“If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.” A phrase heard in the kitchens of many body builders, athletes and successful dieters. When it comes to your food, this phrase is correct.

Meal prepping is simply cooking a large amount of food then portioning it out for a week or even just a few days. You can enjoy your meal directly out of the refrigerator or by popping it into the microwave.

Meal prepping is helpful for those of us who are still trying to keep our New Year resolutions of healthy living or managing a budget.

Briannia McCullough, a senior at UNC Charlotte, explains why she incorporates meal prepping into her daily routine.

“I meal prep for convenience, portion control and for the joy of cooking. It allows me to plan for the week and keeps me from spending too much money on fast food. ”

Photo by Quan Siler


Here are three other reasons why meal prepping is so efficient:

Meal Prepping saves you time

We all know that cooking a delicious, healthy meal can take precious time from your day. For those who are busy with school and work, meal prepping is the prefect instrument to save you a lot of time.

The most common time to cook food for the week is either Sunday or Monday. Yes, you may spend two or three hours in the kitchen on these prep days, but that means time you do not have to spend cooking for the rest of the week.

If making breakfast, lunch and dinner, in total, takes you an hour each day, that means seven hours a week. This shows that by meal prepping, you are saving four extra hours.

Meal prepping saves you money

The average American spends about $1,200 on fast food every year.

By meal prepping, you are cutting down the number of times you eat fast food. Instead of eating out three or four times a week, you may only go out once. That means you are only spending $400 a year in comparison.

Meal prepping saves your diet

One of the reasons why most people surrender to fast food restaurants or vending machines is because of convenience. When your stomach begins to rumble and you become weak with hunger, the last thing you want to do it stand in front of a stove and cook a meal. A quick and easy option, such as a bag of chips at the gas station or burger combo from a drive-thru, is also the unhealthiest.

Meal prepping saves you from getting into this predicament. Because your food is already made and packed, all you need to do is throw it in a lunch box, a purse or a book bag and take it with you. In the moments when you feeling yourself being tempted by the donuts in your workplace’s lounge or the two-for-one burger special, you know you already have a prepped meal waiting for you.

McCullough goes on to offer some advice to those you who are considering meal prepping.

“I challenge any student juggling a busy college schedule to try meal prep for a week. You will see how much time and money you save.”