Meal preparation may seem confusing and like an all-or-nothing effort, but it can be as easy as planning a dinner or two each week.
Meal prep is the process of planning meals, whether for a few days or the entire week. There are many reasons to meal prep, from having more control over what you eat or wanting to ensure all the nutrients you need are accounted for.
Have a meal planner. Living on campus can severely limit how much control a person has over food. Dining options don’t allow students to cook their own meals, unlike living off campus. In this case, writing down a future order and then sticking to it can give students some more discipline over what they put in their stomachs.
Keep a stock of universal cooking ingredients. A hungry stomach can throw anyone off balance, so counteract that by having a plethora of ingredients. Making sure there’s a stock of easy-to-cook items can make a week easier. Salad mix and an assortment of berries can make a meal, and a fridge can preserve a meal for a few days. Lots of ingredients help students experiment with meals and allows them more variety while cooking.
Meal prep: Off-campus edition
Stock the fridge full. Create as many meals as possible that don’t require lots of cooking time. Have stockpiles of sandwiches, bags of granola, bundles of vegetables and easy-to-cook food. Packaging food in transportable containers can also make meals easier to eat on-the-go and in between classes.
Cook meals in advance. Pasta and tacos are easy to make and can be created in advance. Warm up some ground beef, throw in lettuce and cheese, and it’s a meal. In a to-go container, the meal can last for an hour or two.
Make it a group activity. If a group of roommates or friends are crunched for time but still want to stick to a schedule, having a rotation for who’s cooking which meal can take away some of the guesswork. When you get multiple people in the kitchen, you might notice you feel a little friendlier toward your roommates. Stick it in the fridge after, and those who get home later can enjoy the meal as well.
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