How to Be a Meal Prep Pro in College
I know some students have a meal plan, which makes it pretty easy to go grab something to eat whenever you need. However, if you’re an upperclassmen like myself, you have to find the time to cook. I have a pretty busy schedule and don’t always have the time to go back to my apartment for lunch and dinner every day. So instead, to save a TON of time, I prep most of my meals.
Here are my tips for MASTERING the art of meal prep
1. Plan It Out
It’s impossible to prep all of your meals for the week unless you think ahead. I usually jot down ideas of things that I’ll want to eat for the next week in my planner. Be sure to plan out balanced meals, preferably meals that include protein, your fruit and veggies, and your choice of carbohydrate. Once you have your list of meals/grocery items, plan a day to go to the grocery store. I usually make time to go grocery shopping on Sundays to pick up things up because there is NO way I can find time to go during the week with my busy schedule. Some typical examples of what I like to meal prep that are cheap, easy, and delicious are:
· Ground turkey tacos
· Chicken breasts with brown rice and veggies
· Chicken breast with sweet potatoes and veggies
· Overnight Oats
2. Meal prep snacks too, not just savory food
When I meal prep, I cut up as much as I can so that I don’t have to continuously do it throughout the week. I wash all of my fruits and veggies so they’re ready to go. Sliced bell peppers and sliced cucumbers are great to snack on, especially when you’re bored or studying and you just want to eat something (aka. me everyday). I even slice up a bunch of lemons so that I can throw it in my water every morning.
My one go-to lunch is a huge salad mix. In the beginning of the week, I like to wash and cut a ton of broccoli, kale, red cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, and almond slices. *I make sure to use all dry ingredients so it stays in the fridge longer* I mix it together in a huge bowl and then in the morning I portion out what I want for lunch. It’s super easy and saves so much time in the mornings. It also really keeps me accountable on eating healthy.
3. Meal Prep on Sundays
I like to pick a day where I have a decent chunk of time so that I’m able to cook everything and then clean everything all at the same time. It may be time consuming the night of, but it is DEFINITELY worth the time. Probably my favorite thing about meal prepping is not having to cook something every night and then have to clean up a bunch of dishes afterwards. I hate doing the dishes throughout the week, especially when you have a million other things to do!
Not only does meal prepping save you a ton of time, it’s a great way to stay healthier in college. I am a lot less likely to stop at Jimmy John’s on the way home from class if I know I have tacos ready for me at my apartment!
And the #1 reason I love to meal prep is: You get more bang for your buck $$$
Eating healthy is not always cheap, but meal prepping is definitely cheaper than going out and buying a $12 salad for lunch.
- Buy in bulk when it’s smart- things like rice, beans, oatmeal
Be careful not to buy a ton of unnecessary or perishable items, but things like oatmeal are great to buy in bulk. You’ll have a go-to breakfast choice for months.
- Choose one source of protein to eat for the week
I’ll often buy a huge bag of chicken that I can eat throughout the week, and then the next week I’ll buy a big container of ground turkey. It saves you more money than buying different options to eat every night.
- Freeze your leftovers
Again, I’ll buy a big container of ground turkey from the grocery store instead of buying a couple little ones that are almost the same price as the big one. Then I’ll divide the turkey in half and freeze one portion.
One GENIUS idea that my roommate does is make a huge batch of smoothies and then freeze the leftovers in mason jars for the next couple of mornings. Then she just takes it out in the morning to let it thaw before drinking it!
Any Questions about meal prep or having a meal prep presentation for your student organization or residence hall? Contact the Wellness Peers: email@example.com