Meal prepping, the process of planning and preparing meals for the upcoming week, can be a useful technique for college students. Not only can it free up your time during the week, but it can help you achieve your fitness goals faster and more efficiently.
In addition, meal prepping can have positive effects on individuals who struggle with eating disorders. More specifically, meal prepping helps to reduce the stress that comes along with trying to eat healthier and also aids in the process of establishing a healthier relationship with food.
There are a lot of different ways to be successful when it comes to meal prepping and planning. While at first it may seem stressful, it will save you both time and money if you continue to stick with it.
In order to be successful, it is important to understand and decide which type of meal planning best fits your needs and goals.
There are three different types of meal planning: full make-ahead meals, batch cooking or freezing and meals for one. The most common type of meal prepping, especially for college students, is meals for one. This type involves preparing food and portioning it into single-serving containers.
Many consider ‘meals for one’ an easy and quick way to get started with meal prepping. However, it is important that you choose a method that will work best for you depending on your fitness goals and daily routine.
Consider these four steps when getting started:
What You’ll Do
- Make a meal plan — decide what you will be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week.
- Make a grocery list — use recipes that overlap in ingredients to save money.
- Pick a day to do all your meal prepping — determine how much you want to prep and get cooking!
- Store your food — use your freezer to your fullest advantage or try putting your meals in different colored containers for easy identification and equal portioning.
One of the challenges with meal prepping is finding healthy meals that leave your taste buds satisfied day after day.
Luckily, VALLEY has put together a list of some of their favorite meal prep recipes — check it out!
Breakfast: Overnight Oats
This quick 5-minute overnight oats recipe is filled with protein and other healthy foods to help you start your day on the right foot! Simply add your oats and chia seeds into a mason jar and pour your preferred milk on top!
What You’ll Need
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup milk of your choice
- ½ tbsp of chia seeds
- toppings of your choice (fruit, yogurt, flax seeds)
Lunch: Greek Couscous Salad
This meal is great for aiding in weight loss and is quick and affordable to make! Prep time is 25 minutes and it can be eaten as a vegetarian option or with chicken on top.
What You’ll Need
- 2 packages of Near East Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous Mix
- 1 cucumber (chopped)
- 3 chopped bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green)
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- Feta cheese to taste
- Dressing of your choice
Dinner: Taco Bowl
This easy taco bowl recipe will have you forgetting that Chipotle exists! This quick 25-minute meal will have you feeling full and is packed with good ingredients. Try substituting the ground beef for chicken to keep things interesting!
What You’ll Need
- Cilantro lime rice
- Ground beef
- Sour cream
Meal prepping takes time but is rewarding. Not only can it help you plan out your busy week, but it can also help you find more time and save money!
Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and let us know some of your favorite meal prep recipes!