How to Meal Prep Effectively as a College Student

For a college student, finding places and ways to eat is always going to be on the mind. Of course, freshmen at Cal who live in the residence halls are provided with meal points, as well as other students who also choose to purchase points. These meal points become very useful and convenient at nearby dining halls or cafes. However, students who do not have meal points would need to find other ways. Apart from eating out, which is always an option, I also enjoy meal prepping and cooking my own food in the kitchen as well. On weekends, I love shopping at Trader Joe’s and coming back home with two large bags of groceries. When I meal prep, I like to alternate vegetable and meat options I use each week. Below are some tips and ways in which I like to meal prep.

  1. Pasta has always been one of my best friends. When meal prepping, I usually use pasta as one of my main source of carbs. After bringing a pot of water to boil, I toss in the pasta and let it sit for around ten minutes, or until I am satisfied with the tenderness by trying out a piece of pasta with a fork.
  2. Have fun with pasta! I love alternating the different shapes of pasta/spaghetti each week, and I make an effort to switch it up whenever I make my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s. However, I am very partial towards bow-tie pasta and find myself gravitating towards it plenty of times.
  3. For vegetable options, two of my favorite vegetables are broccoli and brussel sprouts. I would spread two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over three cups of each vegetable and sprinkle some salt and pepper for seasoning. Finally, I would toss them on a sheet of parchment paper laid out on a baking sheet before sticking the entire sheet into the oven. At 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I would bake these veggies for around 15 minutes or until I am satisfied with the outer crispness. Of course, you may use this cooking method with whatever veggies you prefer and it does not have to be limited to only those two that I have mentioned.
  4. Finally, for my source of protein, I love buying chicken breasts from Trader Joe’s and frying the chicken pieces in a pan. Before sticking the pieces in a pan coated with cooking oil, I would sprinkle seasoning over the chicken. In the pan, I would fry them until they are golden brown on both sides.
  5. Of course, I also love to use chia seeds, quinoa, and tofu in my meals. This is also a great way to get some protein in if you are vegetarian or vegan!
  6. Finally, I would place a bit of each of the food I made in plastic containers before sticking them in the fridge.

Meal prepping has not only allowed me to enjoy grocery shopping, but has also trained me to become more efficient in my daily tasks. Nowadays, I absolutely love meal prepping because it is relaxing and stress-relieving!

Alice Kane

Author: Alice Kane

Hi-ya! I'm Alice, a third-year undergraduate student studying both English and Conservation and Resource Studies here at the University of California. I grew up in the bay area and always dreamed of coming Cal - and here I am! Studying two completely different fields of study can be challenging, but it's an unbelievably rewarding experience. I get to learn about the world from some of the most brilliant professors, from both a scientific and artistic perspective! In the times I'm not studying, you can find me writing, reading, and/or eating at the Free Speech Movement Cafe or on memorial glade, spending time with good friends, at a national park, or petting dogs on Sproul! Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you around campus sometime soon. Go Bears!