Between studying and working, cooking is usually the last thing on our minds. I’m pretty sure we would all love to indulge in a hearty, home-cooked meal every night, but somehow some of us always end up having instant noodles for dinner—I can certainly relate. Nonetheless, I’ve found that meal prep is a game changer!
Meal prepping is basically cooking all or most of your meals for the week at once. It is often done on a Sunday, just before the start of each week. You can look at it as a little self-care activity. Similarly, meal prepping enables you to literally just grab your meal from the fridge, pop it into the microwave, and enjoy it without worrying about cooking.
Benefits of meal prepping
It saves money
Meal prep requires you to plan beforehand and only buy what you’ll need to cook each week. Therefore, this means fewer trips to grocery shops as well as less money spent on impulse.
Increases free time
Preparing your meals in advance saves time spent cooking and deciding which meals to eat. Ultimately, this gives you free time to study or take a relaxing bath without stressing about the little details that go into cooking.
Creates an eating routine
Meal preps allow you to take advantage of creating a routine for your eating habits. This will thus provide you with a steady source of energy throughout the day, which enables you to effectively carry out your daily activities.
Likewise, let’s take a look at five quick and easy meal prep ideas for a hearty dinner.
1. Spaghetti and mince with mixed veggies
This classical, simple dish will take just over 30–35 minutes to cook. You will need spaghetti, mince, and mixed vegetables; however, fresh tomatoes, onions, and green peppers will do just fine. The dish is high in protein and dietary fibre and will leave you mouthwatering with rich seasonings of your choice.
2. Rice, beef stew and salad
With a cooking time of approximately 50 minutes, this meal is the definition of nourishment and satisfaction. You will need white rice, beef, and any vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, for the stew. Adding a salad is optional, but it gives your dish a nutritious edge. Furthermore, coleslaw and potato salad are great and require affordable ingredients to prepare.
3. Pap with beef stew
There is no meal that screams homey like this one does. This is a simple yet incredibly flavorful traditional dish. It requires topscore flour or traditional flour, as well as beef. The key with meal preps is that they should save you money. Therefore, repeating your meat or some other ingredients, in this case the beef stew, will become the norm.
4. Sausage stew with pasta
The key to this dish is to ensure the stew is aromatic and flavorful by adding garlic, onions, paprika, and other seasonings of your choice. Nevertheless, sausage stew is a cosy, quick dish that tastes even better the next day once the flavours have had a chance to meld and become richer.
5. Chicken, rice and veggies
a hearty, nutritious dish that takes no longer than 45–50 minutes to cook. In addition to being a lean protein, chicken provides the body with vital vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Often times, chicken is more affordable than beef, so you can substitute beef stews with chicken stews instead. Rice and any vegetables available in your fridge will complement the chicken, adding both flavour and nutrition to the dish.
Once you have cooked your meals in bulk, you will need lunchboxes or containers where you’ll store your prepped meals in the fridge. These can be found at affordable prices at PEP homes as well as checkers. Additionally, it is crucial to note that meal prepping means you generally eat the same thing for a few days in a row. However, you can spice it up by using different spices and vegetables in order to increase the variety. I would personally choose a homey, meal-prepped meal over instant noodles for dinner any day!