We've all been there - 4 upcoming tests, clinic, and that ongoing research project that actually needs your attention. Classic medical school, the ever present feeling of drowning in all your responsibilities. The last thing on your mind is what you're going to eat & even farther from your mind is whether or not what you are going to eat is remotely healthy. So you go throughout your week, eating lunch at the food truck or having something delivered with the ever so easy Postmates or Uber Eats. But by Wednesday, you've blown through $25 on lunch alone and can't focus through your afternoon classes because you're so tired (that rest & digest system taking over).

Enter in - meal prep

It's so easy that once you start, you literally can't stop. The feeling of having one aspect of your life completely under control is an addicting feeling, especially considering the rest of your life is in shambles (No shame, we've all been there). Meal prepping every Sunday afternoon gives you that sense of accomplishment as well as the knowledge that you are going to be saving money & eating well throughout the week. As well as getting you acclimated to the kitchen over time. Talk about #wifematerial! What better motivation to finish your weekend studying strong! Before we dive into some ideas to get the meal prep ball rolling, I'm going to put address some statements that may have been preventing you from starting your meal prep journey! 

Do you have to be a good cook to meal prep?

Absolutely false, its as easy as clean, chop, and roast for your veggies and even simpler for your proteins. As with anything, the more you practice, the better you get!

It takes all day long to meal prep! 

Not even close to true, at most it takes 2 hours total but half of that time, all your awesome healthy foods are roasting in the oven & require no attention. 

It's expensive to meal prep!

It's actually cheaper per meal to buy groceries to put towards your meals every day. You can get way more bang for your buck by knowing what you want to prep ahead of time & buying those specific groceries. Also, meal prepping is a great way to use those things in your pantry that you aren't sure how to use! 

So, now that we've put some rumors to rest - I am going to give you some of my favorite tips & recipes for meal prepping your entire day! 

Breakfast Smoothie Prep

berry, yogurt, smoothie, blueberry
Jessica Farber

This smoothie is packed with superfoods, tastes awesome and is guilt free! It's super easy to prep the night before. Talk about the ultimate trifecta. My favorite recipe includes - frozen triple berry mix (you can use whatever frozen fruit you like best!), 1/2 frozen/fresh banana, kale, chia seeds, flax seeds, honey, almond milk & greek yogurt. Throw it all in the blender the night before & you've got the perfect start to your day just minutes away in the morning with absolutely no stress. 

Lunch Meal Prep

There is a a ton of room for interpretation here because you can literally take any of your favorite meals and turn them into lunch meal prep in no time. I'm going to share a few of my absolute favorite medical student meal preps that keep me going throughout the day. 

Fajita Chicken Burrito Bowls 

This is one of my favorite preps because of the simplicity as well as the awesome taste! I use some chicken tenderloins tossed in some taco seasoning (not a lot, you want to keep that sodium content down!) and some fresh green, yellow, and red bell peppers. Cook those in a little bit of olive oil and Viola! Fajita chicken is ready! You can add whatever fix-ins you like - I typically add in some black beans, corn, sharp cheddar cheese, avocado, and fresh lime! Within 30 minutes, you've got a healthy lunch ready for the week. 

lettuce, carrot, corn, tomato, salad, onion, vegetable, pepper
Angela Kerndl

Grilled Chicken & Roasted Veggies 

This is the one of the simplest meal preps that you can definitely feel good about eating. I use chicken tenderloins cooked in a tiny bit of olive oil & a sheet pan full of roasted veggies. The best part is, you can literally use whatever you have on hand - whether that's sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, carrots - there is literally not a single vegetable that you can't use in this prep. Rough chop your veggies into bite size pieces, place on a sheet pan, drizzle some olive oil (I usually like to use some paprika, salt and pepper but feel free to use whatever spices make your palate smile) and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. A guilt free, awesome tasting lunch within 40 minutes! 

pepper, carrot, asparagus, vegetable
Mackenzie Barth

Hoisin Shrimp, Jasmine Rice & Green Beans 

This meal prep not only appeases your palate but also stays within your daily calorie restrictions. On top of that, its super easy. Toss raw shrimp with a little bit of hoisin sauce or soy sauce, whichever on you have on hand, garlic & ginger. Cook in super hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side & done! The jasmine rice can be cooked according to directions on the box/bag & the green beans can be tossed in olive oil with some salt & pepper, then sauté for 5 minutes. Distribute evenly into containers for the week & you are all set!

There you have it, just a few ideas to get your mind rolling with the endless possibilities for your next medical student meal prep. Don't be intimidated, as with all great adventures - all it takes is getting started! And if you need more inspiration - check these articles out! Happy prepping!