A Meal Prep Guide for Busy Students

Caroline BellThe veggie wrap recipe recommends seven ingredients but can be altered for each cook's palate.

The beginning of a new semester presents many challenges: adjusting to a new class schedule, taking on a different workload and finding ways to fit in meals between it all. The beauty of preparing meals ahead of time is that whenever there’s a break between classes, food is ready and waiting.

These recipes can be made on a Sunday night and conveniently stored in the fridge throughout the week. Just grab a Mason jar or Tupperware container, snag some fresh fruits and vegetables from your local grocery store and head to the kitchen.

Salad in a Jar

Video by Caroline Bell

Although it’s considered a basic meal, salad is one of the most customizable and straightforward meals to make. Simply layer the vegetables and lettuce in a Mason jar and store it in the fridge. Once ready to eat, add the preferred salad dressing and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.

Graphic by Leslie Owen

The ingredients listed combine to make a garden salad. However, any number of salads can be made depending on available ingredients. The possibilities are endless: add chicken and corn instead of cucumbers and carrots for a southwestern salad, or swap out the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes for cabbage and cashews and add a peanut dressing for Thai salad. Any type of salad is sure to be a hit and may turn out too pretty to eat when assembled.

Veggie Wrap

Caroline Bell This wrap can serve as lunch, dinner, a midnight snack or a creative breakfast dish.
Graphic by Leslie Owen

This is truly one of the quickest and easiest meals to assemble and makes for a delicious lunch, dinner or study break snack. Simply spread any kind of hummus on a tortilla shell and layer on any preferred vegetables. This particular recipe calls for cucumbers, red onion, red peppers and shredded carrot, which are a mouthwatering combination of sweet and tangy. The spinach adds a lightness to the wrap but can also be swapped out for lettuce. Be sure to allocate two for each meal because this wrap will leave you wanting more!

Yogurt Parfait

Caroline Bell To prepare some yogurt parfait, grab some yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and granola, and then construct layers.
Graphic by Leslie Owen

Yogurt parfaits make exceptional breakfasts and late-night snacks. Although this recipe calls for Greek yogurt, any yogurt — whether flavored or unflavored — can be used. Layer seasonally available fruits between the yogurt and add as much granola as the heart desires. Raisins, chopped nuts and honey are wonderful add-ins. The more that’s added, the more flavorful the parfait becomes.

For anyone who has an oven and is especially hands-on, here’s a recipe for homemade granola.

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Video by Caroline Bell
Graphic by Leslie Owen

This recipe requires precise measurements but still can be changed to fit different tastes. A handful of nuts or chocolate chips, as well as sliced fruit, can be added to the ingredients above to add a bit more flavor. For anyone who isn’t a fan of peanut butter, a different nut butter or yogurt can be a substitute.

This recipe makes about two servings and can be easily doubled to provide a week’s worth of breakfasts (although, it may be tempting to eat it all at once).

Pasta Salad

Caroline Bell The pasta salad recipe can be shared with friends or saved for easy-to-heat-up leftovers.

Pasta salad is a standard meal prep dish for a reason: it can be made in large batches and is delicious. Similar to the salad in a jar, it’s easily customizable. Bow-tie pasta is a mass favorite, but more readily available types of pasta can also be used, such as penne or rotini. Chicken, bacon or tofu can also be added for extra protein.

A quick note for anyone in need of a pre-planned meal that will last: a full box of pasta, when cooked, should produce enough pasta salad to last about a week, but it’s sure to go fast if shared with roommates or friends!

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