Meal prepping seems fairly easy and simple, but as a college sophomore alone in the kitchen for the first time, it can be a bit more complicated for me. In reality, meal prepping is somewhat overwhelming; you have to plan what to eat, when to go grocery shopping, when to cook, and so on.
Here are some tips for first-time college cooks struggling with meal prepping:
Make a plan. Write out your whole week’s worth of meals to cook. Regardless of how you’re planning to eat–perhaps a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or snacks for lunch and a large dinner–plan it out.
Pick which and how many meals to prepare. Pick whatever meal(s) you eat more consistently and meal prep it according to what days you regularly eat them. I meal prep lunches for week days since I tend to improvise breakfast and dinner. I also don’t follow a food schedule for the weekends, so I only plan my meals on week days.
Pick a simple recipe for your meal(s). The best recipes are the doable ones. Plan to cook things you know you won’t mess up, and which you know you’ll enjoy, too.
Go grocery shopping the same day you plan to cook. The day you make that plan and pick what to prepare, go grocery shopping. This way, your ingredients and ideas will stay fresh for cooking.
Do it on Sundays. Meal prepping on Sundays allows you to feel more in control of the following week. Not only that, but on most Sundays—whether you go to Church, have chapter for your sorority, sport commitments, etc.—you’ll have the extra time.
Make a time frame. A time frame for the food prepping itself will help you focus on getting the task done, as well as help you schedule your Sunday if you’re busy. I take a recipe time and double it in my head, just to be safe, because I’m fairly new at cooking.
Following these tips will at least make meal prepping more manageable, and maybe even make it a habit.