular favorite of ours.)


Pros

Convenient

No prep required

A lot of variety

Fastest option

Requires less fridge space


Cons

Typically, the most expensive option ($10+/meal)

You don’t learn how to cook or which spices pair well together.

You can’t control the ingredients

You can’t control the portion sizes if you need more to eat

Packaging waste

Not always the freshest option


2. Meal Kit Service


This is a meal from a meal kit service that provides you with all of the ingredients and instructions you'll need to create a meal.


This is an option we enjoy and utilize from time to time in our lives. When things get really busy or right after our son was born, we subscribed to one of these to help ease the load of making dinner. Some examples are HelloFresh, Green Chef, Blue Apron and Sunbasket. We've tried a few of these and are particularly impressed with Green Chef. The meals are interesting, easy to follow, organic and flavorful. We love that it gives us the opportunity to try new flavors and combinations.


Pros

Convenient

Minimal prep required

Still a quick option, it just takes time to cook the meal.

You can learn which spices pair well with certain foods.

Great option for people who want to learn to cook.

A lot of variety Requires less fridge space


Cons

Prices usually range from $7/meal to $13/meal so slightly cheaper than a meal delivery option

You can’t control the ingredients

You can’t control the portion sizes if you need more to eat

Packaging waste

Not the freshest option

Can get redundant after a while


3. Meal Prepping for Yourself


This is a meal you’ve meal prepped that requires you to spend some time in advance to take assorted ingredients and combine them into a meal for future use.


For example, on Sundays I like to cook some assorted veggies and shredded chicken with some seasoning for the week. Once the food has been cooked and portioned into containers, I store the food in the fridge until I'm ready to have it for my meal. At which time, I often add some raw greens, oil and vinegar.


Pros

You have control over ingredients

You have control over the portion sizes

Prep usually only takes a few hours for a week’s worth of meals

Once the prep is complete, the meals are pretty easy to put together.

Good time saver Probably the most cost-effective option

Great option for those who want to have a lot of control over their meals, but don’t care as much about having a lot of variety No packaging waste


Cons

Potentially less variety since you’re probably using the same ingredients for multiple meals

Meal prep takes time

Not the freshest option


4. Cook each meal separately


A meal from this category is anything you make from scratch. This is my wife's preferred method when she has the time. She enjoys the variety and freshness by making her meals as needed as much as possible.


Pros

You have control over ingredients

You have control over the portion sizes

Always fresh

No packaging waste Tons of variety Can be a cost-effective option


Cons

Takes the longest amount of time

Takes up the most space in the fridge.

Requires creativity

Whats the Best Option for YOU?

Each week will bring its own challenges and any combination of each of these strategies could be utilized to create a pretty healthy nutritional week that works for your family. Try out a few different options within your week and let us know which worked best for you?


Comments


KEEP IT pretty SIMPLE

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