This post includes 30 super delicious & easy college meal prep ideas that’ll get your mouth watering!
Who says that college students have to suffer through bland tasting 99-cent ramen every single night? Through meal prepping and cooking at home, you can save a ton of money but still eat like a king!
In this post, I’ve gathered 30 incredibly delicious and mouth-watering meal prep ideas that I’m sure you’ll love! Most of these meals take less than 60 minutes to make. Meaning that you’ll be able to free up time in your week and focus on your studies, without constantly worrying about what your next meal should be!
Also, if you love these college meal prep ideas, you definitely want to check out the $5 Dollar Meal Plan! For just 5 dollars a month, each week, you’ll receive a pre-made meal plan including ingredients, directions, and a shopping list, which will save you so much time when it comes to meal prepping! Here’s exactly how it works. And you can sign up for a free 14-day trial here.
30 Yummy College Meal Prep Ideas
1. Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowl
This Chipotle chicken fajita bowl is not only delicious, but also Paleo and low carb. The prep time is around 10 minutes, and the cook time is only 20 minutes. So instead of spending $10 dollars at Chipotle, you can make an even tastier alternative that’ll last you longer and save you money.
You can find this meal prep recipe here at: Beauty And The Bench Press
2. Korean Beef Bowl Meal Prep
Yum, Korean beef bowls are honestly sooo bomb! Even as a person that doesn’t really eat meat, I still get tempted it!
This recipe should be able to serve 4 people, meaning that it should last you 4-5 days, depending on how big your appetite is.
Check out the full recipe here at: Damn Delicious
3. Spicy Chicken Ranch Quesadilla
In college, quesadillas were ALWAYS my go-to meal. At one point during a super busy finals season, quesadillas literally became my only source of calories (I know that’s kind of bad lol)
For just 10 minutes of cook + prep time, this spicy chicken quesadilla can last you up to three days! So worth it.
For the recipe on this college meal prep idea, check out: Kitchen @ Hoskins
4. Red Pepper Fettuccine with Shrimp
California Pizza Kitchen who? We can make our own luxury pasta dinner for half the price! We’re bougie, but we also like to save our coins.
For the recipe on this meal prep idea, check out: Pinch Of Yum
5. Chicken Burrito Bowl Meal Prep
This Mexican chicken rice bowl is perfect for busy college students. It’s convenient, tasty, and includes a healthy balance of nutrients that’s needed to fuel brain power.
To get the full recipe on this chicken burrito bowl, visit: Damn Delicious!
6. Glazed Chicken Meal Prep
String beans, potatoes, and chicken breast? Your mom’s going to be super proud of you!
You can try this amazing recipe from Budget Bytes
7. Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa
This recipe is super interesting! Grilled Salmon with an exotic Thai flavor on the side. It’s a simple dish, but will make you feel like a gourmet chef.
Check out this meal prep idea here at: Cooking Classy
8. Sweet & Sour Chicken
Ok, if you’re lazy like me and just don’t feel like making the breaded chicken breast yourself. You can just grab a bag of Tempura Sweet and Sour Chicken from Trader Joe’s. Trust me, it’s much easier!
For more info on this Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe, check out: Tip Buzz
9. Hawaiian Bbq Pulled Pork Sliders
Just looking at this picture is making my stomach growl like crazy! Definitely check out Mandi’s Instagram page if you’re also a fellow food porn addict like moi. She also includes all the recipe details in her captions so that you can make your own version of these meals
Check out the full recipe here at: Dash of Mandi
10. Breakfast Yogurt College Meal Prep
This meal prep idea is great for all college students that unfortunately have to attend dreadful 8 am classes, yet can barely make it to class in time every morning.
11. Chai Latte Overnight Oats
Hmm… a warm cup of Chai Latte Oats in a cold Autumn morning. What could possibly be better than that?
Find out how to make this grab-and-go breakfast here at Wholefully
12. Chocolate Chia Chip Yam Smoothie Bowl
Acai bowls are a great healthy alternative to oatmeal if you prefer something more cold and refreshing in the morning. If you’re in a rush, you can buy pre-made Acai packs from Trader Joe’s instead of blending them yourself.
Make your own Chocolate Chia Acai Bowl from Flora and Vino
13. Lo Mein Meal Prep
Lo Mein is an incredibly simple and cheap meal to make. All you need is wheat Spaghettis, sesame oil, soy sauce, and some other miscellaneous ingredients lol. Trust me, I used to make this all the time in college, and even though I wasn’t meal prepping at the time, this meal would still only take me around 20 minutes to make. It’s super convenient and delicious!
