9 EASY Tips For Homemade Meal Prep For College Students (2023)

When you leave home for the first time, you might wonder how to start making cheap meal prep for the week. That’s certainly what I wondered when I first started uni, and I thought it could be interesting to share a few good tips to have healthy, homemade meal prep for college students. Whether you’re eating low carb prepared meals or are looking into carnivore meal prep, I’m going to tell you about some really good ways to homemade meal prep for college students.

That’s especially important given that when you’re a student, you’re looking to improve your productivity, and food is a crucial way to increase your overall work performance.

Here, we’re going to be talking about pantry goods, great whole foods, planning, scheduling, seasoning, and much more – everything for you to be successful in terms of cheap and healthy meal prep for students without having to use expensive meal prepping services!

9 Healthy Tips To Homemade Meal Prep For College Students

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If this is your first time visiting The Working Line, welcome to your BFF blog for productivity online. I love writing about ways to be productive working from home, and since I have been a freelance writer and blogger for quite some time, I have grown fond of finding the best cafes to work in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, and anywhere I happen to visit.

Today, we’re going to be talking about healthy, homemade meal prep for college students. I’m talking about easy and quick ways to make cheap recipes all week round, and very fun-to-apply tips to make your meal prep and stock it in the fridge to be enjoyed at lunch break and save a lot of money. It’s also very important to know how to meal prep easily, especially if you’re planning on living in a hostel while you study abroad.

In the meantime, if you’d like to discover more amazing cafes to work and coworking spaces around the world, you might want to take a look at these guides on The Working Line:

  • the best coworking spaces in East London
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  • and the best cafes to work in Rome Italy

Now, let’s get on with the best tips to meal prep for college students, when you’re broke, away from home, and feeling overwhelmed with that new exciting life of yours!

PS. Discover the best secondhand bookshops in London – when you know how to meal prep, you’ll have some more budget to treat yourself to a new used book or two!

Don’t Meal Prep Too Much At Once

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Listen, I know you’re a student – and I know how meal prep for college students is. I was one still, not too long ago, and I used to love finding new cheap meals for college students on blogs. I don’t want to say that I became an expert at cooking over time, especially since I do not like cooking to start with. That’s also why I started making recipes with very few ingredients, and since I love my raw foods and big salads, I would usually not take too much time cooking and meal prepping for college.

But when you’re a student, you might be tempted to do what’s called Meal Prep Sundays, which literally means that you spend a great chunk of your Sunday meal prepping for college. And something about spending almost all of my Sunday doing an activity I do not enjoy doesn’t sit right with me – healthy recipes involved or not.

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What I started doing is meal prepping twice a week, because I never truly worked out how people can make those countless meal prep containers that we see on Instagram, and never get tired of eating the exact same thing 5 days in a row. When you start meal prepping for the week, I’d definitely recommend breaking down your meal preparation into two different days.

You’re going to get burned out if you start cooking everything in one go, especially if you’re not used to it and cooking isn’t your cup of tea. Be aware of the ingredients you use, as there are lots of veggies you can repurpose during the week so you don’t have to keep starting recipes all over again every other day.

Meal prep for college students might be a hassle, especially when you’re studying a course that really takes up all of your time. You’re going to need to get into a routine, but don’t freak out – it’s really, really fun to do homemade meal prep, especially if you’re short on time and money and don’t like cooking.

Homemade Meal Prep For College Students: Buy in Bulk

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One of the best tips for homemade meal prep for college students I can think of is to buy in bulk. Either you know someone who has something like a Costco membership and you can buy a year’s worth of dry foods like pasta and rice, or you can go to cheap shops like Lidl and Aldi to get lots of low and non-perishable foods like lentils, chickpeas, and beans.

Buying in bulk is the best way to make cheap meal prep bags when you’re a college student and are still unsure what to cook for the week. It will always be one of the best tips for healthy meals and recipes, as it saves a lot of time for shopping and preparing the food, and it makes some headspace for you to focus on lessons and projects.

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Only buy the foods that you know you really like and wouldn’t mind eating over and over again. I usually go through phases of eating eggs for countless days in a row, or pasta, or rice, and then I start another food addiction. You still need some variety, and your meal prep should be split between the dry foods and the fresh foods that you’ll use here and there.

The thing is, when you’re looking for homemade meal prep for college students, if you’re buying ingredients in bulk, then you can also cook in bulk and it will really help you out with your budget. Plus, you’ll save a lot of the time that you’d usually use to travel to the shop, whether on foot, by bus, or by car. It’s better to spend some time once a week or every two weeks doing your shopping than having to go every two days, whether you’re a uni student or a working person, anyway.

