The Ultimate Cheap & Easy Meal Prep Guide For Students
Calling all foodies, are you in need of cheap and easy meal prep recipes? Or perhaps you’re unsure where to start with meal-prepping? We’ve put together a guide on the top meals that you’re going to love and how you can get started with helpful tips and tricks. Check out our ultimate guide now!
Let’s get cookin’.
How To Meal-Prep
You’ve probably heard of people meal prepping or seen videos online, basically it’s preparing meals ahead of time, and storing them in the fridge or freezer.
Cooking a variety of meals and saving them for later is a great way to save time, especially if you’re a student who’s on the go. Perhaps you need something quick and easy to have at lunchtime at uni or you need a quick dinner to pop in the microwave.
Whatever it is, we’re to help you with how you can meal-prep and the steps you should take to get started.
First of all, there are different meal-prep methods to get to grips with.
- Make-ahead meals – You cook an entire meal and keep it in your fridge or freezer, and re-heat it at teatime or whenever you see fit.
- Batch cooking – Cooking multiple meals in batches, portioning them and storing them in the fridge or freezer.
- Meals for one – You cook meals and portion it in containers like Tupperware, to last a few days such as for your lunches at uni.
- Ingredient prep: Prepare your ingredients in advance and store them away so you can easily use them when you want, meaning you can cook your food and serve it in no time!
Tips & Tricks To Meal-Prepping
Make A Plan
You don’t have to do this, but writing a plan keeps things organised as you can keep track of the meals you’re planning to make and when you need to make them. Also, pick your number of meals such as, are you planning to make meals in advance for breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Create A Shopping List
Once you’ve decided which meal recipes you’re going to go for, it’s time to head to the shops and get your ingredients. Make sure you create a list (you can do this on the Notes app), so you get everything you need. We suggest heading to Aldi or Lidl for cheap groceries!
Make sure you have some sort of container(s) to store your meals in, whether its Tupperware boxes or sandwich bags, whatever you want! Just make sure that they’re suitable for re-cooking and aren’t going to leak / spill if you take them out with you.
When is the best time for you to meal-prep during the week? For some it may be the weekend, when they’re off work and have a few hours to spend making their meals for the week. Decide when works best for you.
Keep Things Simple
Some people may want to spend time learning new recipes which you can get online (forget about buying cookbooks), but If you want to quickly and easily meal-prep then go for recipes you already know or can base your meals off.
If you’re making a meal-prep for the week, then don’t forget about them and leave them for too long. Most meals last between 3-5 days long in the fridge, or you can pop them in the freezer and de-frost when required!
Think About Your Goals
Discover why it is you’re wanting to get into meal-prepping, is it to save money, to have a healthier diet, to try new foods, to cut down on food waste, to manage your time? Knowing your goals will mean you’ll stay on track.
Speak To Your Housemates
If someone else you live with is keen to get started with meal-prepping then you could each cook each other meals for the week or take it in turns? You’ll save money on shopping, and you’ll have a hand in the kitchen!
We’d also suggest letting those you live with know if you’re going to be spending a few hours in the kitchen, as its a communal space after all.
Cheap & Easy Recipe Ideas
Now onto the good stuff, the cheap and easy meal-prep recipes you can make use of!
There’s something for everyone in this list with a mix of meal ideas to suit every taste-bud. Let us know if you do try any of these or let us know about meals you’ve created.
1. Chicken & Rice Meals
Let’s be honest, when you think of meal prepping a chicken and rice option comes to mind. It might be simple but its super tasty and easy to make. We love this 20-minute recipe with chicken, rice and broccoli its yum!
You can create a variety of dishes with chicken and rice like a fajita mix, the best thing to do is explore some different recipes and see which ones taste the best and works within your time schedule!
2. Pasta Dishes
Pasta is just the best, so it would be rude not to include a cheap and easy recipe for your next meal-prepping session. Check out this Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta which is high in protein and super tasty.
Obviously, you can create any pasta dishes you want when it comes to meal-prepping and even a simple Pesto Pasta can be a good choice if you’re short on time.
3. Curry Recipes
Curry is our ultimate favourite food, and it’s bound to be a lot of other people’s too! It’s super flavourful and there’s loads of different varieties you can create for your lunches at uni or for dinnertime at home.
4. Stir-fry Dishes
Who doesn’t love a stir-fry?! They’re just delicious and easy to make, as you don’t need much culinary skills to make them. Personally, we love this Chicken Teriyaki Stir-fry recipe as its great for whipping out during the week after a busy day.
Or take a look at this veggie stir-fry recipe instead! You can even take inspiration from your parents cooking at home and ask them to send over the recipes for you to use in your student kitchen!
5. Breakfast Dishes
Are you bored of toast and cereal during the morning rush? Or you need something to scran when you’re busy doing uni work in the early hours? Well, we love this healthy protein oatmeal recipe.
If that doesn’t suit your tastes, then check out this veggie breakfast burrito recipe instead!
As you can see, there are tons of different types of meals you can create when meal-prepping and for different times of the day too!
Remember, meal-prepping is about making things easier for you when it comes to cooking, so don’t make things more difficult than they need to be.
You can also gain inspiration from #mealprep on TikTok to find easy and gorgeous recipes to re-create as a student.
We hope we’ve helped you out with our meal-prep guide and that you’re feeling like a chef ready to head to the kitchen!
Keen to join the gym whilst at university? Read our guide on 8 Top Tips To Build Confidence And Go The Gym Alone.
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