The world of social media (Instagram especially) makes meal prep seem way more glamorous than it actually is. First of all, you probably don’t have perfectly matching containers (all glass, of course) and second, you almost certainly don’t have the four hours on Sunday to make all the food each and every week. While we love to meal prep when we can, travel, family and friend events, and just honestly the lack of desire to cook for that long means there are weeks when we don’t meal prep. But that doesn’t mean we don’t focus on nutrition – we just utilize a couple healthy meal replacement options to stay on track without stressing out.
Healthy Meal Replacement Options:
Meal replacement doesn’t mean you should just buy whatever calorie-dense shake you can find on the market – because news flash many are filled with less-than-healthy ingredients. Below we’ve outlined three different strategies for when you simply don’t have the time – or the desire – to make your own meals from scratch.
Blue Apron or Hello Fresh meal service
Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are both more expensive than going to the grocery store, picking up your own food, and then finding your own recipes to use the food. However, they are also WAY more convenient and you can pick the meals which best align with your goals. Order a couple of boxes for the week, and your dinner is already planned, purchased, and ready for you much quicker than having to prep all your own food.
Pre-Cooked Food Service
If you’re local to Indianapolis, we are huge fans of a meal prep company called Herculean which makes meals and then vacuum seals and freezes them for consumption at a later date. These meals are always extremely healthy, macro friendly, and taste great with a simple 5:00 date with your microwave. If you aren’t in Indianapolis, Kettlebell Kitchen is a nation-wide company offering a very similar service. Kettlebell Kitchen can be ordered directly to your door, and while more expensive than Blue Apron or Hello Fresh the food is already cooked and ready to go. Higher convenience seems to correlate with higher price in this market.
Meal Replacement Shake
These supplements are often referred to as “mass gainers” because people use them when they are trying to gain weight as an extra meal which is easily consumed throughout the day. However, if you’re in a huge rush, you can also use these supplements as one of the healthy meal replacement options in your tool belt.
The key to buying a good meal replacement shake is to read the ingredients. If you cannot pronounce any of them…that’s a sign you should walk away. Almost all meal replacement shakes will have some sugar – and that’s okay. You usually will be using this in a pinch when you’re coming to and from the gym, and sugar in your system in that time frame isn’t just okay – it’s actually preferred. Don’t make a habit of replacing real food with these, but when you’re super rushed on time, a good meal replacement shake is an excellent choice.
Which is the best?
The best option for you depends entirely on your situation and how you’re using the product. If you are an early morning workout fanatic and don’t have the time to eat whole food after a tough workout (or simply don’t want to do due to not being very hungry) then the meal replacement shake is definitely your go to option. If you love to cook but hate to shop, check out Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. And if you simply hate to cook, a local option like Herculean or Kettlebell Kitchen to buy cooked meals from is going to change your world.