Written by Andrew Limon Photographed by Marta Huo and Kasra Katebi
Most people’s first thought of meal prepping is that its only for those who are extremely into fitness, people who are obsessed with their bodies. If you look through the internet and social media all you see is super fit models both men and women holding food that is prepped to look delicious. This however is not the case. Meal prepping is not only for the super fit, it is for anyone just looking to save food for later and even save money in the long run.
Throughout the past two years I have tried out all different forms of meal prepping, cooking everything the morning of, cooking twice a week and cooking once a week. It all depends on the effort you want to put in to make your meals ahead of time. The biggest question is “What should I cook?” and that is a great question. Throughout my experience, the easiest meal I have tried is a staple in almost any meal preppers diet. Chicken, potatoes and vegetables, you get everything your body needs in one simple meal while spending the least amount of money, an entire meal can end up costing you under $2.50 depending on where you buy your supplies. But, how do you cook it everyone asks, and this is how.
Step 1: Cook the potatoes Cooking potatoes is by far one of the easiest processes to do in the world of cooking. What you want to first do is dice them up, I prefer small baby potatoes as they are a lot easier to dice up. Once you get fairly small pieces, roughly the size of a piece of popcorn you then boil them for about 8 to 10 minutes. The boiling process softens the inside of the potato, allowing for that soft interior but crunchy exterior. After boiling you would then simply fry them on a pan, tossing them every minute so that they do not burn. It is up to you to decide when to pull them off, depending on how cooked you like your potatoes but I recommend at least 8 minutes for a small amount of crunch. Then toss with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and you have delicious potatoes.
Step 2: Cook the chicken breast The chicken breast is by far the toughest piece of the meal to cook to perfection. Seasoning-wise, you can choose your own flavor whether it be a blended seasoning, I prefer to keep it simple and use chili powder, salt, pepper, paprika and a dash of garlic powder. The hardest part is cooking it just right. You don’t want your chicken raw and you also don’t want it overcooked of course. In my experience, I get the best chicken when I preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then cook the chicken on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10 minutes on each side.
Step 3: Cook the vegetables For vegetables, you can choose anything that you love whether it be brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, it doesn’t matter as long as you can fit it in a pan or a wok. I personally prefer a wok as it has more surface area than a pan and it allows you to more easily flip and toss the vegetables. I tend to cook the vegetables after the first flip of the chicken so that they are done just before the chicken is. To cook the vegetables, set the stovetop on a medium heat and pour enough oil about 2 to 3 tbsp, preferably olive oil to just cover the bottom as this will allow the vegetables to cook and get the delicious flavor you are looking for. After roughly 7 to 9 minutes the vegetables should be ready to be distributed into your containers.
Step 4: Combine it into one simple container The easiest part of them all. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you have your containers out and that they are hopefully the ones with three separate compartments. If everything is done at roughly the same time, like it should be if you timed it correctly then this is the easiest step. All you need to do is decide what sections the food should go in and then distribute it evenly into each of your containers.
After showing Kasra how to prepare this meal just once, he appeared confident enough to do it himself. Someone who does not regularly meal prep already felt confident enough to do it themselves.
“If you have a full-time job and are attending school, it can be even harder to make yourself meals all the time. Worse, if you have a special diet or big into fitness, you will need to have a strict diet and eating routine. That is why meal prep can solve the issue for many of these concerns.” -Kasra Katebi
The point of this article was to educate the reader on how to create the simplest meal prep recipe: chicken, potatoes and vegetables which I hope was understandable. From this point on, you can modify the recipe as you please. Maybe you want rice instead of potatoes? This is also able to be meal prepped. After trying this recipe, you will understand how simple it really is to meal prep and yes, it is not only for the athletes and fitness professionals, but it can also be for the average person who wants to save their time cooking.