Here's The Difference Between Batch Cooking And Meal Prep

These days, it seems that no matter what's happening around us, we have less and less time to do everything we want. For example, some would love to prepare nutritious meals from scratch each evening, but that can take up too much time that simply can't be found. Whether swamped with work, chores, children, or appointments and after a long day, it's just easier to eat something quick, like McDonald's.

If nutritious, homemade meals are something you strive for but you're struggling to find time, there is a way. You can try these simple three-ingredient dinners, or go to batch cooking or meal prepping which are both convenient ways to save time for the busiest people (per Eater). These meal-making solutions are actually on a sharp rise because more people want to save time and have a well-balanced prepared, or semi-prepared, meal during the day or after a long day at work. But what is the actual difference between the more-famous meal prep and the rising star called batch cooking?

Meal prep vs. batch cooking

According to Healthline, meal prep means that full meals or dishes are made from scratch, ahead of schedule, and then packed into individual containers to be enjoyed later. Meal prep can reduce food waste and has other benefits such as avoiding takeout or TV dinners, maintaining portion sizes, and helping people reach their desired nutrition goals. 

With batch cooking, you don't prepare complete meals, but foods instead that will be readily available when you need them. The foods can be cooked or raw, and they're later mixed and matched according to personal preferences. The ingredients for batch cooking might also have a longer shelf life than cooked dishes for meal prep. One benefit of batch cooking is that you can decide exactly what you want to eat and know that you're going to like it, all while saving time and money in the process. The foods can be prepared in small or large quantities, keeping in mind that they should keep or freeze well.  

Ingredients you can use for batch cooking include proteins such as beef and chicken; vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and onions; and grains such as rice and oats. The best option is to have three to four types of ingredients from each category already cleaned and chopped for your next meal. Then you can mix the ingredients and make a dish you've been craving, instead of not having the option to choose, as is often the case with meal prep.