What is the difference and why should I do it?
Meal planning is exactly what it sounds like. Planning the meals you are going to eat each day, week, or month. This can involve determining the calories or macronutrients you need, looking up recipes for different types of diets you may be interested in trying, figuring out portion sizes, creating a grocery list, or carving out a time in your day when you will cook everything.
Meal prepping is actually preparing the food in advance. Typically this means cooking in bulk once or twice a week and portioning the meals and snacks for each day.
Meal planning and meal prepping should go hand in hand in order to be successful. If you have a meal plan, but don’t follow through with the meal prep, then the plan is useless. If you meal prep, but don’t plan ahead, you may be making too much food or not enough food. You may forget to buy certain ingredients or eat too many calories. In order to reach your goals, you need both.
Meal prepping takes time upfront, but will save time in the long run since you are not having to cook dinner each night or prepare a lunch for work each day. Set aside time once or twice a week to cook in bulk and you'll be set.
Meal planning is where I see people struggle the most. Especially people who aren’t familiar with nutrition or don’t have the extra time in their day to put the plan together. Having a plan will only benefit you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, learn to cook, master portion sizes, or save time and money, a meal plan will help. Meal plans typically include a calorie or macronutrient goal to hit, recipes, portion sizes, and grocery lists.
If you don’t know where to start or don’t have the time to create your own meal plan, Planned Plate will soon offer 4 week programs to get you started on your journey. Enter your name and email below if you would like to see a sample of what the meal plans look like. And check out the next blog post to read about the benefits of meal planning and prepping!