Meal Prepping on a Budget
Story by Diana Al Shammari
Alright, let’s face it; eating healthy in college is not always viable. You may be attending college full-time and working either part-time or full-time. That doesn’t leave you with much time to cook every meal for yourself when after work or class all you want to do is eat and watch Netflix. I’m sure you’ve all heard about meal prepping, either online or from a friend. Meal prepping is all the hype nowadays and why not? It’s very convenient and saves a lot of time and money when done right. Here are some tips on how to meal prep while on a budget.
Set a budget & make a plan
Figure out how much you can spend every week on groceries, set a budget and stick to it. You can also choose recipes that could possibly share ingredients (oats for example; you can use them to cook oatmeal for breakfast and make oatmeal cookies). That way you can buy ingredients in bulk to save money. Where you shop also matters. Some places such as Trader Joe’s have better prices, while others such as Whole Foods have better produce. Also make a trip once a month to Costco to save money on bulk ingredients. Speaking of bulk ingredients, I cannot stress how important it is to buy bulk items when you are trying to budget your meals. You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk.
Here is a list of items that you can buy in bulk:
Whole wheat pasta
Set aside a couple of hours on Sunday to shop for ingredients and cook them for the week.
Smart meal prepping
These tips are not going to tell you to make a big batch of food to eat throughout the week and have the same food every day. That’s boring and you will lose interest after the first few days.
Instead, make one (or two) easy main dish meal prep to have around in your fridge or freezer for the week. This can be eaten for lunch or dinner throughout the week and make something that you actually enjoy and won’t get bored of eating it a few times during the week. When cooking your main dish, sauté some veggies to have with omelets or just with salads or your main dishes.
For breakfast you can always have eggs, oatmeal, cereal, etc. Breakfasts are usually the easiest to make and you don’t really need to prep for them. Also, each week make a batch of some type of snack to have between meals throughout the week. This can be oatmeal cookies, coconut brownie bites, PB chocolate energy balls, etc.
Make sure to keep fresh fruit, nuts, Greek yogurt and dried fruit around for when you need them for snacks or desserts.
Meal prepping is ideal for those who want to get all of their cooking done for the week during a short time block or two. It’s perfect for when you’re too busy to cook every meal and don’t want to spend money on takeout food. You will save a lot of money by buying bulk ingredients and cooking a dish or two to enjoy throughout the week.