Food & Bev (F&B)
Asked on 15 Mar 2020
What are some good meal plans that I can follow?
I bring my own lunch almost every single day since I started working. I wanted to save money and also eat healthier (I know if I buy lunch everyday I would be more prone to buying something fried or unhealthy welp) My office pantry (unfortunately) does not have a microwave so my recommendations are mostly food that I don’t mind eating cold/room temperature.
Some things I’ve meal prepped:
-cauliflower “fried rice”
-yesterday night’s leftovers (ahahaha)
On top of this I usually bring a fruit like an apple or a bunch of grapes for my snack. I save about $150 every month compared to when I went out to buy lunch everyday. The time I spend cooking is about ~20mins so I just get up earlier in the morning to prepare food. I know there was one week when I purposely cooked more for dinner everyday so I could use the leftovers and I didn’t need to wake up early to prepare lunch ahahahaha. Just look online for recipes and go with what works best for you.
Here is a list of basic ingredients for cooking that you may consider:
Oils & Vinegars
Olive Oil - There are different types of Olive Oil. It would be handy to have the type for cooking and another for salad dressings.
Vegetable Oil - Canola oil or Sunflower oil are fairly good options.
Sesame Oil - For Asian recipes, this oil is versatile and adds an additional layer of flavours to your food. You may use it as part of a marinade for your meat or simply drizzle some Sesame oil over cooked porridge/congee for a nice aroma.
Balsamic Vinegar - Tastes sour and tangy, great for Western recipes especially for salad dressings (Tip: Pair Balsamic vinegar with Rocket (also known as Arugula), its tasty!)
Spices & Seasonings
Pepper (Black Pepper & White Pepper)
Red Chili Flakes
Light Soy sauce
Dark Soy sauce
Chili - Belachan, Sriracha, Tabasco, etc.
Garlic, ginger, onion, rice, pasta, etc.
I've prepared for meals to bring to work in the past and having the right ingredients is really the key for these meals to last through the week! In fact just last week, one of my colleagues meal-prepped his lunch to bring to work for the week. But on Friday, his sweet potato turn slightly greenish and weird tasting! So we definitely want to avoid that!
Ingredients that have low-water content are usually the best for meal prepping. These include ingredients such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, carrots, corn. You want to avoid ingredients with high-water content as they may cause your food to turn wet or moist, which is not good.
As for the staples, rice or pasta are usually my favourite go-tos. If you are having salads, you can consider adding dried foods and fruits such as raisins, cranberries, nuts. Also refrain from adding your salad dressing when packing as your veggies might get soggy by the end of the week. You should pour the dressing when it's time for you to eat it.
Hope this helps!
Being a broke student abroad once, I can definitely relate!
Here's what kept me afloat on a super low budget in an expensive city (aka Singapore):
I. Highly durable ingredients
Root vegetables (Carrots, Corn, Potatoes)
Hardy fruits like Apples, Pears & Oranges
Onions & Garlic
Olive Oil (I highly rec you invest in a good one :") it's worth it)
II. Necessary Nutrients
Meat - Chicken / Pork / Beef etc (Can be frozen to last longer)
Fish (Can be frozen to last longer)
Veggies - Broccoli (most hardy), Tomatoes, Capsicum (for that burst of color) & other greens
III. Healthy Indulgences
Yoghurt (Tims' Dairy is amazing)
Dried Cranberries / Fruits & Nut mix
These are just things off the top of my head. With these ingredients, you can already make some super amazing stuff:
Fresh fruit yoghurt!
Apple slices with peanut butter!
Full dinner meals - complete with egg, veg, meat!
PS: What I love about this grocery list's ingredients is that they're really flexible: I can steam, stew, stir-fry, even throw 'em into soups and 1000 different flavors emerge -- frying 'em onions & garlic in fragrant olive oil is the secret key.
Anyway, that's how I survived my eat-at-home days :") it doesn't have to be a constraint, but an experiment! Hope that helps.
I prefer simple and easy to clean up methods.
For my case, I do steaming and veggies.
And without the usual salad dressings or sauces.
Olive oil and vinegar mainly.
Less of a mess to clean up which makes it easier to stick to the plan. Path of least resistance!
All depends on you. The thing about meal planning is it allows for flexibility. You can check out the various videos on Youtube for some examples.