Check out the full recipe for this Lo Mein meal prep at Damn Delicious
14. Sausage & Veggies with Rice
If you hate washing a bunch of dishes after cooking, this meal prep idea is for you! All you need to do is place the ingredients in one big pan and place it in the oven for around 30 minutes. And there you go, your meal is done, and the only thing that needs to be cleaned is the dish. Easy!
Check out the full recipe and directions for this meal prep idea at Isabel Eats
15. Healthy Orange Chicken
Why pay $10 dollars for a two-entre plate at Panda Express when you can make your own healthier version at home?
And once you master this dish, you can invite your friends over to show off your mad cooking skills. Not a lot of people can say that they know how to make Orange Chicken, am I right?
Learn how to make Orange Chicken at Fit Foodie Finds
16. Parmesan Spinach Mushroom Pasta
Pasta was another one of my go-to meals in college. First of all, for just $10 dollars, you can get several packs of pasta that will last you months. Besides, there are so many variations of pasta that you can choose to make. Red sauce, white sauce, cheese, spicy, you name it.
Last but not least, it’s impossible to mess up. Unless you somehow burn the entire pot of noodles.
Check out the full recipe for this dish at: Eat Well 101
17. Garlic Butter Chicken Meatballs
At first glance, I thought this dish was going to be super high-calorie and greasy. But little did I know, it’s actually Paleo, Keto-friendly, Gluten-free, and low carb! What? Also, if you don’t have a rice cooker at your dorm, you can easily substitute it for some Spaghettis. I bet it’ll taste just as good.
Learn how to make this meal by following the recipe here at Eat Well 101
18. No-cook Taco Salad Bento Box
This taco salad bento box is a great afternoon snack that you can bring with you to the library. It’s probably one of the easiest and cheapest meal prep ideas on this list. The total prep time is probably less than two minutes. And the cooking time? ZERO!
19. Sriracha Ramen
Who says that ramen has to be plain and boring? With a little bit of creativity, you can end up with a bowl of ramen that looks like it came out of the kitchen at a gourmet 5 star Michelin restaurant. Ok, I’m exaggerating just a tiny bit lol. But you know what I mean. By adding some extra ingredients in there, you can make the not so healthy ramen noodles much more nutritious and enticing!
Check out how to upgrade your ramen noodles here at Yummly
20. Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
Again, Mandi has done it again! Lemon basil pasta salad!
The ingredients are super simple: Pasta, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, dijon, red wine vinaigrette, salt and pepper. And there you have it! Another delicious meal prep idea that can last you an entire week.
Check out how to make this yummy pasta salad at Dash of Mani
21. Overnight Oats Meal Prep
If you’ve never heard of overnight oats, it’s basically a no-cook method of making oatmeal. All you do is soak the oats with milk, and leaving it in the fridge overnight so that it can completely absorb the liquid and soften up. This method is perfect for students that might not have access to a stovetop or microwaves in their dorms.
For more details on how to make these overnight oats, check out: Everyday Meal Prep
22. Crispy Sesame Tofu With Zucchini Noodles
This meal prep recipe is for all my vegetarian college students out there. Tofu is honestly such a multifunctional ingredient lol, you can deep fry it, stir-fry it, bake it, boil it, and it’ll still taste super delicious. Plus, it’s full of protein, which is great for vegetarians who can’t access nutritious poteins from meat.
By the way, if you’ve never tried peanut butter sesame sauce before, you NEED to taste it! So delicious!
Check out the full recipe for this meal prep idea at My Food Story
23. Creamy Black Bean Taquitos
Taquitos are one of my favorite Mexican dishes. It’s basically a taco rolled up, so definitely much less messy and easy to eat on-the-go. On Budget Bytes, Beth shows you how to make these taquitos yourself, and they only cost 30 cents each! Crazy right? So much cheaper than the ones sold at Trader Joe’s.
Learn more about how to make this meal here at Budget Bytes
24. Simple Tuna Salad
Tuna salads literally only take a few minutes to whip up. All you’ll need is a few cans of tuna, celery, red onions, mayo, dijon mustard, olive oil, and some sea salt crackers on the side. And if you’re feeling extra healthy, you can even add some cucumbers and mini carrots in there too.
Check out the recipe for this Tuna salad at Chelsea’s Messy Apron
25. Harissa Chicken Salad
If there’s a Trader Joe’s right next to your campus, you might want to take out a pencil and jot down the recipe for this delicious chicken salad! Because everything that you’ll need in order to create this masterpiece can be found at your local TJ’s.
