Eating healthy in college isn’t always the easiest. When you’re constantly running from class to events to work, making time to eat nutritious meals sometimes slips through the cracks. I can be the worst at this – I’ll eat something small for breakfast and totally forget to eat until 8 pm, or I’ll end up buying something on campus or from a convenience store that isn’t the healthiest. I’m making a conscious effort to be better at this (SB2k18, anyone??) and I’ve discovered that the best way to eat healthier during the week is through meal prep.
With meal prep, you essentially make all of your meals for the week in one go. I like to set off a block of time on Sunday afternoon/evening to put everything together – once you’ve dedicated an hour or two of your Sunday to making healthy meals, the rest of the week becomes a breeze. Just grab your food from the fridge, reheat if necessary, and you’re good to go. Stress-free healthy eating!
Creating a meal plan
The first thing I do whenever I’m getting ready to meal prep for the week is to sit down and find the recipes and meals I want to make. I got this gorgeous May Designs notebook that’s specifically designed for meal planning, so I write out my meals for the week on the left page. Then, I’m able to create my grocery list based on my meals for the week. I typically get most of my food at either Trader Joe’s or Kroger, and my total is usually around $60 for the week. Trader Joe’s, in particular, is a haven of cheap options and quality fresh fruits/veggies.
Breakfast: Egg Muffin Cups
I’m eating eggs? Yes, I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I try to cook fully vegan, but recently I’ve been struggling to hit my protein goals, so I decided to add eggs (and some cheese) back into my cooking regimen. These are quite possibly the easiest recipe in existence and actually do a really great job keeping me full all morning. Basically, I chop up some spinach, throw it in a muffin tin with some cheese and salt/pepper, and add an egg to each muffin cup. Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and you’re good to go.
Calories: 173, Fat: 12g, Carbs: 1g, Protein: 15g
Lunch: Protein Boxes
I’m a huge fan of those little boxed lunches you can buy at Starbucks or the fresh food section of a convenience store, so I’ve started making my own! These are so easy to assemble – I usually put these together while my other food is cooking. My current go-to combination is an English muffin with peanut butter, carrots/celery with hummus, a little cheese, and apple slices. It’s a good bit of variety and it’s nice to have the option to eat all of it at once or to snack on the individual pieces throughout the day.
Calories: 509, Fat: 27g, Carbs: 43g, Protein: 30g
Dinner: Roasted Veggie Bowls
While I’m usually not super-creative with my breakfasts and lunches, dinner is where it’s fun to experiment. I’m a huge proponent of chopping up veggies and throwing them into the oven, so any meal with roasted vegetables is something I’ll probably cook. This week, I did the Roasted Veggie and Grain bowls that I found on a Buzzfeed Tasty video (recipe here). I was actually really happy with how they turned out – they’re way more photogenic than what I usually cook up, which worked out pretty well since I ended up photographing them for this post.
Quinoa Bowl – Calories: 615, Fat: 24g, Carbs: 87g, Protein: 17g
Brown Rice Bowl – Calories: 650, Fat: 24g, Carbs: 89g, Protein: 23g
Meal prepping is such a good strategy for anyone who’s super busy, and I’m really trying to make it a regular habit. Any other meal-prep lovers out there?