If you have ever been interested in food budgeting or just how to cook meals if you are always on-the-go, you probably know what meal prep is. I have tried to meal prep for a week and here is my story.
What is meal prep?
If you are still not familiar with it, we’ve got you covered. Meal prep is a system of cooking all your meals for the week ahead of time – usually on Sundays, right before the start of the week. It is a great solution for those people who don’t want to spend tons of money all the time on takeout or simply crave delicious home-cooked and HEALTHY meals. The key is to do all your groceries and prepare your food ahead of time, so that during the working week you don’t have to spend any more time on cooking or cleaning lots of dishes and pots.
Being a college student is a pretty challenging process, and honestly it only gets more complicated each year. After coming back home from a long day of studying, instant ramen, Chips Ahoy and quick oats were literally my best friends. I knew it’s not a great solution – neither for my health or my body. I started gathering information in the internet to find out the way to get out of the endless cycle of buying some Doritos at 2 am.
Who inspired me?
As I mentioned, the web became a great tool in finding lots of information about meal prep. My three biggest inspirations for the meal prep were found on Instagram – Talia Koren (@workweeklunch), Amanda Meixner (@meowmeix), and Rachel Paul (@collegenutritionist). Talia has been meal prepping for several years and has her own meal prepping program with tons of recipes and instructions sent every week. The meals she preps are always different, simple, easy to make and relatively healthy. Amanda Meixner and Rachel Paul share their recipes, tips and tricks as well as tons of other helpful information on their blogs, and honestly – yummy pics of their prepped food made me want to prep some food immediately.
What was the process?
I was a bit nervous getting ready to try and meal prep for a whole week since I am not really a person who loves to cook. I have decided to start simple and cook meals that wouldn’t require a lot of time and hard work spent. I read that planning is one of the most, if not the most important aspects of meal prepping process – you have to plan ahead of time what meals are you planning to cook, how many, for how many days, what groceries to buy and how many of them, as well as which pantry stuff is useful in the cooking. I wrote a list of groceries for myself to cook for 3 days worth of food and divided my list into such sections, such as protein, veggies/fruits, carbs, and fun stuff. In overall for my groceries, I bought chicken breast, bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, brown rice, apples, oranges, oats, milk and some fun stuff like Doritos and milk chocolate (can’t skin those, duh). My meal prep took about 2 hours in total with the outcome of 3 types of meals: overnight oats, baked chicken breast with tomatoes and asparagus, and teriyaki chicken with brown rice and steamed broccoli. The taste test was pretty successful considering my non-professional cooking skills – everything was good except baked chicken breast, which was very dry and not seasoned well. Coming home and having homemade prepped meals was honestly very great – something I haven’t experienced since leaving my hometown for college.
In overall, I definitely recommend to try out meal prepping if you live a busy lifestyle just like I do. Not having to worry about cooking or what are you going to eat for a few days has really been a relief, and I can’t wait to explore more into the world of cooking and meal prepping.