On Sunday afternoons, my roommates know to steer clear of the kitchen. Why? Ashley’s meal-prepping! Between class, practice, work, internship, etc., I often times find myself in my house for no longer than, oh, thirty seconds at a time- definitely not long enough to prepare a healthy meal. Even when I am home at the end of night, after practice is done at midnight, I usually don’t have the effort to do much more than grab a sleeve of Oreos (oops). Eventually I got tired of waking up each morning and feeling like crap from what I had eaten the night before- so I found myself on Google (where else?) searching healthy, quick and easy meals. Over the last month I can confidently say I have mastered the art of meal prepping. Below are a few recipes, and a few tips on how to set your self up for success. Happy eating!
1. Make sure you’re cooking protein. When on the run, it is easy to forget about protein and just grab a granola bar, or simply boil some water for spaghetti. I usually do my food shopping on Sunday, so I’ll buy a pack of chicken breasts and cook all of them, then put them in the fridge and add pieces to meals throughout the week. If making a salad, add some type of bean, as they are high in protein as well.
2. Cut up and separate fruits and veggies. Produce Junction is a great place to go for cheap fruits and veggies. I find myself grabbing carrots, broccoli, melon, strawberries, black berries (you name it), for under $20 most of the time. Then I separate them into Tupperware so it’s easy to stick into my lunch bag, or school bag. I pour condiments into small containers as well (ranch for the veggies, coolwhip or cottage cheese for the fruit) to have some extra flavor. [pullquote align=”center”]The mason jar salads is my go-to lunch option.[/pullquote]
3. Lay out everything the night before. Don’t pre- make food like peanut butter and jellies or deli sandwiches- they get soggy very quick. If you know you want to make one for your lunch the next day, lay out the bread and peanut butter, your sandwich baggy or Tupperware you’re putting it in- I mean everything. It might sound silly, but we all know how much that 5 extra minutes in the morning means!
4. Mason Jar Salads. The mason jar salad is my go-to lunch option. They are easy to make, and extremely easy to vary in flavor. Start with putting dressing on the bottom, to avoid getting the lettuce soggy. Next, add your protein: chicken (that you prepared on Sunday), beans, rice, etc, anything chunky that will not get soggy. Next add any fruits or veggies, with the lettuce being the last thing you put in. This way, when you dump all the ingredients out of the jar and into the plate or bowl you will eat on, the dressing will be on top!
5. Breakfast Parfaits. Again, using mason jars, scoop a healthy amount into the bottom. I then cut up the fruit I bought at Produce Junction and top off with granola. Don’t put the granola in until the morning you are ready to eat it, though- if you put the mason jar in the fridge with the granola, it wont be crunchy!
Ashley Cantasano is a third-year student who is majoring in marketing and adverisement. She can be reached at AC784683@wcupa.edu.