How To Meal Plan? The Prestige Guide For Students
Table of Contents
It is so exciting to move into your new luxury student home and to get to know your new surroundings.
Sure, you’ll want to get out there and try out a few different restaurants and cafés in the town you’ve moved to, but with a modern kitchen and appliances ready for you at home, it’s also important to settle down into a good routine with how and what you eat.
If you are living away from home on your own for the first time, you might be looking for tips as to how to look after yourself when it comes to food and cooking.
Meal planning is a fantastic way to plan ahead, try out some delicious and nutritious recipes and save money in the process.
The benefits of meal planning
There are a few benefits to a meal plan as a student, but the biggest is definitely the cost savings and how this has an impact on your ability to budget and live responsibly.
This aspect of student living and looking after ourselves, for the first time in many cases, is often overlooked.
Planning your meals and then getting into the habit of meal prepping is a fantastic thing to do.
It saves you time and money if you spend a couple of hours at the beginning of each week, planning out your main meals and prepping each meal ready to be cooked.
A solid meal plan and a good routine helps you to look after your body nutritionally, and also gives you more time to spend socialising and studying in the week rather than fretting about what your next meal is going to be.
Make sure you have freezer/fridge space
Before you do any meal planning and prepping for the week ahead, it is important that you are prepared to do so.
Make sure that you have enough space in your fridge and freezer.
Have enough Tupperware containers in your student apartment ready to fill with different meals, as this is the easiest way to store and prepare meals in nice, simple to measure out dishes.
If there are certain vegetables that you know you will be using in your meal prep, prepare and cut these in advance of the main cooking session, it will help you save time in the end.
Choose your protein carefully
If you eat meat and fish, this is more important than if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
Any animal-based products that you buy in your groceries will likely be the most expensive item on your shopping list so it is therefore important to think carefully about a protein choice that you can cook in a variety of ways.
Buying chicken breasts, for example, will mean you can cook a curry one day, fajitas the next, and even a simple roast dinner at the weekend. It makes it more likely that you won’t waste ingredients and throw your money away with the food waste in the bin.
You never want to make things boring and end up cooking the same meal to eat every day for the next week.
A meal plan is about variety, having fun with recipes and ingredients, but you also have to think about your food budget and the best way to stretch your money over the course of the coming week.
This is where it pays off to do a little bit of research when choosing ingredients.
Buying some ingredients in bulk helps you to reduce your food bill, but you have to make sure those are ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes.
So mince (whether veggie or meat), potatoes, carrots, frozen peas, pasta, beans and other similar ingredients are all great and flexible ingredients to have in the house, as you can use them for multiple dishes.
Think of great dishes to portion and freeze
There are some great dishes that you can cook up and portion out into multiple containers for you to eat at a later date or to cook for times when you have guests, without it costing you the earth.
Plan ahead to make a big pasta Bolognese, where you can pack the dish full of veggies and portion it out into 4 for instance, giving you dishes for weeks ahead if you like.
A chilli or a pasta bake has a similar vibe, it is as easy to cook up a big batch as it is to cook a small portion for one dish, and it uses up your budget smartly and provides you meals for the future with ease.
Get the staples in
When you are first putting together a meal plan, think about your cupboard staples.
Buy certain items in bulk that you can store and use for the weeks and months ahead, and that can always be used as part of any recipe.
These staples will change depending on your diet and tastes of course but think about items such as frozen vegetables, tinned tomatoes, pasta, oils, potatoes, rice, lentils and beans, herbs and spices.
These are the types of food items that are often much cheaper to buy in bulk and can be stored in the cupboard and stay in good condition for ages.
Choose your favourites and build a recipe book
Once you’ve got into the routine of putting together a meal plan for the week ahead and you’ve discovered some new favourite ingredients, it gives you so much scope and confidence to try new things.
Why not take your new favourite food and look for different recipes that you can try out over the coming weeks and months?
It will help you to develop new cooking skills and teach you ways in which you can make any humble ingredient become a staple in a thousand different tasty ways.
Bookmark your favourite recipes and don’t be afraid to delve deeper into certain ingredients or different types of cuisine that you have tried and liked.
It can be quite daunting to start cooking for yourself at home if you are not used to doing so, but it can also be very fun to expand your tastebuds and your horizons. Getting into the habit of a weekly meal plan will help you to budget well, to ensure that you always have a nutritious meal each day and maybe help you find a whole new love for cooking.
After 5 recipes with just 5 ingredients? Click here to find out more!