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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

As the article title says, I’m currently obsessed with meal prepping. Honestly, this is something I never thought I would say. In the past, I’ve openly expressed my confusion with meal prepping and thought it unobtainable for myself. Recently, though, I’ve become more active in deciding what I want to fuel my body with during the day (specifically lunches). Now, I see it as a way to get creative with my lunches and not exclusively eat leftovers. I’ll be taking you through my journey of what made me realize I should prepare meals, where I get inspiration, and how I feel about it now. 

What inspired me to begin meal prepping is pretty simple: I needed to start packing my lunch to work. As someone who is a full time student and GTA, it’s important that I fuel my body with foods that are going to sustain me throughout the day. This means not just grabbing a snack from the vending machine or a food court on campus. Not only are the foods from those two options typically not the healthiest, they’re also expensive. 

Cost of food and budgeting also played a role in why I’ve started this journey. I can buy lunch for around $15 every day. $15/day x 5 days a week = approximately $75 a week. That’s an additional $225 a month to feed myself. When I bring my lunch, I am saving significant amounts of money. My meal prepped lunches could be less than $5 a day depending on the ingredients of what I am prepping. Additionally, the foods I prepare are typically on the healthier side. I’m able to cook flavorful meals that will nourish my body throughout the day. 

Admittedly, there are nights while cooking dinner where I purposefully make enough food for leftovers the next day. On those days, I’ll typically throw in something that I didn’t have for dinner last night too. Like a serving of fruit, veggies, or maybe pita chips with hummus. It depends on the meal. 

Christin Urso / Spoon

I find inspiration on social media. The other night I watched a YouTube video of how to season meal prepped shredded chicken. Not only did I make the shredded chicken (and learn you could use a hand mixer/KitchenAid for this task), I also made some for my lunch today to make BBQ chicken. I still have plenty of chicken leftover for salads, sandwiches, and mix-ins for the rest of the week! Though, I am struggling to find ways to meal prep more perishable foods. 

Foods like pasta and chicken, in my experience, are easier to meal prep than vegetables (for example). Hear me out: should I pre-cook veggies? I feel like vegetables are specific to meals; I wouldn’t eat edamame with barbeque chicken. I would eat potatoes. Of course, I don’t feel like “leftover/premade” mashed potatoes are always best heated up. They don’t taste the same. It’s clear I’m still navigating this meal prep journey. 

All in all, I’ve really been enjoying finding new recipes to cook for lunches! Not only does this help me save money, it allows me to provide my body with the nutrients it needs to keep me going through the long days of graduate school. 

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KU '22