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Five Easy Ways to Make Meal-Prep Easier

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Happy September! It’s the start of a new school year, and September is pretty much synonymous with the word “busy”. Especially in these first few weeks, it’s easy for your schedule to feel PACKED with new clubs, activities with your housemates, fun nights out before you really have to crack down on schoolwork, coffee date debriefs of the summer with your friends, room unpacking and reorganizing, figuring out your class schedule…the list goes on and on. And finding time to cook? Forget it. Or maybe, with the help of this article, you can figure out ways to make mealtime a lot easier and more delicious than instant ramen.

Note: take this advice with a grain of salt—you should always do and eat what works best for YOU when it comes to food. You know yourself and your routine best, and what works for me might not work for you. That being said, I hope you enjoy!

Here is my step-by-step philosophy for meal-prepping that doesn’t sacrifice flavour, money, or time:

Pick a meal you like with minimal ingredients

Choosing a meal you like is a great first step to meal-prepping, as it ensures that you won’t get too tired of the meal throughout the week and that you’ll have a general understanding of what you can pair with it. For example, one of my favourite meals to use for meal-prep is beans and rice—it’s simple to make, keeps well in the fridge or freezer, and, most importantly, makes me happy. However, if you pick a meal you think you *should* like but don’t, or a meal that you’ve seen trending on Instagram Reels with a bazillion expensive ingredients, or a meal that takes 4 hours to prep and cook, it’ll be a lot harder to a) find the motivation to make the meal in the first place, and b) want to keep eating it throughout the week.

Set aside time to completely dedicate to cooking

It’s hard to be focused on cooking when you’re trying to read a Statistics textbook and watch Netflix and listen to Olivia Rodrigo’s newest album all at the same time. Instead, try to find a chunk of time in your week to completely dedicate yourself to cooking. Whether it’s at the start of the week or during a longer break between classes, you’ll be sure to have a smoother and more manageable cooking experience. Additionally, you can cut down on prep time by using pre-chopped frozen veggies—there’s even pre-chopped bags of frozen onion so you don’t have to go through the pain of chopping one yourself! By doing this, you’re already halfway to being your house’s new sous chef.

Make your meal in bulk (somewhat)

If you’re already going to the trouble of cooking yourself a delicious meal, you might as well make sure you’re set up for the rest of the week. I find that eating one portion of my meal prep right away, then dividing the rest of the batch into three or four Tupperware containers works best for me. That way, I can freeze one and have two in the fridge ready to go whenever I feel like an easy lunch or dinner. To make this even easier, I’d recommend investing in some glass microwave-safe containers. That way, you can heat your meal up without having to dirty another dish. Score!!!

don’t be afraid to switch up the sides

One of my favourite thing about beans and rice is that I don’t always have to eat the beans with the rice! The nice thing about a meal as versatile as this one is that I could repurpose the beans as pasta sauce or eat them chilli-style with tortilla chips and cheese. With a meal that works well for you, try different combos and styles of enjoying it—not only does it make the meal more interesting, but it also ensures that you won’t get bored with the meal by the end of the week.

have fun with it!

Although it can seem daunting, cooking for yourself can be one of the most enjoyable and kindest things you can do for yourself. Consider it an act of self-care! You deserve to feel satisfied with your meal without having to compromise flavour or your grocery budget. It’s also so fun to cook with friends or your housemates—try asking a friend what their favourite easy-but-delicious meal is to make, and write them down in a recipe book. Blast some music while you cook or watch your favourite show. You could even follow a YouTube video on how to make a certain recipe. Here’s a great one for the beans and rice I keep bringing up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNMrwudowfg

Whether you’re the next Gordon Ramsey or a complete newbie, whether a meal turns out or it doesn’t, be proud of what you cook. Look back on the effort and time you spent trying to make sure you feel satisfied, full, and happy. Food can be an act of love, whether it’s for others or for yourself. Now go out there, grab your Tupperware, and enjoy!

Molly Robertson

Queen's U '25

Molly is a second-year psychology student studying at Queen's University. When she's not at CoGro, you can find Molly listening to the Lumineers, trying to decide on her next tattoo, or spending all her money on coffee.