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Meal Prepping Ideas for University Students

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Are you a member of the instant ramen regimen? Or are you perhaps a member of the cereal society? Whatever the case may be, you have strayed upon this article to learn how to do meal prepping for your dormitory days, and that is what we are here to discuss.

Meal preparations have often been the bane of most university students as it takes away a lot of time to accomplish, time which is very scarce for a regular university student. However, the more time to put into preparing healthy and fulfilling meals for yourself, the more your body will thank you later on in life.

Importance of proper diet for students

Whether you have no time to spare for meal preparations, or you just have no idea how to prepare your own meals, you should still try to consume the proper amount and variety of nutrients your body needs to function properly. Do not just settle for the ever so reliable instant ramen pack or the never out of stock cereal box as these foods only give you carbohydrates and a miniscule amount of the nutrients you need every day.

A proper diet can mean better brain function for you, which in turn can boost your productivity and save you more time for other activities such as preparing your next meal. Meal preparations are also one of the best ways to save money if you happen to be in a tight budget because your parents cut off on your allowance. By learning to prepare meals for yourself, you also gain a sense of independence as you are now capable of supplying yourself with the adequate amount of nutrients your body needs by yourself.

What you should include

A well-prepared meal will have a balance of all the essential nutrients needed by the body in order for it to perform daily tasks without any difficulties and problems. These essential nutrients have already been taught to you during your days in the lower grade, however, it is still important to cite these nutrients as they are often taken for granted by some individuals. These nutrients include:

Carbohydrates

One of the fundamental needs of a university student carbohydrates provide an easily accessible source of energy to be utilized by your body. Carbohydrates are simple chains of sugar which can be easily broken down and be used by your cells to produce ATP. This in turn, makes carbohydrates easily digestible and not la long.

Fruits and vegetables

The best way to gain enough vitamins and nutrients needed by your body to maintain proper function is to consume fruits and vegetables. Include these in your meals to promote better immunity and to supplement the various macro-nutrients needed by your body.

Protein

The next thing you should include in your meals is protein. Protein is not only limited to meat and dairy, as small amounts of protein can also be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce. Protein is needed by your body to repair worn out cells and to keep your brain functioning properly. It is also one of the sources for energy which is not easily digestible, which make it a great addition to your meals when you have 3-4 classes back-to-back.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most effective nutrients to intake when you want to maximize brain function, which is something every university student strives for. Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids include oily fish, nuts, and everyone’s favorite chocolate (preferably the dark variety). Omega 3 fatty acids are used by the body to build cell membranes within the body and brain. It has also been shown to prevent deterioration of brain cells and promote better healthier brain cells.

Tips for meal prepping

While meal preparations can come naturally to other individuals due to their upbringing while they were still young, it is a skill which can be learned with some practice. And do not feel defeated if you have failed with your first trial of preparing your own meals, as you can always learn from the mistakes you have done previously and hopefully not repeat them. Here are a few tips for effective meal prepping which even a beginner can follow through:

1. Make a plan

The first thing you should do before whipping up a gourmet meal for your lunch is to plan what you will be cooking for the whole week. By doing so, you can save time by buying groceries once a week and not be confused as to what meal to cook for tomorrow’s dinner.

Take time to jolt down the recipes you will be cooking all throughout the week and the ingredients needed to cook them. You can then proceed to group together similar ingredients together so that you can buy them in bulk and save money. Making a list of recipes you will do and ingredients needed to cook them can limit the chances of you forgetting to add something in your grocery list as you already accounted for everything you will cook for a whole week. A well-prepared meal plan is a well-prepared meal in the making. This will also help making meal prepping easier as there is already a plan to follow.

2. Include recipes that share ingredients

Something you can do to save you the time and hassle of buying a hundred different ingredients every week is to utilize dishes which share the same ingredients as the others, by doing so; you can save time and money by buying in bulk.

Think of recipes like a chicken salad for lunch and a chicken sandwich for dinner. Or something like hash browns for breakfast and fish and chips for lunch, where both dishes utilize potatoes. By incorporating recipes which share the same ingredients as other dishes, you are one step closer to becoming and efficient self-cook.

3. Mind what you buy in bulk

As you may have already picked up, buying in bulk can save you both time and money when shopping for groceries. However, it is important to take note of which ingredients you can and should not buy in bulk.  If you have a fridge in your dorm or house, then you can feel free to buy easily perishable goods as long as you store and seal them properly. Ingredients such as fish, meat, eggs, and dairy are easily perishable but their shelf life can be extended longer if you keep them in the fridge. However, if you do not have one in your dorm, then you can limit the chances of having spoiled ingredients by keeping mind of the shelf life of the ingredients you will buy.

4. Mind where you shop

One of the struggles for effective meal preparation is budgeting. It can be really tempting to just grab half a dozen packs of instant ramen and just be done with shopping for groceries and not mind about the nitty-gritty of budgeting.

One of the ways you can overcome this is by becoming familiar with your local supermarkets and list down which store sells ingredients at the lowest price. That way you can save money to be used for other expenses such as medicine or transportation. And the good part about it is it only takes a couple tries to be familiar with which local store sells the cheapest but quality ingredients. The more you gain experience preparing meals and shopping for ingredients, the easier it will be for you to seem like a natural doing it. 

5. Be on a look out for sales

Another thing to keep in mind is the presence of sales. Sales are often one of the saving graces for a student preparing his own meals. You should try to never miss out on any sale which presents itself to you. Yes, you may sound and feel like a mom chasing after every sale he encounters, but bear in mind that the money you save by buying ingredients which are on sale can be used for other leisurely things.

If an ingredient is on sale but is not on your list of ingredients to buy, then try to analyse if you can substitute the ingredient on sale with any ingredient in your recipe. A skilled self-cook is a versatile one. If you are about to buy red bell peppers but the green ones are on sale, then you can feel free to buy what is cheaper as they will still do the job just fine. If an opportunity presents itself, grab it and make sure to exploit it to the best of your abilities to save you a few bucks.

6. Include recipes that can be reused the next day

Another thing you can do to save time but still eat healthy and well-prepared meals is to cook extra food and reuse them for later. If you are aware that you need to be early tomorrow morning, then you can make curry for today’s dinner and leave the leftovers in the fridge to be heated and eaten the next day. It may be boring to repeat the same dish twice in a row, but it is still better than having to eat instant ramen for 3 days straight.

Conclusion

Meal prepping may be strenuous work especially if you’ll prepare your food for the week on one night only. However, it still beats eating ramen every day. No amount of eggs or side dish will hide the fact that it’s ramen.

Meal prepping also ensures that students will be able to use their time for more productive things and not compromise the nutrients needed by the human body. We know how stressful studying is already, thinking about preparing a meal shouldn’t add to that stress.

We believe that proper preparation, meals or otherwise, gives students a higher chance of achieving their goals. As such, meal prepping also relates to preparing our students for their future. And for that, parents might require the help of professionals that specialize in concentrated learning for their students.

FamilyTutor is one of the best private tuition agency in Singapore and has thousands of highly skilled and professional tutors who can cater to the needs of pre-school students up to university level students. We also offer courses in various languages such as Hindi and Malay. Feel free to visit us anytime and book a tutoring session at FamilyTutor.

Carelle

Carelle

Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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