Be Your Own Prep Chef

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As a busy student, prepping my meals ahead of time on the weekends helps save time when I honestly cannot be bothered.

I’m usually willing to spend an extra 20 minutes cooking rice or pasta because I like the taste of a freshly cooked dish, but if you really don’t have the time, meal preps are ideal. If you hate eating the same meal for 5 days a week like I do, keep your ingredients as basic as possible.

Food preps also don’t take up much time, so don’t worry about spending the entire day dicing up carrots. Trust me, you won’t need THAT much.

You will thank yourself for taking the initiative to prepare in advance.

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  • Chop up your vegetables.

It’ll make it soooooo much easier.

If you live in a dorm and don’t have a freezer, you probably wouldn’t want to buy frozen vegetables. I imagine they would become limp fast and wouldn’t be as good of a quality as when they are what they are meant to be: frozen.

The best way is to buy fresh veggies like carrots, celery or broccoli and chop them up into whatever shapes you prefer to be kept in the fridge.

It’s important to plan out your meals.

That way you don’t end up with too many freshly cut veggies that you might end up not using, which can lead to them quickly rotting. Especially when it comes to cucumbers, zucchinis, and squash where dicing it up can have it become soggy faster than they would if you left them untouched.

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  •  Keep your food as fresh as possible.

Try to keep fruits and vegetables fresh, so they stay good for long. For example, if you buy tofu, Tupperwares are your best friend.

As soon as I buy tofu I never leave them in the packages they came with. Instead, I quickly put them in a Tupperware filled with water.

To keep the tofu as fresh as it possibly can, try to replace the water every two days. It sounds like a pain in the butt to do, but honestly, whatever I can do to prolong another trip to the supermarket is always worth it. Not only that, a little bit of water in your Tupperware can keep your vegetables nice and fresh.

Also, if you submerge some whole green onions into some water, the green onions can actually grow a little bit more!

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  • Plan around one whole meal.

This can be for lunch or dinner because that would usually be your main meal. Make it in bulk.

Easy meals like fried rice or pasta require only a few ingredients, which will save more time and it only needs to be heated up in the microwave. If you need something more, you can fry an egg to go with it or add those chopped up vegetables.

Soups are amazing at storing and are quick to be reheated, as well.

Having condiments can do wonders to adding some zing to your typical mushroom soup or stew! Try croutons or spices.

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  •  Buy buildable ingredients.

By the end of the week, you probably don’t want to eat fried rice anymore. Maybe after a nap, you just want something different. We’ve all been there.

I usually center this around making burritos or pizzas because you can add on different things.

I buy a few packs of tortilla, which usually end up lasting me the whole month. To prevent them from going bad fast, I keep one pack in the fridge and the others in the freezer. (Note: It does NOT mean it can no longer be eaten when it’s passed its expiration date if you store it in the freezer properly.) I make sure to have canned beans or my favorite sauce on hand, so I can just whip everything up and add the vegetables or cooked protein onto it. For the tortilla pizzas, just place them in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes or until they’re crispy.

Marsya: there has been a couple of times where I eat nothing but fried rice for a week. What saves me from getting sick of eating the same thing is that I make sure that the fried rice I make differs from one another.

It’s actually really easy and sorta fun to experiment with different ingredient types as well as styles to make different fried rice! Try using curry powder – heck even the type of curry powder you use can make a world of difference – or different type of vegetables of differing textures or tastes.

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  •  Label your foods.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it has happened to me before where I get so into prepping my foods for the week that I’ve forgotten to write down when exactly I bought them.

I think it’s important to be well-aware of the dates you bought them so that you are exactly in the know. I prepare my own chicken stock and I find it vital to label when I’ve made it too. Labeling saves the heartache and pain of opening up a Tupperware later only to find out that it’s gone bad.

Labeling also helps for you to reach out to your refrigerated foods easily.

When you have so many food containers or opened cans in a small fridge, you tend to forget what you own in the first place. They get all pushed to the back of the fridge only to be rediscovered again a week later. Labeling will help ensure your carefully planned prep does not go unnoticed.

And there you go! Have fun food prepping!

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