By Aqeelah Bray
This article is exclusive to the online Edition 2 (Wrap Edition) of VARSITY Newspaper.
Meal prepping: the art of preparing meals in advance – often in cute, reusable Tupperware. This is often perceived as a hobby of fitness gurus, gym bunnies, and busy moms. However, by meal prepping as a university student, you save yourself time, money, and improve your health by controlling what goes into your food.
As university students, we lean towards eating mainly cafeteria food, which is fast and efficient, but by no means healthy. Cafeteria foods, such as wraps, burgers, and sandwiches, are often laden with salt, sugar, and fat. For our bodies, this means more serious after-effects and consequences like decreased energy levels, poor sleep, irritability, and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease later on. However, by cooking and preparing your own food, you are able to control what gets put into your body. By preparing meals, you’re not only getting healthier food, but less of your time is spent in cafeteria queues and more money can be spent at Typo!
It’s easiest to prepare just breakfast and lunch as a student on campus. However, there is no reason why you cannot prepare all of your meals three to four days in advanced.
Firstly, you need to set aside two to three hours for both preparing and cooking your food. This depends on what you would like your meal prep to look like and whether you are preparing snacks or a meal. I like to do mine on a Sunday so that my food is as fresh as possible, and I suggest you do the same. Begin by working out what you plan to eat for the week and then create a shopping list of the ingredients for those dishes. Try to choose ingredients than can be mixed up and alternated to include more variety and to make your money stretch further. You can adapt yours to suit your own diet, budget, and lifestyle.
Here are some ingredient ideas to get you started for your meal prep:
- Cottage cheese
- Rice cakes
- Peanut butter
- Whole-wheat bread
- Chicken breast
- Hummus (or make your own here)
- Carrots, cucumbers, or celery
- Peanut butter overnight oats (recipe here)
- Banana oat Pancakes (recipe here)
- Peanut butter and honey on whole-wheat toast
- Rice cakes with peanut butter or cottage cheese
- Carrots, cucumber, or celery with hummus, cottage cheese, or peanut butter
- Whole-wheat chicken sandwich
- Chicken salad
- Cottage cheese with eggs on whole-wheat toast/rice cakes