The Easiest Meal Prep Recipes For The Worst Cooks

As students, we all know what it’s like to hustle from class to class and hardly have time to grab something to eat in between. Eating can get very expensive (and not to mention high in calories) when you’re going from Subway to McDonald’s and back again. But who has any time to cook? That’s where meal prepping comes in. These three easy recipes are either super fast to make or can be made in large quantities and frozen for months. Cook once, eat for weeks.

All of the recipes included below can be adjusted to be vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free!

  1. 1. Overnight Oats

    Overnight oats are a great way to make a fast breakfast that will stay with you throughout the day. This is an easy breakfast to throw together the night before, and when you wake up your breakfast is made and ready to eat! And the best part: it’s all made in a mason jar, so you can easily take this breakfast on the go.

    Recipe:

    - Take a clean mason jar in the size of your choice. (500 ml is a good size to start with)

    - Put one cup of oats in the jar (any kind of fast-cooking or one-minute oats works)

    - Add one cup of the toppings of choice (try banana, peanut butter and cinnamon; mixed berries; or strawberry, banana and brown sugar.)

    - Top off the jar with some more oats.

    - Fill the jar with your milk of choice.

    - Cover and shake well. You want all the oats to be saturated in milk, so be sure to shake out any air bubbles.

    - Leave in the fridge overnight.

  2. 2. Chili

    Chili is a great and easy meal to make that takes no kitchen skills at all. It takes a couple of hours to make, but most of that time is simmering anyway, so all you have to do is stir the pot every few minutes. Otherwise, it’s easy, tasty, generally low in calories and high in protein, and can be made in large quantities that you can freeze and keep in the freezer for up to six months! This recipe will make five to eight servings, depending on your serving size.

    Recipe:

    - Find a pot large enough for the serving size you’d like to make and set to a medium heat.

    - Dice one white or yellow onion and toss in the pot. Continue to stir the onions until golden brown.

    - Add mince meat to the pot and continue to stir until the meat is fully cooked. (Skip this step if you’re vegetarian/vegan, or add your preferred meat substitute!)

    - Once the meat is fully cooked, add the following ingredients to the pot:

    - Two cans of kidney beans

    - One cans of chickpeas

    - One can of lentils

    - One can of tomato paste or diced tomatoes

    - One can of soup of your choice (tomato soup or black bean soup are good options)

    - Garlic (to taste)

    - Add water to desired level, but be careful not to make it too soupy.

    - Chili peppers or hot sauce optional (but recommended)

    - Stir the pot well, then let the chili simmer for one to two hours. Stir every few minutes.

    - After the chili has cooled, you can divide it up into freezer safe containers and put in the freezer to be reheated easily!

  3. 3. Soup

    This is a classic thick and filling soup that’s so easy to make! Like the chili recipe above, this can also be separated into smaller portions and frozen to be eaten on a later date. It tastes just as good reheated!

    Recipe:

    - In a 2–4 liter pot, boil two boneless skinless chicken breasts until fully cooked. (For a vegan alternative, you could also boil onion and garlic to make an equally tasty broth.)

    - Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from the pot and shred or chop to desired size, then replace in the pot. 

    - Add two cups of dry red lentils. As the soup boils, the lentils will dissolve to make the broth thicker.

    - Add desired vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, chickpeas, etc. 

    - Let the soup boil for 5–10 minutes after all of the ingredients are added, and that’s it! Let it cool and separate into desired portion sizes in freezer safe containers.

Meal prep doesn’t have to be dedicating five hours of your Saturday to making seven servings of rice and chicken like Pinterest seems to tell us. Meal prep can be cooking 12 portions of the same meal twice a month and never entering the kitchen otherwise. Regardless of your kitchen habits and cooking skills, you deserve a tasty home cooked meal too.