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College Students: Meal Prepping

Article written by Philip James

 Part Two

(If you haven’t read our first article on how to bulk on a budget, you can check it out here!)

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in college, it’s that there are not enough hours in the day. That’s why meal prepping is the next best thing since sliced bread (no pun intended). Meal prepping allows you to have food ready to go whenever you need it and it helps you stay on track with your nutrition.

I’m a big fan of prepping my proteins and carbohydrates one day during the week and then preparing my vegetables for either each individual day or for the next few days. As for fats such as peanut butter, avocados, and olive oil you can pretty much add them to individual meals as you go.

Let’s dive into the wild, wonderful world of Tupperware and bulk cooking!

Chicken breast.

The classic bodybuilder’s go-to meal. I’m sure some of you are cringing from past experiences of dry, bland chicken breast. While it does have the potential to develop the consistency of an old leather belt, it all comes down to how you prepare your chicken breast. I’ve found a great way from years of trial and error. Here’s a step-by-step look at how I make chicken breast in bulk for the whole week:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Obtain the amount of chicken breast you need for the week. Also get cookie sheets, tin foil, and a marinade or dressing of your choosing.

Place the tin foil over the cookie sheet and then lay your chicken breasts down on the tin toil.

Lightly cover with a thin layer of the sauce you’re using. Place the cookie sheet in the oven.

Allow the chicken breasts to bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, flip the chicken breasts over to the other side. Leave in the oven for another 30 minutes

Remove the chicken breasts after the second 30 minutes for a total of 60 minutes in the oven.

Let the chicken breast sit and cool before placing in packaging for your meal prepping.

Eggs.

As discussed in my last article on cost-effective eating, eggs are extremely cheap and can make a large portion of your daily protein intake. However, for some people, they can be a hassle to cook and clean up after. Boiling your eggs allows for one-time cooking and almost no clean up whatsoever. Here’s another step-by-step way of boiling your eggs for the whole week:

Get your eggs, a large pot, salt, and a dish of ice water.

Place your eggs in the large pot and pour enough water in to cover the eggs by three inches.

Add a pinch of salt to the water and eggs. This helps with separating the shell from the egg itself when you peel them later.

Turn your stovetop on high and bring the water to a high boil.

Once the water begins to come to a roaring boil, place a lid on the pot to contain the heat. Then turn your stove off and completely remove the pot from the heat source.

Allow the covered pot to sit for 10 minutes.

Remove the eggs and place them in a dish of ice water. Allow the eggs to sit in this dish for 10 minutes so they can cool.

Package your eggs for the week and leave the shell on until ready to eat. This allows the eggs to have a longer storage life.

Rice.

Buy a rice cooker, plain and simple. It can last you years upon years and many models have other features such as slow cooking and steaming things such as vegetables and meat. A big bag of dry rice provides you with an enormous amount of rice that can be prepared in large quantities. In this next step-by-step guide, I’ll give one of my methods I’ve learned on how to prepare rice in a rice cooker:

Get your rice cooker and rice cooker pot.

Add the rice into your pot up until the height of your distal finger’s knuckle. This is an old trick my neighbor from Japan taught me. I have added a picture of how to do this for reference:

rice2

Now you will wash the rice. This removes excess starch and makes a fluffier consistency. Just add a small amount of water, stir the rice and water using your hand or a spoon, and slowly dump the water out. You want to do this until the water being poured out is almost clear.

Next, add water until it reaches the level of your proximal finger’s knuckle. Here’s another picture for reference:

rice1

Finally, set your rice cooker to the “cook” mode. It will do the rest for you!

 

Vegetables.

Steaming your veggies is a very fast and easy way to prepare them. This method applies to most, whether fresh or frozen. Here’s a method I’ve learned on how to prepare steamed vegetables:

Get your vegetables either in frozen or fresh form. If they’re fresh, you’re going to want to properly wash, peel, and any other methods needed for safe cooking. Cut the vegetables into uniform size as well such as small cubes or slices.

Add one inch of water to your pot and place your stovetop on high. Bring the water to a boil.

Add your vegetables, cover, and lower the heat level to medium.

Allow the vegetables to steam. The denser and larger the vegetable, the longer it will take. I recommend steaming the vegetables until they are tender enough that you can stick your fork in them and they will fall off. You can check them every couple minutes until they’re ready!

In closing:
In the long run of things, you’re going to want to switch up your meals and get some variety. That’s where I would recommend using different food groups and find their respective cooking method. For proteins it could be things like lamb, beef, bison, pork, fish. For carbohydrates it could be different types of rice, different types of beans, and even various potatoes. Lastly, for your vegetables, the possibilities are almost endless for what you can use and how you can prepare them. The vegetables can be baked, microwaved (if you’re short on time), and even fried if you want.

This article is only scratching the surface for what you can do with meal prepping and preparing your food. I would highly recommend doing more research yourself as to what you want to cook and how you want to prepare it. Measuring tools such as measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a food scale will accomplish a ton for you. I would also download a food tracking app or utilize a food tracking website so you can keep into account how much food you’ll need according to your dietary goals.

Happy meal prepping!

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