Meal prepping for the week can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! This blog post will give you tips on making delicious and healthy meals that will last you all week long. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to save time and money while eating well-balanced meals. Let’s get started!
1. Start With Either Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner to Meal Prep For
One of the best ways to get started with meal prep is to choose one meal to focus on. Whether you want to prep breakfast, lunch, or dinner, creating small is essential, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Once you have a handle on prepping one meal, you can gradually add more meals into your routine.
2. Decide On The Best Time To Meal Prep
Another important step in meal prepping is to decide when you will do it. If you’re short on time, you can prep your meals for the week on Sunday. This way, you’ll have all of your meals ready for the week ahead. If you have more time during the week, you can prep a few days at a time. Choose a day or two that you can dedicate to cooking, and make sure to set aside enough time to get all of your meals prepped.
3. Choose Recipes that Will Last a Good Amount of Time
When starting, it’s crucial to choose recipes that can be quickly and easily prepped in advance, but also store well. This will make the meal prep process much simpler and less time-consuming. Look for recipes that include ingredients that can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer. Soups, stews, casseroles, and pasta dishes are all great options for meal prep.
4. Keep it Simple At First
Keeping your recipes as simple as possible to start off means that you don’t end up adding any extra stress or difficulty to your routine, when you are working extremely hard as it is. Keep it super simple and take time to master the basics, building up to more adventurous dishes and meals as you go!
5. Gather Your Ingredients and Supplies!
This is where a grocery list comes in handy. Without one, you’ll likely forget something important or buy things you don’t need. Be sure to have all the ingredients and supplies before you start cooking. This includes the food and any pots, pans, Tupperware, utensils, etc. that you’ll need. If you’re short on time, you can take a few shortcuts. For example, many stores now sell pre-chopped vegetables, pre-cooked rice, and quinoa. These can be great time savers! Additionally, you can order everything online. This can also save you money as you can get discounts like $15 off your first order, free shipping on orders over $100, or get 10% off fresh crab online.
6. Start Cooking
Now it’s time to get cooking! Begin by preparing all your ingredients. This means chopping vegetables, measuring out spices, and anything else you need to do to get the food ready to go. Once everything is prepped, start cooking one dish at a time. Follow the recipe closely, and don’t be afraid to adjust it to your liking. For example, if you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to leave it out or add more of another herb instead. Cooking can be therapeutic, so take your time and enjoy the process!
As you’re cooking, be sure to think about portion sizes. It’s easy to overeat when everything smells and tastes so good! A good rule of thumb is to aim for around ½ cup to one cup of cooked food per person. Each meal will give you a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. Once everything is cooked, let it cool before transferring it to containers.
Meal Prep Recipes For College Students
1. Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep
Budget Bytes is the queen of meal prep and she truly has the easiest burrito bowl recipe. The best part? It costs just $2.26 per serving. Pro tip: swap out the white rice for cauliflower rice so you can save those carbs for beverages!
2. Low Carb Big Mac Salad Jars
College is probably the hardest time in life to avoid eating fast food, maybe making these Big Mac Salad Jars will help? All the delicious taste of a Big Mac without the carbs! It’ll be ready to go in your fridge, perfect for busy weeknights or 3 AM food cravings.
3. Meal Prep Protein Breakfast Box
You always hear that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, but it’s so easy to skip. A protein heavy breakfast is a solid foundation for a day of learning, so I recommend keeping these in the fridge. You can meal prep a week’s worth in about 15 minutes.
4. Low Carb Pizza Meal Prep Bowls
Nothing will help you put on the “Freshman 15” faster than pizza. Make this pizza bowl meal prep some of the time to get all of the flavor without the carbs. There’s even a cashew cheese sauce alternative if you’re eating dairy free.
5. Sheet Pan Thai Peanut Chicken Meal Prep
Sheet pan recipes are essential to an efficient “Meal Prep Sunday” and this Thai Peanut Chicken is one of the tastiest. Eat it once when you cook it, then throw the leftovers in containers to prep for the week.
6. Frozen Yogurt Bark
This is one of the most “fun” make ahead breakfast recipes I’ve found. It’s easily adaptable so you can use your favourite kinds of cereals and fruits. Switch it up every so often so you never get tired of it!
7. Chicken Sausage Pasta Meal Prep
Gluten-free pasta and chicken sausage help keep this meal prep healthy and easy on the wallet. Because the ingredients are really simple, this is a great meal prep choice when you are in a hurry!
8. Deli Style Protein Box
This is the ultimate “lazy meal prep” recipe. There’s no cooking involved and you can put together a whole week of these in less than 15 minutes! It’s basically a healthy, low-carb Lunchable.
9. No Bake Monster Granola Bars
Don’t waste money on inferior store-bought granola bars, make your own! This “monster cookie” version will satisfy any sweet tooth without leaving you feeling too guilty.
10. Italian Couscous Meal Prep
Have you ever seen meal prep look so fresh? This Italian Couscous is overflowing with flavour and the chickpeas and salami pack it with protein. The best part? It’s a no-cook recipe.
11. Banana Berry Smoothie Meal Prep
If you’re into freezer meals or no-cook recipes, you’ve got to start smoothie prepping! A week’s worth of healthy breakfasts can be made in minutes for just a few dollars or pence per serving. Feel free to use whatever produce you find on sale to save even more.
12. Sesame Noodle Bowls Meal Prep
Are you even at college or uni if you aren’t getting 80% of your calories from noodles? This meal prep balances out the noods with protein and veggies so that you can feel healthy!
13. Quinoa Caprese Mason Jar Salad
It’s so easy to snack while studying and quite often this means getting lost in a packet of Doritos. I recommend you keep these Quinoa Caprese Mason Jars in your fridge so they’re ready to grab at a moment’s notice. Real brain food!
14. Grecian Style Bento Box
College is all about becoming an adult, right? Well this Grecian style Bento Box Meal Prep is kind of like an adult Lunchable that’s fresh AF. It’s so easy to make you can prep a week’s worth in about 15 minutes.
15. Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches
These make ahead breakfast sandwiches are perfect for busy mornings with early classes. You can put them in the freezer for long-term storage or keep in the fridge if planning to eat that week.
16. Freezer English Muffin Pizzas
It’s so easy to end up spending your extra cash on takeaway or delivery pizza. Keep these freezer friendly English Muffin Pizzas on hand instead; perfect for a late night snack or quick lunch! Use wholewheat or wholegrain thins or English muffins (weirdly they are known as American Muffins – or savoury muffins – for those in the UK!) if you want to make them healthier.
17. Cookie Dough Protein Bites
Protein bites that taste like cookie dough? Sign me up! These make for the perfect healthy dessert or snack and they can be made with just 6 ingredients that you probably already have.
Meal prepping is a great way to save time and money. By following these simple tips, you can make it easy and delicious! So give it a try this week and see for yourself!