The one rule for meal prep you might be missing

There are a lot of practical things to consider when prepping meals ahead, whether you are prepping for the week, or batch cooking to freeze and eat later. (More on that in future posts)

However, one very important and often forgotten thing is. . .

Do you like the meal enough to eat it?

It’s all well and good to prep meals ahead. Prepping has so much potential to help us get more nutrients, meet nutrition goals, save time, save money, even try new things. However all the planning and prepping in the world won’t help you unless you actually eat the meals.

Let me give you an example. I made a giant batch of broccoli, cheese, and potato soup. It was fine. It didn’t taste bad, but it was pretty bland, had no texture, and was a not-very-appetizing color.

soup in a bowl with spice and herb garnish
I don’t have a photo, but it was about this color, but much less appetizing-looking as it was in a big ziploc bag instead of this pretty garnished bowl (Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

I put most of it in the freezer. I kept looking at it and choosing something else to eat. Then when I was finally tired of it taking up space in the freezer, I took it out to thaw in the fridge, thinking it would be an easy meal later in the week. Guess what never got eaten and had to get thrown away? And I do NOT like to throw away food.

How do we make sure our hard work prepping meals doesn’t go to waste? Let me introduce you to the leftover rule.

The leftover rule: If I’m not excited to eat the leftovers, it’s not a good meal-prep meal.

Chicken tortilla soup? Yes please. Pulled pork? Meh for me, but my husband likes it as leftovers so it is a yes for us as a family. The kale and sweet potato cheese tart I made last week? It’s a no. My husband’s signature breakfast burritos? Yesssss. Lentil curry or lasagna? Even better as leftovers!

Eating meal-prepped meals is basically eating leftovers, so plan accordingly 🙂 Don’t make something ahead imagining your tastes will magically change.

This rule won’t work for everyone obviously, as some people never like leftovers. However, I find it to be a pretty good indicator of whether I’ll use a meal-prepped meal – and I think because it’s based on your preference it’s pretty generalize-able. Give it a try — see how it affects your meal prep success!

Just remember – the best meal prep won’t help you unless you actually eat the meal, so make sure it’s something you actually like.

P.S. This is especially important if you are just starting meal prepping. When starting a new habit you want to make it as easy as possible. Overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? While I’m not you and can’t guarantee I’ll nail your preferences 100% the first time, I’m pretty good at helping first-time meal preppers choose meals that they will like and eat.

If this sounds like you and you want to work on this together, contact me here

Prefer to watch rather than read?

My #1 rule for meal prep

This post is intended to be informational only and is not medical or nutritional advice. If you have questions about your unique needs, ask about a custom meal plan or speak with a registered dietitian-nutritionist near you.

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