Have you ever gotten home late and there were no leftovers? Then you're left with the choice of not eating and going to the nearest fast food restaurant. That's a pretty sad predicament that I've been in a few too many times. That's until I started meal prepping.
Reasons to Start Meal Prepping Now
Okay, maybe not exactly now, but sometime this weekend or on an off day.
Only cook once or twice a week. As a busy student, it can be difficult to find time to cook everyday or even every other day. It usually takes about 45 minutes to prepare a meal. Now multiply that by 7 (say 3 dinner meals, 2 lunch, 1 breakfast). That's a lot of time. If you multi-task while meal prepping, it will take you somewhere between 2.5-4 hours to make enough food for the week.
Less cravings. Cravings are your body's way of telling you that it is deficient in something. Therefore, by eating more balanced meals, you will get the necessary nutrients to reduce cravings.
Mix-and-Match. It can be boring to have last night's dinner as tomorrow's lunch all the time. By having more options prepared, you will avoid what I like to call leftover fatigue.
Snacks! I'm a huge snack person. I always get hungry at the most inconvenient times (middle of class, meetings, beginning of work, end of work, really I'm always hungry). However, snacks are super expensive ($4 for a box of 5 granola bars or $4 to make 12 granola bas). So making my own snacks saves me a lot of money and mid-class hunger.
Pinterest Recipes. Be honest, how likely are you to try a new recipe after a long day of school and work? Personally, I would have to be super excited about the recipe and know that I have all of the ingredients to make the meal. On prep days, I try to make one thing I've never made before. This way, I am trying something new over the week and also enhancing my cooking skills (wife me up). I usually pick a recipe early in the week and add its ingredients to my grocery list.
Breakfast. Whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day, is actually a huge debate (I'll send you some links to the research if you would like). I personally like eating breakfast because it wakes me up and gets me ready for the day. However, I also snooze the alarm until I have the perfect amount of time to get ready. Having breakfast prepared in advance is super helpful for those days I can't seem to get up. I like to make hearty bowls or have a boiled egg with fruit. When I have two extra minutes, I will even throw in a piece of toast.
Relaxation. After school and work (or a long day in general), it can be semi-stressful to cook, especially if you are hungry. Meal prepping is a time for you to enjoy your time and cook with love. I usually catch-up on my podcasts and watch something on Netflix while I cook. It is such a good way to start/end a week for me.
What about leftovers?
Sometimes you won't eat everything, and that's okay if you've eaten most of it by the end of the week. If it's Wednesday and you don't think you will eat everything, freeze what you do not think you will eat. It will come in handy in a week or so. You also have a few other options:
- Make a different meal. Some meals are super easy to convert to something else. For example: a chicken broccoli rice bowl can be converted to a stir fry dish.
- Share with your roommates. I'm sure your roommates would love a free meal. If you live alone, have a movie night with your best friends and offer it to them.
- Use it as makeup. One Instagrammer tried it for Thanksgiving. I think it's incredibly creative and prevents food waste. Wasting food is bad for our wallets and the economy.
Next on the blog, we will discuss what it takes to meal prep.
Thanks for sticking around this long. If you enjoyed the post tell me in the comments:
1. Your favorite thing to cook.
2. Your favorite show or movie on Netflix
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