Meal prep is a strange hybrid of my least and most favorite thing to do. The true embodiment of bittersweet. While I’m often bitter of the incessant Tupperware cleaning and the few hours of precious study time I have to donate to prepping, my weeks are so so so so so (have I mentioned so??) much sweeter when I meal prep. I look forward to my meals, and their color and flavor punctuate a sometimes dull and grey 8 hour day of classes. A week of satiation and smooth sailing. Sail on down below for some easy meal prep tips, and click on the PDF link to find an entire grocery list + recipes + 5 day meal plan!
A few tips:
- Break meal prep up into two days. Roast veggies / toss a crock pot in one night, and finish with the rest the next morning.
- Clean as you go! Don’t leave a whole sink of dirty dishes for the end. You will go insane and consequently leave things to “soak” for the next two weeks.
- Bring soap to class to clean out Tupperware there. That way you can avoid the inevitable Tupperware tantrum that greets you after a long day away from home, and all you have to do is put new food in for the next day.
- Get a big insulated carry bag. Trader Joe’s sells nice ones that are affordable. This one is similar to one I have.
- Do what works for you. Sometimes the best plan is just not being so rigid with a plan. I had entirely converted to glass Tupperware before this program, but if I want to get even an ounce of movement in before class, that means I’m walking. And if you’ve ever walked a few miles carrying a lunch bag that weighs ~30 pounds, you will be kyphotic before breakfast. I switched back to plastic Tupperware on mornings I’m doing a lot of walking, otherwise my spine is crying for the remainder of the day.
- If you’re using plastic Tupperware, make sure to wrap an elastic band around the top of it. There is nothing worse than a crockpot beef dish or a salmon salad spilling into your bag. You walk around carrying that scent with you, and everyone finds you both suspicious and ~fishy.
- Speaking of not being so rigid with a plan, this meal plan is simply a rough guide of what I have in a day. Sometimes I add in a few extra snacks – it’s a trial and error process and each week is different, but experiment until you find something that works for you! I also love packing some lemon or tea bags to bring to class to sip on in the afternoon.
- I also pack an enormous water bottle with me and try to drink at least 3 of them throughout the day. Plus if I have to pee more, I’m at least walking a bit (to the bathroom) during an arduous 8 hour day of classes.
- Always keep extra snacks in your bag – pistachios, RX bars, Eat IQ bars are some of my favorite things to have in case of snack-mergency.
- Enjoy and actually chew your meals! Yes it sucks that they’re not always perfectly cooked right out of the oven, but one of the best pieces of advice my therapist gave me was to use meal time as form of pseudo-meditation. Even if just for 10 minutes, really try to be aware and present of what you’re tasting, rather than simply scarfing it down out of classroom boredom. This translates to more awareness throughout the day, and a feeling of greater satisfaction at the end of a meal. Slow is the way to go.
If you want a PDF of a grocery list with recipes, click on this link to check out this month’s meal plan: TOL_MEALPLAN – 5:28:18
I keep running out of time to comment but wanted to drop you one to say thank you so much for this.
Also balancing full-time work with school and 3 hrs a day spent commuting so the health thing has really been falling by the wayside (and blood sugar crashes don’t help when your emotional health is also teetering on the brink). Going to try this for next week!
Hoping summer semester goes well for you and know that if you’re having an emotional day there’s a Canadian counterpart also simultaneously enjoying and questioning her educational decisions 🙂
Thank you for this! I’m a PA student too and your guide has given me the tools to prep healthy meals as well as stop making excuses! Best of luck with your studies and I’m looking forward to your next meal guide!