The average college student eats out of convenience.
Running late in the morning? Most skip out on breakfast entirely thus making them hungrier later in the day. Lunch is another story. With the time limit of an hour or less, you pick whatever will feed you the quickest or hold out until dinner.
Dinner is the time when you can relax, eat whatever you want and catch up on all of the calories you missed out on during the day.
Preparing meals in bulk won’t only keep you happy and fed for all meals of the day, it will also cut down the average food expenses during the week. It is a good way to stay educated about what goes into your body.
College meal prepper, Tianna Hairston, spends on average $50 for a week of lunches and dinners.
“You need to spend a little more in the beginning when trying to meal prep,” Hairston said. “You need to buy the containers.”
Hairston, a sports media sophomore at Oklahoma State University, suggests buying enough containers to hold all of your meals for the week. For example, if you’re making lunch and dinner for an entire week, you need 14 containers.
Meal prepping is the cheapest way to get all of the nutrients a body needs to survive, Hairston said.
The cost of meal prepping isn’t nearly as much as a week of meals from the OSU Student Union or the Kerr-Drummond Mezzanine. Meals cost up to $10. Multiply that by two for lunch and dinner and there’s a third of what a meal prepper spends for an entire week in one day, Hairston said.
Meal prepping is a great kick-starter for weight loss. It allows you to keep track of what you put into your body. Calories, carbs, sodium, cholesterol; things that could be life or death can easily be tracked, Hairston said.
“We bought the slogan ‘America’s Healthiest Campus’ but we’re not,” Hairston said. “Our options are really limited if [we] want to have a full balanced meal.”
Stacey Allen, senior mechanical engineering major, said when you’re in the heat of the moment and you’re hungry, you just throw out the idea of making a healthy meal and opt for McDonald’s.
On the opposite side, when you eat the same thing every day you’ll start getting the mindset of overindulging yourself with the same meal and you’ll start eating less, Allen said.
“It’s like when you eat pizza every day,” Allen said. “You’re going to get tired of the same thing so you’ll only eat one piece when it’s offered; where as if you don’t get it every day then you’ll over-indulge and spoil yourself.”
Buying a certain meat, such as chicken, in bulk, you can use that to make a variety of meals throughout the week that are healthy as well as a low cost, Allen said.
A fun meal prep recipe is a grilled chicken and veggie bowl by picky-palate.com
32 ounces of cubed chicken (pre-marinated from the night before)
There is a pack of 10 frozen chicken breasts at 20 Something
16oz cooked quinoa
16oz brown rice (sold at 20 Something)
4 cups/32oz roasted asparagus, chopped
4 cups/ 32oz roasted cauliflower florets
Feel free to add any other vegetable you want or substitute any of the above with your favorite vegetables.
Roasting the vegetables require placing them onto a baking sheet, drizzling olive oil on them and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet into the oven at 375 degrees until the vegetables are tender. Time varies for each vegetable.
Remember when buying containers, they must be microwave safe. Traditional dorms have cookware available for check out.