Junior finds meal prepping convenient, but troublesome

April 30, 2019 — by Anna Novoselov

Tupperware containers stacked upon each other scattered the fridge, holding salads, fruit and even a homemade salad dressing. A bowl containing a yogurt berry smoothie with chia seeds stood next to a giant steel water bottle filled with a green smoothie.

On a recent Tuesday night, I spent about one hour meal prepping: blending, chopping and packing food for the next two days.

Due to extracurriculars and school, I often grab and inhale   food instead of sitting down to eat a proper meal, so when I heard the proposal to try meal prepping for a newspaper story, I decided to take on the challenge.

At first, I had the intention of packing food for four days; however, I soon realized that there weren’t as many tupperware containers in my house as I had originally thought. Additionally, we had returned from a family trip Sunday night so the fridge did not have much food.

I decided to be ambitious and make salads with homemade avocado dressing. Feeling confident, I tossed avocado, parsley, olive oil, water, a significant amount of salt and random spices into a blender and prayed that my concoction would be edible. After a few minutes, I had a green, pesto-like viscous mush that tasted somewhat tasty but did not have much flavor.

Deciding to continue the extremely healthy direction of my meals, I made two salads, a green smoothie and a yogurt berry smoothie.

I got a little annoyed from having to wash the blender three times in a span of 30 minutes. Furthermore, my family probably became annoyed from listening to its seemingly endless whirring.

Looking up at the clock, I realized that it was almost midnight, and I had only prepared food for the first half of the next two days. Also, all of the food I had made would probably leave me hungry. I gave up and went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:30 as usual and ate half of the yogurt smoothie, which tasted delicious. Having my breakfast already prepared made my morning more relaxed as I found myself with a significant amount of time to spare before I had to leave for school.

I had the remaining Day 1 food along with extra unplanned snacks throughout the rest of the evening.

The next day, my salad sat bleakly in front of me as I looked at the unappetizing cold egg. Eventually, I gave the egg to my dog and instead made myself scrambled eggs with tomato sauce and some of the spinach from my salad, ignoring the fact that I was supposed to be eating meals prepared in advance.

In the evening, I had dinner with at a friend’s house, and I wasn’t about to pass up delicious food like a slice of homemade apple tart. So I decided to ignore my meal prep challenge. I had already failed anyway.

Overall, while meal prepping did help me save time, I disliked the tedious task of preparing all the food and not having a choice of eating based on my cravings and mood on a particular day. Furthermore, I did not leave myself enough time to cook or ensure that I had all the necessary ingredients.

Meal prepping can be an effective way to eat healthier and; however, I would recommend meal prepping for specific meals, rather than for a few days at a time. Furthermore, food prepared right before eating tastes fresher, even though cooking may not always be convenient.

Perhaps I would have a different outlook if I had fully committed to meal prepping for a few days and strictly stuck to the predetermined food intake. But it was worth sacrificing my healthy meals and meal prep challenge for some of that apple tart!  

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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