Whether you’re just moving out of halls or are a veteran in the instant-noodle department, it’s easy for students to relate the term ‘meal-prep’ to the domain of full-time vloggers, yummy-mummies, and fitness influencers. But what if I told you that preparing meals in advance doesn’t have to involve £50 mason jars or cultivating vegetables in your garden? Meal prep is actually the perfect partner for the busy student – it promotes healthy eating habits and can be as quick and simple as you want it to be!
1. Invest in a recipe book
Not only do these books calculate portions for you, they might actually make you look forward to cooking and give you some inspiration for the future. Also, a step-by-step guide can be helpful for first-timers looking to move on from microwave meals and beans on toast. Whether it’s budget student meals or vegan tray-bakes, get a recipe book that you will actually enjoy flicking through – your Sunday night meal-prep sesh doesn’t have be another chore on the to-do list.
2. Plan your food shops
Buying in bulk is cheap and worth it as long as nothing goes to waste! Choose what you want to make for the week ahead and write yourself a shopping list so that you don’t come home wondering what you’re going to do with your buy-one-get-two-free flans.
3. Make your freezer your best friend
Particularly for students, that frozen bean salad from four months ago can be a godsend when it comes to crunch time for exams and you don’t have time to whip up a meal of actual nutritional value. Just remember to keep track of what you’ve got frozen: it can be all too easy to lose your hard-earned meals down that -18oC abyss…
4. Invest in some kit
Call me boring but who doesn’t get a little bit excited by a set of nice new Tupperware? Labels and a sharpie are also essential items for every food-prepper. What looked like a salmon pasta in January can take on a completely different (nonetheless edible) form after a four-month freeze. Make sure you write the date you made the meal and how long it will last when frozen. What’s more, a note on portion size can help prevent food waste!
5. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself
Meal prepping needs to be sustainable. If your meals aren’t something to look forward to, it can be all too easy to call up your old friend Uber Eats and leave your food prep to waste. If spending that little extra on some fancy herbs or your favourite branded sauce is what it takes, then go for it – it’ll be worth it in the long term!
So go forth, meal prepper! Whether you’re looking to revamp your lifestyle or start the next big vlog, these tips are sure to set you off in the right direction.