Sometimes busy families need shortcuts, and one mom has found one with proven results.
On Aug. 24, parenting influencer Samantha Mathews posted a pair of videos on Instagram and TikTok about her meal prep “hack” that quickly went viral. In the posts, Mathews does her version of meal prep — which her husband Dan points out is debatably not meal prep at all.
“My toxic trait is saying I will meal prep but really I make all the employees at Chipotle do it for me 😎,” reads the text on the first video. In the clip, Mathews enters her kitchen holding a large box and bag from Chipotle Catering, setting them down on her countertop before doing a victory dance.
The second video delves a little deeper into the topic at hand.
“So apparently my wife decided to get back into meal prepping, and by that I mean she placed another Chipotle order,” Mathews’ husband says in the video.
Through laughter, Mathews replies that she just had to because it’s “so good,” but her husband has questions as she scoops rice, meat, and vegetables into separate Tupperware containers, preparing them for grab-and-go meals.
“Wouldn’t it just be easier to leave it all in the fridge and then scoop it out as needed?” he asks, watching on as she uses measuring cups to portion out the takeout equally.
“No, that’s not meal prepping, meal prepping is put it all in individual—,” she starts to say before her husband cuts her off and asserts that “buying Chipotle is not meal prepping!”
“You’re basically a caterer,” he tells his wife. “This is supposed to be healthy meal prepping.”
“I never said it was healthy,” Mathews replies. “I said I’m meal prepping because I don’t want to cook.”
“I’m so annoyed and impressed with you all at the same time,” her husband responds.
As expected, the couple’s conversation over meal prep has garnered quite the response in the comments section, with people debating whether Mathews’ idea is genius or ridiculous.
“Sir, your wife is a genius. She deserves mcnuggies or a Nobel… idk I don’t make the rules 🤣,” commented one user on Instagram.
“This is the way. I know people who have been doing this for years 😂,” wrote another.
“It would be cheaper to cook it yourself,” speculated another commenter.
Many of the comments seemed to hone in on something her husband (aka the peanut gallery) was not doing — helping.
“If you dont like it prepare your own meals then 🤡,” commented one Instagram user.
“I like how he has all these comments and suggestions, how about he make something,” wrote another.
“I’m sorry, is that him volunteering to cook instead?” commented one TikTok user, to which Mathews replied, “He is learning still 😂 slowly but surely 😂.”
But the one question that kept appearing was: “How much was it and what did you get?” So, we reached out to the meal-prep extraordinaire herself to find out more about her process.
“We follow a meal plan from our trainer, but during the busy seasons, I thought of Chipotle a couple months ago,” Mathews tells TODAY.com, adding that she’s also done this with Texas Roadhouse. “You know, for those weeks that are crazy, it’s the most healthy fast food that I can think of, plus, I really like it. So it just seems easier and it tastes good.”
Mathews tells us that she chose a “Build Your Own Double,” a Chipotle Catering option that is meant to serve 10, but was able to portion it out to 14 meals. Her total came out to $134.04, which means it costs her family about $9.57 per meal.
But Mathews isn’t the first social media star to go viral for their laissez-faire attitude toward meal prep. In January, TikToker Madi Webb went viral for “meal prep hack” by of ordering catering from a Brazilian restaurant.
Bon Appetit later did the math to see if Webb was actually saving any money by doing this and found that it’s actually cheaper to do meal prep from scratch than relying on the catering of most restaurants. But Mathews says that’s not the point of this “hack.”
“When we meal prep, I spend like an entire day,” Mathews explains. “If one week a month I do like restaurant meal prep, it saves me some time and it’s easy and it tastes good. No one’s complained in our house.”