The Art of Meal Prep
Meal Prepping, Tips and Recipes that You Will Regret Not Having Known Before
Have you ever come home to find no food left in the fridge? So have I… and my only options were yet another pack of ramen or crazy expensive food delivery. Since I’ve learned the art of meal prepping, I now have more than two survival strategies to avoid starvation.
Meal prepping allows you to save a lot of time in your busy weeks by allocating a few hours to cooking on a sunday afternoon (or whatever day fits your schedule). And that’s it, most of your meals will be ready for the following week! When it’s dinner time, you’ll just have to heat up your meal prep. Same goes for lunch; it becomes easy and budget-friendly to pack your tupperware before heading out to campus.
Ready to begin your meal prepping journey? Here are some of my tips and favourite recipes to get started!
In my opinion, the key principles of meal prepping are based on making it fun, saving money and being organized.
First of all, having staples in your cupboard and fridge to easily elevate a boring meal is a must (e.g. soy sauce, sesame seeds, mustard, sesame oil, fish sauce, sriracha, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, nuts, herbs, etc). This will allow you to switch things up regularly and avoid feeling like you're eating the same bland meals every day. Also, for a satisfying and healthy meal, I would recommend building your plate with the three following components: a source of vegetables, a source of carbs (rice, pasta, quinoa, etc.) and a source of protein (fish, meat, eggs, etc.).
Second, budgeting is crucial when it comes to meal prepping. It may sound obvious, but look out for products that are on special and shop at Segal’s for cheap essentials. Allocating a portion of your monthly budget for groceries and other food-related expenses is the best way to make wiser decisions. Choosing frozen vegetables and fruits is always a budget-friendly option; they won’t go bad as fast.
Finally, being organized is the supreme guiding principle. Plan your meals and what you need to buy before you set foot in the grocery store. Also, stack up on air-tight containers to store your food in the fridge: they will also keep your meals fresher for longer. Don’t hesitate to freeze leftovers if you don’t think you’ll eat them before they expire.
Three-bean Mediterranean salad: 4 servings
Drain and rinse 3 cans of beans (19 fl oz each) of your choice and add them to a mixing bowl alongside 1 chopped red onion, 3 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 cup of feta cheese and the juice of a lemon as well as 2 tbsp. of olive oil (add some fresh parsley if you’re feeling extra).
Tofu rice bowl: 3 to 4 servings
Chop a block of tofu into cubes and let it marinate in a bowl with 2 tbsp. of cornstarch, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce and 1 tbsp. sesame oil for at least 30 minutes. Then, place the tofu on a baking tray and bake it in the oven at 400 F for 45 minutes. Cook rice according to the packaging and steam any veggies you'd like (green beans and carrots are my go-to) to serve alongside.
Sheet pan salmon and veggies: 2 servings
Chop one head of broccoli and roughly 3 cups of potatoes. Place them on a baking tray. In a bowl mix 3 cloves of garlic, a thumb-sized piece of ginger, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce and 2 tbsp. of olive oil evenly distributed on the veggies (keep half of the sauce for the salmon). Place the baking sheet in the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Place the salmon fillets on another baking sheet and cover them in the remaining sauce before cooking in the oven for 15 minutes.
Creamy lentil stew with naan: 2 to 3 servings
Sauté a chopped onion, three cloves of garlic, a thumb-sized piece of ginger, and 2 carrots in a saucepan with oil. Once the vegetables are soft, add 1 tsp. each of cumin, garam masala, and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 min before adding a can of chopped tomatoes, a can of coconut milk and one cup of broth. Simmer for 20 minutes and finally add a can of lentils and a bunch of spinach. Serve with naan bread and yoghurt.
This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 1, published August 30, 2022.