Our Instagram feeds have been inundated enough to teach us what food prep is. Even if you only follow one food blogger on Instagram, I'm willing to bet you've seen at least one photo of 2,000+ containers filled with chicken breast, broccoli, and rice -- said Instagrammer's perfectly planned out weekly meals. 

Seems like a smart use of time for the busy on-the-go college student, right? Easy to do, planned food for the whole week, and minimal thinking required when you come home from class/work tired and ready to EAT. 

Well, I'm not convinced. 

broccoli, garlic, salad
Tiare Brown

As students (at least at St Andrews), we have two options. You either eat in the dining halls, or in our own apartments. 

If you fall in group one, unfortunately, you have very limited control of what you're eating, since you're not making it yourself. For those in group two, you may have found food prep to be a convenient way to fit an extra hour or two at night to study or hang out with friends. For me, though, it took away the experience of food every food lover craves.

I tried food prep full on for a week, and lemme tell you -- I didn't enjoy it. While I can definitely see how prepping your food for 6 hours on a Sunday can be a huge incentive to eat healthier for busy people, I think it really takes away from the experience of food. 

Here's why.

1. Food prep eliminates the break I get after a long day to prepare my dinner

Okay, so maybe I’m not the busiest person in the world, and are lucky enough to have time to make my own dinner on the spot, but I truly believe making a fresh dinner can be beneficial to everyone.

I can literally whip this meal up in under 15 minutes! 

salad, avocado
Amylou McBride

What’s more satisfying than a fresh, healthy, home cooked meal after a long day of classes and maybe a shift at work? Especially if we’re running around all day through lectures, jobs, meetings, etc., taking a nice 30 minute break to cook dinner can not only calm you down, but can help you settle in at home for the night with a satisfying freshly cooked meal.

2. Food prep limits food freshness and taste

Ever had an amazing dinner one night, throw the leftovers into a tupperware, nuke it the next day only to find it does not taste nearly as good? It doesn't get any tastier than fridge-ridden chicken and rice. Yep, that’s what happens with all your prepped food. Imagine the taste of that broccoli and chicken on day 5… Pass.

3. It gets boring.

So, you’re trying to be healthy by eliminating fatty and processed foods that often leave whatever you can eat, dry and bland. You’re also food prepping, which makes the dry and bland food you think you have to have even worse after 5 days on repeat.

This definitely won't make the healthy eating experience any more positive. The whole meal prep idea is so astringent. You have a specific amount of a certain food all laid out for you, with no variety. That, and it's coming from a tupperware. Doesn't seem natural to me, let alone exciting! During my week of food prep, I was definitely not as stoked to eat the cold broccoli I had scheduled myself to eat every lunch, just after two days.

4. Cooking should be a meaningful experience.

I cook my meals to provide myself with sustenance, fuel and happiness. The vegetables and healthy proteins I cook for myself make me satisfied just knowing that I took time out of my day to feed my body with the nutrients it needs. You should cook intuitively, based on what your body wants, not what you decided for it last Sunday. With food prep, we lose this special time to prepare fresh food to fuel our bodies with every day. As a foodie, who loves to create recipes and cook just about anything, cooking is truly a special experience that brings me joy and satisfaction. Not something I’m jumping to trade in for a tupperware of cold chicken.

What you can do instead: if you like having similar meals daily for dinner, try chopping up loads of vegetables and storing that in your fridge raw, rather than cooked. That way, you can still gain the benefits of cooking your dinners right before you eat them without losing lots of time spent chopping onions.

broccoli, vegetable, salad, pepper
Maddie Cole

Clearly, I'm not a fan of weekly food prep, and I'm biased because it simply doesn't work for me, my schedule, and my body.

But, if it works for you, and you really can't be bothered to cook for 20 minutes a day, then by all means, please meal prep. I'm not here to tell you that you can't. I understand how it saves time and effort, but once you see cooking as a healthy way to fuel yourself, it won't seem like much of a chore anymore

There's so many various healthy recipes available to us these days. Tonight, pick one and try it out instead of pulling out the tupperware. You'll start to appreciate your food more when you have it fresh out of the oven, not the microwave

Perhaps prep some food that you’ll know you have absolutely no time to cook throughout the week, but take a half hour at the end of your day between study breaks to try out a new recipe. I promise, once you make cooking a rewarding experience, you won’t think twice about lining your refrigerator with identical tupperware of chicken, broccoli and rice.