Roased Veg

How Meal Prepping Saved My Semester

The art of avoiding procrastination has been an element of life that I don't tend to excel at in most respects. It's true, as much as I pile onto my weekly calendar, most days I'm lucky to accomplish any personal tasks outside my workday's schedule. 

Long before I took the initiative to start meal prepping, I was fortunate to even eat a proper dinner most nights after a busy day. Often when one "chases the political goose", they don't end up with time to care for themselves at all and end up watching state committee meetings with a box of Wheat Thins in their lap. 

Last semester also held the heaviest involvement schedule I've experienced since high school and, through my own lack of balance, the pressure of my responsibilities overcame me. My first bout with extended anxiety started shortly after I returned for the fall semester and it threw me curve balls that I was in no way prepared to bat. One of the most painful parts of managing anxiety is the constant fear of when another spike will affect you and throw you off your rhythm. 

After the main sources of my stress died down, my focus then turned to methods of preventing attacks or soothing the overwhelming dread. For me, I've found that no singular method solves the whole problem. At the end of last semester, I tried using both faithful meditation and exercise to release the extra tension. Since anxiety affects my whole body, I feel that it's important to cater to each facet of my well-being, be it mental, spiritual or physical. 

I've continued praying as I cling to the thought of God walking with me every step of the way, no matter how rocky, but habitually working out daily after a full schedule of work atop involvement and academics is, admittedly, difficult to maintain. 

The best balance for my mental health, I have ironically found, is in the meal prepping process. Friends of mine often compliment my cooking skills, and once I know that I'm talented at something, it gives me the pride to do it with or without an audience. 

Jason Briscoe

My weekly process begins with buying enough groceries for about three types of meals, which is, in and of itself, a release for me. Most folks dread the trip to Publix based on the forced necessity of the thing, but I've never been one to shy away from a mundane escape from the routine, especially where chicken tender subs are available nearby.

Usually, I'll square away time on the weekend to put everything together as making time to breathe proves to be beneficial in the end. After changing into my too-large joggers, I roll up my sleeves and get to work. Cooking up three types of meals for one week can be a bit daunting at first, but the process prevents the pain. While preheating, I'll plug in my phone and listen to a podcast for the first hour or so, typically a political commentary or true crime segment to engage my mind.

Woman slicing tomatoes

After getting the raw prep squared away, I'll change gears and play music. Be it gospel or upbeat bops from my childhood, I'll play whatever is moving me at the moment, and take it from me- dancing in the kitchen is WHOLLY underrated. 

Before I know it, I've got around 9-12 meals for the week and dinner is no longer a scavenger hunt. Since engaging in this meal-prep journey, I've noticed that my weekly stress is greatly depreciated, even though prep is only a weekly occurrence. I find myself much more carefree after the process, and while I know that preparing food will never replace professional resources, I have found that I look forward to letting go of my stress in my apartment kitchen. 

Not to mention that I'm now eating dinner with vegetables again. 

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