Nourish

Meal Prepping Like A Pro

Make it one less thing you have to stress about

With my busy schedule, I barely have enough time to eat, let alone cook healthy meals every day. And it’s nearly impossible to buy healthy, easily ready meals on a budget – and after two days, I even get sick of Chipotle. My solution was one a lot of people have embraced: meal prepping.

Even then, it was hard for me to get in the swing of things – largely because of my inherent laziness and picky eating. I wanted to be healthy in my food choices, but I realized I was so used to my mother’s delicious Indian cooking, I didn’t know how to be healthy when cooking for myself.

My other issue was organization. When I first began meal prepping, I would prepare meals for the week but realize I made too much or too little of something. Or I would get halfway through the week and get bored of eating the same thing every day. I also wouldn’t portion out the food so I would leave either too much or too little for the next meal.

I was also terrible and grocery shopping. I would go to the store with no plans of what I needed and get things I thought I would use or like. I always either ended up wasting money and food or not getting enough and having to eat out twice a week.

My solution was creating a weekly meal plan with slots for breakfast lunch and dinner. I needed to write down what I was going to eat the entire week if I wanted to stick to it and make sure I buy the right ingredients.

I made sure to write in delicious yet healthy meals that filled me up but kept the calorie count down. I know what kind of healthy snacks I prefer and always have them ready in containers so I can just grab them out of my fridge before I head to class.

My biggest issue has always been breakfast. When I get up early, I definitely need to eat some breakfast or I start getting hangry around 11. But if I eat too early, I start feeling nauseous later on. I knew I needed to figure out something light, filling, and nutritious. So naturally, I gravitated towards a breakfast smoothie.

But I’m such a picky eater, most of the ultra-healthy breakfast smoothies I saw on the internet didn’t appeal to me. I chose to go with a fruit smoothie recipe that was made specifically for meal prepping. I portion out my fruits, put them in a ziplock bag, and stick them in the freezer.

All I have to do when I get up is dump the fruits and milk into the blender in the morning, turn it on while I brush my teeth or wash my face, and I have a perfect fruit smoothie that I drink on my walk to class. This has made my life so much easier and I feel hungry enough at lunchtime to eat something, but not so hungry I lose my energy.

Now, I sit down every Sunday morning to figure out my meal prep schedule for the next week. I make sure to include when I think I’ll be eating out or if I know I won’t be able to cook something because of a project or prior commitment.

I usually plan out three different meals for the week so I get some variety and make sure to keep in mind how long my raw meats can stay in the fridge. I usually cook two meals on that Sunday and save cooking my last meal for later in the week.

I always make sure to portion out my meals into my food containers. That way I can easily grab my meal from the fridge and I know how much I’m eating so I don’t overeat. It helps me to work on eating healthier as well as not spend money on food I’ll end up throwing out.

Figuring out my meal prepping habits took longer than I care to admit, but once I knew what worked for me, it makes the week so much easier. It’s one less thing I have to worry about. Meal prepping is different for everyone but it’s absolutely worth putting in the time to find what works best for you.

SHOP THIS MEAL PREP GOODNESS

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Jen Garg is a student at Arizona State University studying Journalism and...