The Simplicity of Meal Prep

Eating healthy in college doesn't have to be hard. Meal prepping makes it easy, and here's how to do it. | college meal prep

I think there’s a huge misunderstanding when it comes to eating healthy in college. College is supposed to be the time of parties, pizza, alcohol, and junk food 24/7, right? At least that’s how all the movies portray “the best four years of our lives.”

There’s also a huge misunderstanding when it comes to eating healthy on a budget. It can’t possibly be done. “Unhealthy”, processed, pre-packaged foods are *apparently* way cheaper than fresh veggies, chicken, and rice. But, I’m pretty sure that isn’t true.

I just want to clarify that when I’m saying “unhealthy foods”, I’m generally talking about if you’re eating these processed foods all the time. Every food is healthy in moderation. 

A lot of people ask me how I manage to eat “so healthy” while in college, and I have two words for them: meal prep. Meal prep saves my butt every single time when I have no motivation to cook after a long day and I’d much rather go get Chick-fil-a. All you have to do is set aside 2 hours max on a Sunday, cook up some food, and portion it out for the week. I think we can all spare 2 hours from our Sunday Netflix binge sessions….

Eating healthy in college doesn't have to be hard. Meal prepping makes it easy, and here's how to do it. | college meal prep

I was at Trader Joe’s earlier today (that’s kind of what sparked the inspo for this post) picking up some fresh veggies and snacks for the week, and when I got to the checkout, I was slightly shocked at how low my total was. Y’all I only spent $20.00. I was shook.

That just further proves the point that eating healthy in college is doable and affordable.

For today’s purposes, let me break down exactly how much this week’s meal cost:

Chicken breasts = approx. $7.00
2 Zucchini = $1.58
2 Red Peppers = $1.98
Market Pantry Rice = approx. $1.98

Total = $12.54

Cost per Meal = $12.54/4 = $3.13

So, if you think eating healthy is expensive, think again. Now, chicken, rice, and vegetables may not be what you want to eat all the time, and that’s okay. Switch it up with the meat, switch up the carb source, switch up the veggies. The point is is that you’re most likely going to be spending around $4 a meal if you make your food at home.

Another misconception people have is that meal prep has to be this extravagant ordeal, and you have to make different foods each week.

Ummm WRONG.

I mean yeah you can do that, but for a college student, sticking to the basics is ideal. We don’t have a lot of time, we don’t have a lot of money, and chances are we don’t really have access to a large kitchen.

Eating healthy in college doesn't have to be hard. Meal prepping makes it easy, and here's how to do it. | college meal prep

Meal prep can be broken down into three simple steps:

  1. Choose your lean meat
    • Chicken, chicken, chicken. Oh, and more chicken.
    • Lean ground turkey is ah-maz-ing as well. I’m planning on making some ground turkey meatballs in the future.
  2. Choose your veggies
    • Remember, the more colors you have on your plate, the more nutritious the meal.
    • If you still find yourself hungry after your meal, try adding more voluminous veggies. Broccoli, zucchini, and salads give you a huge bang for your caloric buck.
  3. Choose your carb source
    • My go-to are potatoes. I love making my own homemade potato cube crisp things. You’d be amazed at how much can come out of one small/medium potato.
    • Rice is also great, but be careful with the portion sizes.

I meal prep because it makes my life easier. I meal prep because it keeps me on track with my fitness goals. I meal prep because I’m broke AF and can’t afford to eat out for every meal.

Have you ever tried meal prepping? If so, what are some of your favorite things to meal prep? If you haven’t tried meal prepping, would you give it a try? 

~abigail gray