I remember when I moved to an apartment for the first time with my roommate. After one year of dorm life, the prospect of having a kitchen made my heart swell with happiness. Back at home I loved cooking and my mom and me would spent Sunday afternoons preparing fancy dishes we saw on tv or took from a recipe book. I figured, now that I lived alone and I had an extremely diverse ingredient and spice selections I would fulfill my frustrated dream of becoming a chef. Oh how young and naive was I. In between classes, homework,test, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, gym, it seemed like the time I could dedicate to cooking kept reducing and reducing. Cafeteria food was fine for occasional lunches, but my body and my pocket started to experience the consequences of my terrible food choices. I had to get back to the kitchen.

If you are like me and need to change your “meal plan”, please continue reading to discover 5 fast, healthy and overall easy tips that can make the process of meal prep fit easily into your busy schedule. Meal prep and save some money!

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  1. Keep it simple

The hardest part of meal prepping is actually deciding what your are going to eat. Keep it simple and pick recipes that are easy to make. First try to cook with recipes you already know how to make and work. Pick ingredients that you actually like and are versatile at the time of cooking. This will make the process of meal prepping a lot easier and you can start ditching all those takeouts. Good for the pocket, good for the diet.

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2.Make a shopping list

The first step towards creating your own meal plan is going to the groceries store and buy your own food. Supermarkets here are so vast and plentiful that it is easy to find yourself buying all of the unhealthy options out there. My recommendation is to make a shopping a list beforehand and stick to it. Detail exactly what you are going to need for your next two weeks and buy exactly the items on your list. This will ensure that you will have on your kitchen the exact portions of food you will be eating. Additional tip: this will ensure you don’t overspend!

Also, remember to include some healthy snacks in your list to remain a bit sane with all this studying.

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  1.  Mise en Place

Now that you have all of your ingredients and groceries at home take a moment (or maybe two) to apply the “Mise en Place” principle that chefs use. The Mise en Place is a french term that means having your ingredients prepared, measured and cut before a meal. This will make the process of cooking your meals faster. Prepare your sides (for example: prepare one cup of rice or quinoa to last for the rest of the week) and clean up your proteins. This way you will be able to cut meal time prep significantly. Even the littlest bit of meal prep is going to help you a lot!

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  1. Keep it interesting

Eating the same thing over and over again can make the meal prepping process a bit boring and repetitive. To make sure you don’t lose interest so fast, make a “cheat day”. This day will be designated to eat at a new restaurant or prepare a special recipe.

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  1. Do whatever you can

Finally, the most important thing is not to worry if you can complete the meal prep. Do whatever you can! When time is limited, the most important thing is not to skip meals altogether. Easy meals like a sandwich or a wrap done with the correct ingredients can become life savers.

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