Balancing work, school and a social life can be quite challenging, especially as a commuter student. Since I do not have a meal plan at school, figuring out when and what to eat can be infuriating at times, especially since I'm always on the go. Here's five tips on meal prepping as a commuter that have worked for me!

(Full disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a personal trainer. This is just what has worked for me and I hope my experience can help others too! Additionally, I think of meal prepping as cooking in batches maybe once or twice a week when one just doesn't have the time to cook daily but still wants the reward of a delicious and nutritious home cooked meal

1. Variety

My biggest issue with meal prepping has always been that I get sick of whatever it is I've made after the first two days. Then, the rest of the week consists of me forcing down that same meal, or just skipping meals to avoid eating that same thing over and over again.

A typical meal prep go-to for me is grilled chicken with veggies and either rice or potatoes of some sort. What I recommend is not using the same veggies or sauces/spices for each meal, but creating a bigger variety of ingredients so it's not the same exact thing every day! I love to use red pepper flakes to spice up my veggies and help keep things interesting!

vegetable, pepper, zucchini, meat
Christin Urso

2. Creativity

The above being said, it can be hard to keep coming up with new recipes. It's all too easy to just boil a pot of pasta for the umpteenth time. 

I like looking through the cookbooks in my house, health accounts on Instagram, and especially Pinterest. With so many resources at my fingertips, it's super easy to find new ideas! Here's a link to my all time fave guac recipe on Pinterest

avocado, vegetable, salad, guacamole
Lexi Bralver

3. Snacks!

I don't know about you but I absolutely love snacks. What's important though, is to make sure those snacks are good for you.

Snacks are way less intimidating to prepare than a full meal, so it really can be fun! I like making cute fruit plates (with cheese and crackers of course) or switching it up with some veggies with new dips. I like snacking on fruit dipped in peanut butter or Nutella! Not as healthy, but certainly delicious. 

apple slice, apple, peanut butter, PB, snack, healthy snack, Fruit, nut butter nation
Jocelyn Hsu

4. Containers

When I'm running all over the place, it gets annoying when I have to carry around empty Tupperware the rest of the day. 

A solution I've found to be way less bulky is reusable baggies. (I get mine from Amazon). This way I can bring all the food I need to make it through my day without lugging around so much extra weight. The reusable bags take up such limited space and come in so much cute designs too!

5. Be Realistic

Know what you will eat and what you will not eat. I've found that when meal prepping, less is more. 

My biggest issue with meal prepping, and just cooking in general, is I make WAY too much food and it either goes to waste or I have to shovel it down miserably. When meal prepping, it is SO important to pay  attention to what works for you, which can mean switching a recipe around a little bit, and that's totally fine! Meal prepping should be a unique and individual process, it doesn't have to be perfect!

This is just what has worked for me and I hope that by sharing it I can help some fellow commuters make it through their long days without spending a fortune on take- out or starving!