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6 Meal Prep Items That Will Save Your Stomach and Your Wallet

As college students, we’re constantly on the go. We’ve got class, work, friends, exercise, other extra curricular activities, sleep (sometimes) and in between all of these activities we have to somehow feed ourselves to keep the energy we need to keep up with the busy days. Instead of feeling guilty for grabbing the easy fast food burger in between class or forking over an entire day’s wages for a healthy but overly expensive salad before work, try these easy and low cost meal prep recipes to keep you feeling full until your next midterm… 

Most of these groceries can be used more than once to make an meal prep item, and the total cost of groceries comes out to less than $50.

Disclaimer: These items are based off of what I buy at Trader Joe’s and the rough prices of my local San Luis Obispo store and prices are subject to change. 

Meal Prep Grocery List

  • 2 pounds of Chicken (~$4.50)
  • Romaine Lettuce ($1.99 a bag)
  • Sweet Potato (19 cents)
  • Baby Carrots ($1.49 a bag)
  • Pumpkin Tortilla Chips ($1.99 a bag)
  • Ground Turkey ($2.99 per lb)
  • Shredded Cheese ($4.99 per bag)
  • Package of Whole Wheat Tortillas ($2.00 for 10)
  • Dried Dates ($4.99 for a package of ~30)
  • Spicy Hummus ($1.99 per carton)
  • Peanut Butter ($2.99 per jar)
  • Quinoa ($2.99 per bag)
  • Chia seeds ($4.99 per bag)
  • Oats ($1.49 per box)
  • Chocolate Chips ($1.99 per bag)
  • Almond Milk with Vanilla Flavor ($2.99 per carton)
  • Plain 0% Fat Greek Yogurt ($4.99 a carton)
  • 2 bananas (19 cents each)

= $49.93

Chicken Quinoa Salad

This power packed salad is loaded with protein in a mix of crisp romaine lettuce, lean white meat chicken, a sprinkle of superfood quinoa and half of a diced sweet potato for healthy starch. Start with a base of romaine lettuce, and add in your chicken, sweet potato and quinoa.

  • 1/2 lb of chicken
  • 1 cup of romaine lettuce 
  • 1/2 diced and cooked sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup of cooked multigrain quinoa 

Fall-Themed Nachos

Regular nachos are great, but even better is these fall themed nachos with pumpkin tortilla chips, ground turkey, and a sprinkle of cheese. Start with a base of tortilla chips and top off with ground turkey, cheese, and any other toppings that your heart and nachos desire. 

  • Scoopful of pumpkin tortilla chips
  • 1 cup of cooked ground turkey 
  • Sprinkle of cheese
  • Cook’s choice in garnish (I choose lettuce!)

Burrito Bowl with a Mediterranean Twist

I really like hummus. So I decided to add it into the base of my burrito bowl, and I have no regrets. Use your hummus topped tortilla as a base and on top of that add lettuce, ground turkey, cooked multigrain quinoa, and a sprinkle of cheese. You’ll never go back to regular burrito bowls. 

  • 1 Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • 1/2 cup of cooked ground Turkey
  • 1 cup of lettuce
  • 1 Tablespoon of hummus
  • 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa
  • Sprinkle of Cheese

No-Bake Homemade Chocolate Energy Bars

I started making these energy bars myself when I realized that I was spending way too much money on protein bars at the store that had 23 ingredients, half of which were names I didn’t recognize. One batch of these lasts me at least a couple weeks, and they stay fresh as new in the fridge. This recipe is fun because I can easily make modifications like adding raisins, or almonds as well!

  • 16 Dates
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate Chips 
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional!)

Apples and Cinnamon Protein Overnight Oats

Using your favorite mason jar, start with grape nuts and layer in the oats, almond milk, peanut butter, greek yogurt, 1/2 banana and apple cubes, and cinnamon. Chill in the fridge, and enjoy. 

  • 1/4 cup of grape nuts 
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 apple chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 banana
  • Splash of vanilla almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Overnight Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Oats

Layer oats, chia seeds, almond milk, pumpkin puree and greek yogurt, and chill in the fridge to enjoy later. 

  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup of Greek Yogurt
  • Splash of vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup oats

Try out these recipes and experience the energy, happiness, and money you’ll be saving!

I am a Journalism student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo minoring in Integrated Marketing Communications, with a passion for writing and media. My blog can be found at https://adulthoodinslo.wordpress.com/ and I can be reached at [email protected]
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