When thinking about eating healthier, meal planning can seem daunting. However, a lot of the time it’s because we are thinking of meal prepping, you know with the fancy containers. When in reality, there is a big difference between meal planning and meal prepping. Both have a time and place, but you can start just meal planning without the meal prepping. Whereas, you cannot jump into meal prepping without meal planning.

We are going to talk about the differences between meal planning and meal prepping as well as the benefits of each. Spend some time learning about both and use this to help make a decision about what steps make the most sense for your current season of life.

What Is Meal Planning?

Meal planning is the perfect place to start when you are looking to make changes to your diet. It is the process of figuring out what meals you will eat over the week that meet your current definition of healthy. From start to finish meal planning is figuring out what recipes to make, how much to make, and when to make them.

One of the biggest concerns people have around meal planning is the amount of time it will take. However, in our meal planning course, we teach you how to do it in less than 15 minutes.

At the end of the day, following through with a meal plan will save time, and money and make healthier choices in your house. Having a plan for your meals will actually take the stress off of dinnertime.

What Is Meal Prepping?

Without a meal plan, meal prepping doesn’t happen. Meal prepping is actually preparing your weekly meals in advance. There are different levels of meal prepping, you can fully make all of your meals or just prepare certain ingredients before. The goal is to take some of the heavy lifting off of mealtime, allowing you to eat healthier without much thought. That’s where those fancy containers come in.

Spending time meal prepping on the weekends can help you save time cooking throughout the week, give you better portion control, and help build healthier eating habits. Not to mention, it makes eating healthy pretty convenient.

The Difference Between Meal Planning and Meal Prepping

Meal planning helps you to make simple choices about what you’ll eat throughout the week, allowing for flexibility for the days your routine gets thrown off. On the other hand, meal prepping offers the convenience of having prepared, portioned meals ready to go, reducing daily time spent in the kitchen.

The right approach for you depends on your goals in this season of life. In order to meal prep, you need to meal plan. The two steps go hand in hand when building healthier eating habits. Many people find that a combination of both methods can provide the best of both worlds.

If the whole process feels quite daunting, I encourage you to start with just making a meal plan. It won’t take more than 15 minutes and you’ll be able to have structure throughout the week.

Whether you’re a meal planner, a meal prepper, or somewhere in between, the ultimate goal is to make your life more convenient and your meals more satisfying.

Are you a meal prepper or planner? 


Kristin Longacre

Hey There, I’m Kristin, a gluten-free nutrition coach helping gluten-free families adjust to their new lifestyle.

Difference Between Meal Planning and Meal Prepping