A Student Meal Prepping Guide

My name is Áine Ní Shíocháin. I moved to Galway from Cork to attend the university this year. I
have learnt a lot after moving away from home, one of the most important things being how
to cook and prepare all of my own meals. To be honest, I find cooking a BIG DOSE. It takes up time, money, and energy.

However, I have bypassed my distaste of cooking by meal prepping all my dinners. I do a big meal prep
cook every two to three weeks. This is a fabulous way to make life as a student easier,
cheaper, and best of all, you are not spending all of your time in the kitchen!

I find cooking a BIG DOSE

Another great reason to prepare and then freeze your meals is that it reduces waste. My
vegetables and bread always used to get mouldy, which is not ideal. But since pre preparing
all of my dinners I find I waste a lot less food and save a lot more money.
And so, I’ve collected a few bits of advice for anyone wanting to start meal prepping.

The Big Shop

Phase One of meal prepping is of course, the Big Shop. Whether it be Aldi, Lidl, TESCO
(Did you remember your Clubcard?) make sure to bring your shopping bag and detailed
shopping list. This is a one stop shop, and you are sticking to your ingredients list. Impulse
spending is for wild things and today you are the embodiment of a sensible student.
Always try to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season, on offer or frozen, as this will
reduce your costs by a fair bit. Try and opt for the own brand products to make your budget
stretch that bit farther. Exceptions can be made for Barry’s Tea. You’re only human after all.

When you have returned from the Big Shop take a deep breath. Phase Two: Cooking is about
to commence. My recommendations are as follows: Bulk out your meals with beans, lentils and other protein sources I recommend always adding extra protein sources that are cheap. I add tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils to any meal I make and they bulk up your meals, make them more filling and make your meal prep last much longer. The tofu is especially great because you’re getting super high-quality protein (HBV for anyone who did Junior Cert Home Ec. Those were the days). Tofu is often a lot cheaper than its equivalent grams in chicken or beef.

Make it Fun!

Throw on some good music, comfy clothes and fill up your water bottle. Cooking three big
dinners in one evening is no mean feat, which is the reason I only do it every three weeks.

Being Gordon Ramsey is a serious occupation that requires an excellent playlist and staying
hydrated. If it’s not enjoyable you’ll never do it again, so do what works for you. Variety is the spice of life and the secret ingredient to a nice dinner. I always make sure to have very different meals prepared. I usually go for one curry, one stew, and one miscellaneous concoction. The miscellaneous option is more than likely the last dish I make when I am at the stage where I am just firing spices and vegetables into a pan and hoping for the best. But how bad. Variety is essential though because after eating the same three meals for two weeks, you will be wanting something different after a while. At the moment, I am only meal prepping dinners and I think I will keep it this way. I like having my lunches to experiment with or to have with friends.


When Phase Two is complete the bulk of the work has been done. Phase Three: Storage is
simple and requires only two words: freezer bags. I see the beautifully aesthetic influencers on TikTok storing their weekly meal prep in huge Tupperware lunchboxes. But trying to put those monstrosities of boxes into a student freezer, where you are lucky even to get one full shelf, would quite simply, break my heart. Freezer bags all the way. I usually put two or three portions in one freezer bag.

And there you have it! A meal prep to last you a fortnight, or at the very least a few days. I
hope these tips help other students to save time, money and energy. Now, to shops!

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