Rosemarys Farm to Fork Meal Prep

The Real Cost of Doing Your Own Meal Prep

Does doing your own meal prep save you money? 

If you’re actively involved in health and fitness circles, you’ve probably heard a lot about meal prep in the past several years. It’s a verifiable craze, with more and more people in the fitness and paleo communities turning to it as a dietary solution.

And there are plenty of reasons for this. Meal prep does, indeed, have a significant number of benefits that explain why it’s so appealing to people.

First, meal prep saves you time when compared to cooking every day. Instead of planning, preparing, cooking, and cleaning up every single day, you get it all out of the way in one go and spend less time making food during the week.

And by planning ahead, you’re more likely to stick to healthy foods and appropriate portion sizes, as the meals will already be there and conveniently ready for you, stopping you from turning to less healthy options like fast food and restaurants.

One more reason you will often hear people cite for why they are so committed to meal prep is that it saves money. But this “benefit” is actually a bit misleading.

Because while meal prepping at home may be cheaper than cooking every meal individually or going out to eat on a regular basis, it’s actually more expensive than most people think it is.

Let me explain why.

Meal Prep Helps You Eat Healthier

The truth is that meal prep does make sense for busy professionals. When you don’t have a lot of time for things like grocery shopping and cooking, arranging to have healthy, prepared meals ahead of time is really one of the only ways you can set yourself up for success in healthy eating without giving in to the constant temptations of fast food, restaurants, and office snacks.

As a result, you can perform better at work, meet your health and wellness goals, and live a longer, healthier life.

Meal Prepping Takes Time and Your Time is Valuable

All of that being said, the common refrain that meal prep will save you money is a bit misleading. Because most people don’t take into consideration the value of their time.

Sure, meal prepping might cost fewer dollars than cooking every day or going out to eat often. But what it does do is require you to dedicate a pretty good chunk of your time to preparing meals, often between two and five hours at least one day a week.

That may not seem like such a significant chunk of time, especially compared to cooking every day. But it does when you start to realize the true value of your time. And to explain that, we need to take a brief detour into aspirational wage theory.

Consider Your Aspirational Wage (Opportunity Cost)

If you really want to make the most out of your resources, it’s crucial to learn to value your time. And we mean literally give it a dollar value. After all, your time is valuable.

Employers will literally pay you for it, which means that every hour of your time is equivalent to a certain dollar amount.

According to aspirational wage theory, it’s up to you to determine how much that amount is - this is your "aspirational wage."

For the sake of discussion, let’s say you decide an hour of your time is worth $35. That means that each hour you spend on tasks like driving, running errands, and - yes - cooking, effectively costs you $35.

That’s why it makes sense to outsource these things.

If you can find somebody who will run your errands for you for less than $35 an hour, it’s only financially sensible to go ahead and do so.

Because you can be doing other, more productive things such as building your career, learning a new skill, working on a hobby, hanging out with friends, or spending quality time with family. These are all extremely valuable things that improve your quality of life. 

So outsourcing meal prep is no different.

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The REAL Cost of Making Meals Daily is $26/Meal

It starts to make sense why time is a factor well worth considering when you calculate the cost of things that provide you with a better quality of life.

So while the actual ingredients you need to cook a meal might seem affordable, including your valuable time paints a different picture. 

Assuming you spend about an hour a day cooking, prepping, and cleaning up making lunch and dinner (I'd argue most people spend more time on this), and an hour each week shopping, the real cost of cooking every day is $26 per meal when including the value of your time! 

Cooking 2 Meals Every Day
Value of Your Time (Aspirational Wage)$35 per hour
Hours Shopping, Cooking & Cleaning per Week8 hours
Food Cost per Meal (Organic, Quality Meats and Produce)
Food Cost per Week$84
Cost of Food and Value of Time Shopping, Preparing, Cooking, & Cleaning$364
Price per Meal Cooking On Your Own**$26 per Meal**

The REAL Cost of Meal Prepping is $16/Meal

If you meal prep at home, that cost will go down a bit. Let’s say you spend three hours cooking 14 meals. That brings down the cost per meal to $16 or so.

While that is significantly lower than the cost of cooking every day, it’s still higher than most people realize it is.

Meal Prepping 14 Meals a Week
Value of Your Time (Aspirational Wage)$35 per hour
Hours Shopping, Cooking & Cleaning per Week4 hours
Food Cost per Meal (Organic, Quality Meats and Produce)
Food Cost per Week$84
Cost of Food and Value of Time Shopping, Preparing, Cooking, & Cleaning$224
Price per Meal Cooking On Your Own**$16 per Meal**

Meal Prepping Yourself: Less Variety, More Waste

Another thing not factored into this analysis is waste. I personally crave variety in my meal prep. Having a selection of different delicious paleo meals helps me stay on track with my fitness goals.

Meal prepping once a week usually means you'll be eating similar meals all week long. And by the end of the week, there's often two or three uneaten meals. 

This can mean up to 20% of your meal prep ends up being wasted. And since you still need to eat, often times less healthy alternatives fill in those cravings for variety. 

The Solution

All of this doesn’t mean that you should be missing out on all of the benefits of meal prep and just give in to the unhealthy fast food or restaurant industries.

After all, the convenience and nutrition quality of meal prep is still undeniably appealing. So what can you do?

Well, aspirational wage theory would tell you to outsource your meal prep. The good news is that this isn’t just a dream.

I created Rosemarys Farm-to-Fork so you can get back your valuable hours of time that you would have spent on your weekly meal prep.

As a result, you can enjoy that time doing activities you love or use it to earn more money, but still get all of the nutrition and convenience of easy meal prep.

The best part? Rosemarys Farm-to-Fork is mouthwatering good!

When you open yourself up to the understanding that time literally is money and begin to calculate the value of your time into the cost of things, it just makes financial sense. That’s what they call a win-win.



Rosemarys Farm to Fork Meal Prep is a premium food delivery service. We currently deliver to select cities in the Greater Sacramento Region and San Francisco Bay Area Communities.  It's the easiest way to eat healthy, paleo, gluten-free, fully prepared, ready-to-eat meals that are perfect for anyone looking to improve their diet and nutrition while saving time. Start your week off right with nutrient-dense and mouth-watering Rosemarys Farm To Fork Paleo Organic Meal Prep Delivery today!

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