Meal prepping: How you can cook once and eat well all week

26 Apr 2019,
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

What are Sundays for? Movies in bed. Recovering from the night before. Calling your mum. Planning out your week. Coursework (maybe). How about cooking?

Make Sunday your cooking day, and it’ll be the only cooking you do all week. You’ll have a fridge full of healthy food, ready to eat, and more time to do the fun things in life.

Here’s how to cook once on a Sunday and take the rest of the week off.

This isn’t Masterchef. This is feeding yourself at uni on limited funds and limited time.

1. Master some staple meals

This isn’t Masterchef. This is feeding yourself at uni on limited funds and limited time. Don’t worry about making works of art, just focus on nutritious home-cooked meals.

Bolognese, chilli con carne, veggie curry, fajitas. These are all simple, balanced dishes you can make in bulk and keep for lunch and dinner later in the week.

Related: 10 Tasty and filling 30-minute meals to master this term

2. Get some good tupperware

Those plastic tubs your takeaway comes in won’t do. You need containers big enough to hold a decent portion and that you can trust not to leak in your bag.

Asda’s 1ltr glass roaster costs just £3 and it’s oven and microwave safe. Invest in four of these and use them to bake, store, and take-away your favourite meals.

3. Decide what and how much to cook

If you’re cooking just for yourself, it’s likely that just three meals will cover a week of dinners and lunches. Got a busy week? Having friends over? Adjust as you need to.

Calculate how many portions each batch will give you, then plot them on your weekly planner. This way, you’ll always have enough to eat and you’ll never waste any food.

Related: Batch cooking: Take the stress out of your kitchen

4. Make a list and head to the shops

Once you’ve decided what to cook, make a list. If you need a lot of heavy ingredients, you might want to bribe a flatmate to help you with the bags (chocolate usually works).

You’re probably sick of hearing this by now but, unless something’s on a particularly generous bulk-buy offer, the supermarket’s own brand will almost always be cheapest.

Related: Student store cupboard essentials: How much does food cost?

5. Cook and unwind

Cooking can be therapy. There’s a mindful quality to washing, peeling, chopping, and stirring. It’s relaxing to give your undivided attention to simple tasks like this.

Fill the washing-up bowl with hot, soapy water so you can keep the kitchen clean and tidy as you go. Then enjoy a couple of hours of thoughtful food appreciation.

Option B: Put your favourite playlist on and sing your heart out.

Related: 45 Easy ways to relax in your room

6. Store for later

With the cooking done, all that’s left is to divide the food between your containers. Allow everything to cool properly before you put it in the fridge or freezer.

Ok, maybe there’s some washing up left too. But think of that as another mindfulness/karaoke opportunity too - something to help you zone out and relax.

Related: What to take to uni: 12 absolutely essential student items

7. Feel smug and enjoy yourself

Meal-prepping is very much a part of the productivity craze. It’s all about making the effort to plan and save yourself time. And if you’re making the effort, you should feel proud of it.

So enjoy all the time and cash you’re saving. Leave your dinner in the freezer every now and then and treat yourself to a meal out with friends - you’ve earned it.

Look out for more on this topic

Throughout January, we’ll be sharing more tips on planning your time and using it to do the stuff you love. Check out the January tag for all relevant articles.

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This isn’t Masterchef. This is feeding yourself at uni on limited funds and limited time.
By Unite Students
Staff writer at The Common Room