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Meal Prepping in Vancouver - Lifestyle Choice or Basic Need?



Meal prep: The process of planning and preparing meals. It involves cooking in large quantities and dividing the food into daily consumption portions.


Meal prepping became popularized in the fitness industry in the 90s. This way of preparing food was seen and advertised at the time as a solution to maintaining a healthy diet. You wanted to bulk up? Lose weight? Whatever your goal was, preparing your meals in advance would help you stick to that diet.


However, meal preparation has become popular recently because of our busy lifestyles. Spending less time at home and situations in which both parents in a family have to work full-time jobs to feed everyone, make grocery shopping in the middle of the week and cooking a living nightmare.


As a student in Vancouver, you will face a similar situation: working 20hrs - 40hrs a week, plus school. With a schedule like this, healthy eating goes out the window most times, as you will grab whatever food you have available for a quick bite before going to class or a shift at work. But what if you had healthy meals already in your fridge, waiting to be picked up?


With meal prepping, you can spend two hours on a Sunday cooking and forget about food prep for the rest of the week.


Let me analyze this food trend from 3 angles:

  1. Saving money

  2. Saving time

  3. Reducing food waste


Saving money

This first option is for all of you looking to save some money. Imagine what you can do with a little extra cash! You can visit one of the city's many local restaurants, drink with some friends, or do whatever your heart desires.


By cooking in large quantities, you can make yourself lunch and dinner for many days and ensure you have a delicious meal every time.


Let's give you an example: You buy rice and a tray of chicken from Canadian Superstore. You cook 2 cups of rice and put the chicken in the oven in one of those bags with spices. The result? Rice for four meals and 3 to 4 chicken breasts. You divide them into 4 containers, and there you go! Lunch for Mon - Thu. The total price is around $20, and if you divide it by four… you just had lunch for $5 a day!


To give you an idea, having lunch outside means spending at least $10, even if you go to Subway, Tim Hortons or pizza places (unless you get full with two slices). Let's go through another round of quick math!


Eating out = $10 x 4 = $40

Meal prep = $5 x 4 = $20

My friend, you just saved $20 or 14 cans of Old Milwaukee beer at the liquor store 😉.


Saving time

If you are not in it for the money, let's talk about saving time. Do you like spending time swiping through recipes in your mind, coming up with a meal plan every day and deciding on your meals only to find out you don't have the right ingredients?


Without exaggerating, you can probably spend 10 min per meal, just thinking. That's 20 minutes, including lunch and dinner, that could be better spent working on a school project, reading, playing, or watching your favourite Disney+ series.


Having ready-to-eat healthy snacks and food means you will only have to open the fridge, pick a meal, heat it up, and enjoy!


Reducing food waste

This angle is more for the socially conscious group. Wasting food feels terrible! Especially after seeing how many homeless people are in this city.


The problem with food waste is that whenever we go buy groceries, we do it based on a specific dish that we want to make and most of the time, the quantity that we find is more than what we can eat. This is especially true with herbs and salads.


Meal prepping lets you reduce food waste, as you cook to maximize the ingredients that you have and cooking in large quantities ensures you use most of what you buy. But meal prepping does come with a downside – you have a lot of repeat meals 🙃. So, if you don’t like having the same dish over and over again, we have a relatively cheap solution for you. Introducing the meal delivery service in British Columbia!


Meal delivery services have gained popularity in Vancouver because:

a) They reduce the number of times you go buy groceries

b) Fresh ingredients are delivered to your doorstep every week

c) You can eat healthy food at an affordable price


Let me tell you quickly how this works. You go on a website and select a meal plan. Then, after you tell them how many meals you want to buy per week and pay, you get to meal selection. In this section, you are able to tailor your recipes by specifying dietary needs, and the system will show you what is available to pick.


Once you select all your meals, you will receive a box at the beginning of the week. This box is full of bags, each of which is a meal kit. The meal kit comes with all the ingredients you need to prepare the food and cards that have the recipes and instructions on how to cook your meal.


Examples of these companies:

Hello Fresh. Berlin-based company with operations in Canada since 2016.

Chefs Plate. Owned by Hello Fresh with better pricing but less variety.

Good Food. Montreal-based food delivery with Chef-inspired meals.

Fresh Prep. Vancouver-based company with new meals every week.


Finally, don't worry about your location because at least one of these will deliver to your area, regardless of whether you live in Vancouver, North Vancouver, or the Lower Mainland.


Hopefully, the three angles discussed help you understand that, on the one hand, preparing meals is a lifestyle choice. It is a proactive way of preparing food that gives you back time during the week to do activities that are valuable to you.


On the other hand, preparing meals in Vancouver is a basic need. Especially if you want to eat healthily and save money while you are dealing with school and work at the same time.


So tell us, is preparing meals a lifestyle choice or a basic need for you? You can share your best hacks and learn about what other students are doing in our Slack community. It's free to join, and you can do it now!

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