Check out how to make your own Harissa chicken salad at Dash of Mandi
26. Citrus Shrimp Salad With Avocado
Hmm, this dish reminds me so much of Ceviche! Perfect for a hot summer day when you don’t have the appetite to eat a heavy big meal. It’s incredibly easy to make. You’ll just need these few main ingredients: Shrimp, avocado, greens, and some citrus juice. Of course, you can get super creative with it and add some other tasty ingredients as well!
If you’d like to know how to make this dish, check out the recipe on Foodie Crush
27. Protein-Rich Mac & Cheese Meal
If you don’t like mac & cheese, then we might have a problem….
Ok just kidding, I’m too lazy to have beef with anyone. This protein-packed mac and cheese is a perfect meal prep idea, especially for my fellow readers who don’t like veggies that much. You see, the more cheese and butter you add, the less spinach and broccoli you’ll taste. Smart, right? But hey, don’t go too crazy with the cheese now!
For more details on how to make this dish, check out Eating Bird Food
28. English Muffin Pizza Luchbox Idea
Technically, you could put slices of Pizza Hut’s cheesy pizza into separate plastic containers and call it a day. But, that’s not the meal-prepping spirit we would like to see! Let’s be creative with it.
I love this meal prep idea because it’s relatively healthy, easy to make, and super cute! And instead of using a pizza crust, we’re using tiny English muffins. (Kind of reminds me of Lunchables’ pizza, haha)
Check out the full recipe for this college meal prep idea at Family Fresh Meals
29. Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
If you always go for the Teriyaki chicken bowl at Japanese restaurants, I’m sure you’ll love this meal prep idea! With a total prep time of around 15 minutes, and a cooking time of 20 minutes, you can create 4 days worth of Teriyaki chicken bowls for less than half of what you’ll pay eating out.
If you’d like to try out this meal prep idea, check out Healthy Fitness Meals
30. DIY Starbucks P&J Bistro Box
Why stand in line at Starbucks and waste your precious time when you can make your own PB&J Bistro Box right inside your dorm? This is a great meal prep idea for students who don’t have stovetops readily available, but still would like to save money and eat healthy by bringing their own food to school.
Get Started With Meal Prepping
I personally only use glass containers when meal-prepping, since I’m paranoid about the chemicals leaking from plastic containers when I microwave them at school. Of course, if you’re just meal prepping cold food like acai or yogurt, then go ahead and use whichever container you like!
How do college students meal prep for a week?
Meal prepping for college students can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re trying to do it for an entire week. But once you get the hang of it, it’s actually not difficult at all!
The best way to go about it is to have a meal plan so you know exactly what you need to cook. Then on Sundays, take some time to cook all your meals for the week and store them in separate containers.
This way, you’ll always have something healthy and delicious to eat during the week, and you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every day
What should I budget for college food?
According to Mint Intuit, the average monthly budget for food should be around $150 to $300 (assuming that you don’t eat out all the time)
Of course, this budget can also vary depending on your dietary needs and how much you typically eat, lol. For example, I eat like a freaking horse sometimes, so my food budget could be higher than yours.
If you’re not sure how much you should be spending, use this Grocery Budget Calculator to help you come up with a reasonable college food budget.
Related post: 8 Insanely Useful Self Care Tips For College Students
How can college students eat healthy and budget?
Eating healthy is expensive, right? Wrong! With a little planning and some savvy grocery shopping, it’s easy to eat healthy even on a tight budget. Here are some tips:
- Shop the sales: Watch for sales on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Stock up when prices are low.
- Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk can save you money on staples like rice, beans, and oats.
- Cook at home: Restaurant meals and fast foods can be expensive and unhealthy. Instead, cook at home using simple, healthy recipes.
- Pack your own snacks: Choose nutritious snacks like nuts, fruit, or yogurt to keep your energy levels up between meals. This way, you won’t be tempted to eat out as often.
Related post: 10 Best Dorm Size Refrigerator That You’ll Need In College
Enjoy These Easy College Meal Prep Recipes
I hope you’ve enjoyed these 30 easy college meal prep recipes. If this will be your freshman year in college, and you’ve never cooked a day in your life, don’t worry! You will figure it out, trust me.
There are tons of cooking tutorials on YouTube that you can follow along. And if those videos still don’t make sense to you. Then just go with the classic mac & cheese with broccoli (make sure to eat your veggies!!) It’s quick and easy to make, all you need to know is how to boil water…literally! HAHA!
I’ve never cooked a day in my life before college, and look at me now. I’m alive and thriving. So believe me, you got this!