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Cheap Meal Prep For Students: Be Mindful of Storage

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When you’re looking to do some healthy meal prepping with fresh and healthy ingredients like tons of veggies, you’re going to need to be mindful of the containers you use. It is impossible that you cook something and leave it in the pan, in the fridge, for the whole week. First of all, if you do so, your fridge will stink, and you waste time transferring the food to a plate because you have only one pan and really need to use it for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.

When looking into meal prep for students, one of the best tips to prepare food for the week that I can give you is to invest in little plastic containers. If you live in a city like London, all you’ll need to do is visit budget shops like Poundland or Savers, but you can also get dirt cheap meal prep containers off websites like Amazon or eBay.

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I have lots of boxes of all sizes at home, and even if I’m not a student anymore, having lots of storage at hand when you’re starting homemade meal prep for college students really helps. It takes out the stress factor of starting something new, for starters. Then, once all your food is cooked and put into separate boxes, all you have to do before going to uni is take a box of your meal prep out of the fridge and just head on out.

Cheap Meal Prep For Students: Use Low-Prep Time Foods

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There are foods that take way less time to cook than others, and when you’re looking for ideas and recipes for cheap meal prep for students, then those are the ingredients that will really come in handy. I’m talking about rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes,… Homemade meal prep can become a hassle quickly if you start cooking only very fresh foods that go bad after two days. You need to think smartly, and student meal prep instantly becomes way easier with a handful of low-perishable foods.

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Then, when you’re preparing your meals for college, I would also recommend cooking several things at the same time. You don’t want to meal prep one dish, then start with a new one once you’re done with the first. For efficient and cheap meals for college students, you’re going to want to use your pans, crockpots, and oven – all at the same time. That’s where being organized and learning how to prioritize comes in handy. Because you know that you have to start with the ingredients that take the longest to cook, then slowly add in the rest.

You really need to be structured and learn how to cook everything at the same time. The only reason is that at the beginning, you might be super excited about cooking, and then over time, feel that you’re getting tired and might not follow up with the next recipes you had set out to cook.

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So, just do everything at the same time as much as possible, and use some fresh veggies that just need some cutting as a snack for lunch. I’m talking about things like hummus in which you can dip cucumber and carrot sticks, which is something I do very often. Once you’re done, put your meal prep in the fridge, and you’re all set for the next few days!

Homemade Meal Prep For College Students: Use The Freezer

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One of the best pieces of advice for homemade meal prep for college students conscious about their health and the quality of foods that they put in their bodies: use your freezer. This is one of the best ways to make cheap, quick, and healthy meals as you can freeze practically anything. What I love doing is making enough of one recipe so I get two or three extra meals out of it – that’s when your plastic and/or aluminum containers will come in handy.

Meal prepping for college students gets that much easier when you think of some cheap recipes with chicken and rice, plus a handful of veggies and nuts on the side for a snack during the day.

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What you can also do, which I started doing when I was still a student, is prepare some really good sauce dishes in a crockpot, and get minute rice packs that I just have to put in the same box for lunch.

It’s better to buy rice in bulk, that’s for sure, but if you’re really short on time and have some extra dollars to spare for those days where healthy and homemade meal prep is trickier, then that’s always an option.

Homemade Meal Prep For College Students: Double The Recipes

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I mentioned this one above since it’s something I personally do as soon as I am in full meal prepping mode – double, triple, quadruple the recipes! Whether you’re looking to make some vegan or carnivore meal prep for college students, it’s always going to save that much more time to double or triple the recipes.

If you really want to find ways to make cheap meal prep for the week, then you’re going to save tons of time if you take the habit of doubling the amount of ingredients you’re putting into your recipes. Make sure you make recipes you really love, though, otherwise, you might save time and money, but mental health-wise, you’re not going to be too happy to eat something you’re not fond of at lunch break during a hectic uni day.

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Low carb prepared meals are easy to prepare, with stir-fried veggies glazed with some soy or teriyaki sauce. But you can definitely double the recipes for everything and anything, and as long as you can keep the prepared meals in the fridge or freezer for three or four days, then you’ve already saved precious time that you can focus on school, exercising or the occasional hangout with friends.

If you can always have something ready to heat up in the fridge, then you’ve already gotten the hang of homemade meal prep for college students who are busy and exhausted after a long day.

Cheap Meal Prep For Students: Stock Up On Pantry Goods

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For successful meal prep for college students, stocking up on pantry goods is one of the best pieces of advice I can ever give you. I’m talking about dry foods such as pasta, beans, rice, lentils, chickpeas, and all those dry foods that might take some time to cook, but once you cook them in bulk, are healthy and have saved you a lot of hassle for the upcoming week.

