Being a student athlete for four years has taught me a lot on and off the field about myself. It has taught me how to be tough mentally, balance school and social life, and also how to take care of my body. As a younger college student I would go to the dining hall, or the restaurants on the schools campus, because I , lived on campus, had a meal plan and did not have a means of transportation. My body responded to the things I was eating and I was not in as good shape as I was in High School and ate better foods.
As I matriculated and moved off campus, I found myself eating out more than ever, at small mom and pop shops, corner stores, or chain restaurants whatever it was I rarely ever cooked. I made sure that I are more healthy, and made better choices which was good for my body, however I was spending too much money on food, and as a full time student-athlete money is hard to come by. Eventually I grew up and decided that it would be best for myself monetary wise and health wise, to cook my meals.
QUE MEAL PREPPING!!
Meal Prepping has been around for many years, but more recently has been taking off. After my Junior year I caught onto the trend and began to prepare my meals for the week ahead of time. There is not right or wrong way to do this, but I am going to tell you how I do mine.
Step 1. Go to your local supermarket with a shopping list of foods for the week.
I usually try and get uncooked chicken breast, a cooked hot rotisserie chicken, frozen vegetables, beef, salad ingredients, smoothie ingridience, rice, sandwich necessities and some kind of fruit juice. Depending on the store, I rarely spend more than $120 and the food lasts me about two weeks.
Step 2. Bring the groceries home and get ready to prep!!
Step 3. Cook!
I usually like to make chicken salad out of the rotisserie chicken, so that I can use it on sandwiches for lunch during the week, as well as a late night snack.
I cook the rice, chicken/beef and vegetables, then plate and pack them into individual ziplock containers. This makes it easy to measure out how much you are intaking, and also makes it easy to eat lunch or dinner on the go, which we always are as SA’s. There are many different recipes for meat and rice/pasta dishes out there and many different combinations you can make so get creative.
In the morning I was usually rushing to a lift or class and cooking breakfast would take too long. I found that making a smoothie in a ninja blender is one the quickest, healthiest starts to my day that I could get. So buying a large bag of frozen fruit, yogurt, protein powder and juice is a quick and easy way to get something good in your body in the morning.
Sometimes I can get home for lunch, so I will make myself a deli sandwich and a side salad.
For the most part, Meal Prepping is a very economical and easy way to eat while still in school. It does not take a lot of time to prepare the food, about 2 hours for the week. The only downside to this is that it gets repetitive if you use the same ingredients every week, which is a good reminder to explore different foods and try to cook things you have not before. Meal prepping is a triple threat, good for your body, wallet, and cooking experience.