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I Tried Meal Prep For a Week, & This is What Happened

Meal prep is the latest trends for those with a tight schedule. By planning out your meal weekly, it is easier to eat healthier and keeps the quickly tempting meals at bay. The first step in meal-prepping is grocery shopping. Although making a plan of what you are going to eat for the week is actually the pre-first step. The whole point of meal prepping is to have easy and healthy meals at your fingertips throughout the week, helping you stay healthy while also helping with time management.

Breakfast: 1 cup Yogurt and Berries Special K cereal, ½ cup fat-free milk, 1 banana

I chose to keep breakfast simple. I planned to have 1 cup of Yogurt and Berries Special K cereal, a 1/2 cup of fat-free milk and a banana every day. This isn’t exactly a breakfast that you can “meal prep” but consciously making the decision to have that for breakfast every day counted for me. Then again, I’m not one to have eggs and toast for breakfast anyways.

Related: Healthy Eats to Keep Up That New Year’s Resolution

Lunch: Chicken and non-fat bean burrito wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla, side of bell peppers

When I began to plan out lunch I realized that this could be *a little* harder than I thought. I needed to find something yummy, but something that I could also take with me and eat during my hour breaks between class on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Basically, I needed something enjoyable warm or cold. I finally rested upon a burrito.

I cooked a pound and a half of cubed chicken in taco seasoning. This roughly came out to 3-4 ounces of chicken a day. I kept the 3-4-ounces of chicken and half a cup of non-fat beans in their own Tupperware containers throughout the day until I was ready to eat. For the days I had class, I would roll a whole-wheat tortilla into a Ziploc bag and put my ‘filling’ in the bag. On days without class, I would have a normal burrito. For a side of vegetables, I would have red and yellow bell peppers, which I would cut and store in bags every day.

Snack: Smoothie

For an afternoon snack I would have a smoothie, because I packaged pre-cut fruits in Ziploc bags all I needed to do was add ice for a yummy and nutritious smoothie. I had some flexibility here and made a couple different kinds of smoothies. I used banana and blueberries, peaches and strawberries, banana and spinach and so on. These weren’t large smoothies as they were used as a snack instead of a meal.

Related: The 3 Best Smoothies At Lucy’s Juice

Dinner: Whole wheat spaghetti with two cups steamed broccoli and mushrooms mixed in, light garlic mozzarella sauce, half a sweet potato

For dinner I first went with the obvious. I mean, who gets tired of pasta? Although I soon realized that pasta was so easy, it didn’t really require any extensive meal prep. I had whole wheat spaghetti, light garlic mozzarella sauce and broccoli. I steamed two cups of broccoli and cut the heads into seven equal portions and separated them into seven little Tupperware containers. I then cooked two cups of mushrooms and added them in with the broccoli.

I also made sweet potatoes fries. I averaged half a sweet potato a meal. I cut the four potatoes and baked them in light olive oil, then kept them in their own Ziploc bags.

Snack: Protein Peanut Butter Cookies

For a ‘sweet snack’ at the end of the day, I made protein peanut butter cookies. These cookies only took 15 minutes to make and were super yummy. I kept these cookies in a container with a strict sign stating that I could not have more than one no matter how much I wanted more.

Now that everything was cut, cooked, collected and clicked into their packages, the week started.

Related: How to Make Your Own Acai Bowl

Beginning of the Week:

Breakfast: Breakfast was good. I have always loved Special K yogurt and decently enjoy bananas. I did find myself already wanting a cookie, but I was doing this meal prep for ~science~, so I would not give in.

Lunch: Knowing that my lunch was already waiting for me in my refrigerator made me want to eat it almost immediately after breakfast. I had to keep forcing myself away from the kitchen until 11. It was easier to make lunch with everything ready for me.

Snack: I LOVE SMOOTHIES. I think peaches are the super fruit of the smoothie world.

Dinner: No complaint here, pasta is always number one in my heart. My sweet potato fries are also amazing; they are 100% better than regular fries.

Dessert: I had to force myself not to eat all of them, but besides that, the cookies are a fantastic way to end the day. They also are keeping me from randomly eating handfuls of chocolate chips to satisfy my ever-present sweet tooth.

Middle of the Week:

Breakfast: Wow, bananas can get tiring. I’ve started cutting them up in my cereal instead of eating them separately.

Lunch: Warm burritos are better than cold burritos, but I am still loving my grilled chicken with taco seasoning. I also feel super healthy eating whole grain tortillas instead of regular tortillas. *pats self on back*

Snack: I have recanted my earlier statement; bananas are the super fruit of the smoothie world. I couldn’t even taste the spinach when banana came into play.

Dinner: Still loving my pasta. Still loving my sweet potato fries. Maybe a little more reluctant to eat them? My roommates had chipotle and I may have thrown some side eye at them while they ate it.

Dessert: WHY CAN’T I HAVE TWO?

End of the Week:

I’ve finally come to the end of the week. I have decided I could always have cereal because it is so yummy. However, I was bored with my lunch and dinner by Saturday. If I were to start meal prepping for good, I would prep potentially three different options of food instead of sticking to the one meal over and over again. I found it more cost-effective though, since I bought everything in bulk and ate everything in bulk, leaving nothing to spoil. I did like that I always had a plan, by knowing what I was going to eat I wasn’t tempted by an easy but unhealthy meal choice instead. I think that even though that first Sunday was tedious, in the end, I found it to be 100% worth it. 

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Ashlyn Donnahoe

Cal Poly '18

Ashlyn Donnahoe is a senior at Cal Poly SLO majoring in English with a minor in Child Development. After college, she hopes to teach kindergarteners how to be super adorable and read Dr. Seuss for a living. Ashlyn has loved writing since she was young, debuting her talents as a second grader with her first book The Very Fat Cat (trademark pending). These days Ashlyn spends most her time watching Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and adding to her ever-growing indoor plant collection.
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