Healthy meal prepping for college is easier when you have those pantry goods always at the ready. All you have to do is add some protein if you’re looking to do carnivore meal prep. I would usually add only veggies and a sauce since I don’t eat that much meat and ingredients such as beans and lentils are high in both protein and fiber (which helps you digest more easily).

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When you make your shopping list and schedule cheap meal prep for college students, look inside your cupboards and try to figure out what you have bought and eaten, and what you have bought but are reluctant to eat. Do not buy this again, and try to cook those ingredients as soon as possible so they are out of the way and make space for new delicious dishes.

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For cheap and quick meal prep recipes for students, what you can do is prepare all the beans at once. Then, stock up on some delicious sauces – teriyaki, sweet and sour, soy sauce, Maggi sauce… Then, fry up some veggies in a wok or a pan, and do a half-half in your plastic containers. Bam, meal prep for college students is done in less than two or three hours, and for several days.

Homemade Meal Prep For College Students: Plan Your Shopping List

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This is a piece of advice that doesn’t only relate to meal prep for college students, to be honest. Everyone going food shopping should always have a shopping list precise and ready. This avoids you from getting hungry during the shopping, and wanting to get all the snacks, biscuits, and candy you come across. I assume that if you’re a student and looking to get into cheap meal prep for the week, it is because your budget isn’t that high.

As such, if you can eat before you go to the supermarket, your eyes won’t tell your stomach to get all the candy bars they see. For healthy food prep, separate food into categories: carbs, fats, and protein. Be mindful of what you’re about to eat – if you eat too much rice compared to the veggies portion, you might start lacking fiber and have problems going to the bathroom. In that case, when you get to the fruits section, build good high-fiber habits with fruits such as apples, and get yourself some nuts to eat either at the end of lunchtime or during the day.

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Meal prep isn’t just about putting some boxes in a fridge. It’s a whole structured activity designed to save you time and money, so you really don’t want to go shopping without a list and start trying to figure out what cheap meal prepping you could possibly be doing as a student. But I promise if you’re organized and know how and what ingredients to prioritize, you’ll really end up enjoying this.

Homemade Meal Prep For College Students: Season Your Food

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I remember looking for cheap meal prep for students when I moved out and tried to be healthy while carrying on with uni. Boy was that tough. You can prepare the best meal prep lunch box, but if you don’t season your food, you’re just going to be very unhappy come lunch break.

Even if lots of blogs about meal prep for college students talk about boxes and containers and making shopping lists, there’s one thing that lots miss: spices and flavors. Student meal prep shouldn’t be a sad thing. It should be amazing, it should be making you proud because you’re taking care of both your physical and mental health.

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There’s a certain pride that comes when students do some healthy meal prep because you feel achieved in some way. You know that your cooking skills are improving meal prep after meal prep, and you know that you are able to sustain yourself with cheap, easy, and quick meal prep recipes that will last you for so long that you’ll soon forget about those days wanting to bang your head against the wall because you just don’t know what to do.

There are lots of cheap, quick, and healthy recipes for meal prep for college students, and I recommend you get yourself a stunning branded notebook to write down what your favorite and quickest recipes are. That way, you can make them again and again without getting tired of the healthy meal prep in the fridge. By all means, season your food. Invest in some spice blends, get some powdered onion and garlic as well as olive oil, as those three staples never get oil and get some taste kicking instantly.

9 Healthy Tips For Homemade Meal Prep For College Students

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Here you have all the healthy tips for homemade meal prep for college students that will help you out during the year. College years can get really hectic, and while you’re studying, you’re going to meet lots of new people who will want to eat out, and get snacks, and that can take a toll on your budget.

I will write about money management for students as well as time management for college as soon as I can the chance, but for now, I do hope those tips for meal prepping for college students will be of help. Those are tips that I still personally use, especially since I am a freelance writer, a blogger, and also have another part-time job on the side.

It is really important to eat healthily, especially when you work from home as the mere fact of being home all day can hurt your self-esteem and mental health quite a bit. Having the possibility to eat healthy meal preps while you’re on campus will help you build up some confidence as you’re doing something good for your body – and your mind. Plus, it does save a lot of time and money to do some healthy college meal prep, so putting in some time is definitely a great price to pay.

If you’d like to learn about more great places to work around the world and increase your work performance, take a look at the following guides on The Working Line:

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Until next time!

PS. If you’re ever in London, try some of the best cafes to work in Soho – you’ll get inspired for sure!

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