If you love being creative with what you eat and saving money and time, pay attention. Meal prepping essentially describes a process wherein you cook your meals in bulk, put them in the fridge, then take portions out and eat them as individual meals. Prepping your meals is a great way to save money, time, and eat healthier during a busy week school work. Below, I’m going to give you an outline for how I plan and prep my meals that could serve as a starting place for you to do the same
Step 1: Find your carbs, buy the largest quantities sold
These will serve as the base for any meal you’re going to prepare in bulk. Carbs like white/brown rice and pasta are great because they store dry indefinitely. They are cheap too. At 10lb bag of rice costs $6, and usually lasts me 30-40 meals! Cooked, they can store for around 5-7 days in the fridge. Plan out how many meals in the next week will use your base carb, cook it all at once and store it away.
Step 2: Find protein, buy large and cheap
– Uncooked chicken, beef, and turkey meat as well as vegetarian replacements for these can be stored in the freezer for at least four months; buy the largest, cheapest amount of each one you like, then cook the amount you will need for the week that matches with the meal count in step one. This will undoubtedly take some trail attempts to get the amount to your liking. Also, if your protein lacks flavor, experiment with some spices! My favorite is McCormick’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Seasoning.
Step 3: Sauce it up! Toss it up!
Now that you have your carbs and protein planned out for the next five days, it’s time to personalize each meal. I would recommend putting your precooked food in a pan with cooking spray, then putting some kind of sauce in the pan to warm it up with. Microwaving works too, however the taste just isn’t the same afterwards.
I’ve personally enjoyed using salsa, marinara sauce, mustard, and soy sauce. Vegetables can be added as well, cooking them in with your meals makes them much easier to eat on a regular basis. Add those and some pepper or graded cheese (don’t use these with soy sauce), and you’ve just cooked yourself a tasty, moderately healthy meal for cheap!
To understand the money this could save you, let’s break down the price per meal for my favorite creation:
$6 10lb bag of rice = 30 meals
$10 3lb of chicken = 8 meals
$5 1lb box of spinach = 12 meals
$5 4lb jar of salsa = 10 meals
When the math is done, every one of these healthy and filling meals costs me $2.37! If this is cheaper meal than what your average meal costs, I would highly recommend trying to meal prep!