6 Simple Placement Meal Prep Tips

Tweet us with your top meal prep tips using the hashtag #UWEFeelGood and you could win a £30 HelloFresh gift card!

 

We’re here to help take the stress out of meal prep, leaving you to focus on getting the most out of your placement. Whether you’re already out on placement or you’re getting ready to start your first one, our top tips are designed to save you time and money and give you the energy to tackle whatever your shift throws at you! 

Clinical placements can be tough and when you’re rushed off your feet, eating well is often the last thing on your mind. That’s not to say that your favourite treats are off the menu though! Eating well doesn’t necessarily mean salads every day of the week but just being mindful of what you’re eating and getting into the habit of planning your meals in advance will make you less likely to reach for a quick sugar fix from the staff room and help you to power through those busy shifts.  

 

Keep it contained

It might sound obvious but having the right food storage containers can be a real game changer when it comes to meal prep. If you’re currently working with a couple of old takeaway tubs then now is the time to upgrade! Before you stock up on new containers, take a moment to figure out how many you can fit in your freezer and be sure to choose ones that are quick and easy to clean. 

Don’t forget to keep your ingredients fresh too! Not only are reusable food wraps and freezer bags better for the environment, but they’ll also save you time and money in the long run - if you can afford to invest in a few before starting placement then there’s no danger of needing a last minute dash to the shops for tin foil!

If you’re not sure where to start then we’d recommend a handful of freezer friendly containers, a couple of reusable sandwich bags, a good quality lunch box and an insulated lunch bag, just in case there’s no fridge in your staff room. 

 

Buy in bulk

Before each placement starts, head to the supermarket armed with a list and stock up on basic ingredients in bulk. It’s one of the easiest ways to save yourself time before life gets busy and, since most supermarkets have multibuy discounts, you’re guaranteed to save some money too - win win! 

What you buy will obviously depend on your preferences and dietary requirements, but pretty much anything goes as long as it can easily be turned into a quick, tasty meal. Things like rice, pasta, cereal, tinned tomatoes, cans of tuna, frozen vegetables, potatoes, oil, herbs and spices are a great place to start. For more inspiration, why not check out Save The Student’s 28 cheap and healthy meal ideas?

 

Cut corners where you can

There’s no point in giving yourself extra things to stress about when you’re already busy and burnt out. It’s totally fine if you don’t have the time to pre-portion your meals or you just hate cutting veg! If your budget allows for it then opt for pre-cut fruit and vegetables - they can be slightly more expensive but well worth the extra cost if they help to make your meals healthier. It’s also worth stocking up on a few ready meals as treats so that you’re not tempted to order a takeaway or skip dinner on the nights when you get home late and don’t feel up to cooking.

 

Learn to love batch cooking

Finding the time and energy to cook up large quantities of your favourite meal can be a real challenge but we can guarantee you’ll thank yourself for it later! If the idea of cooking a week’s worth of food is a bit overwhelming then you don’t have to do it all in one go. Just prepare the basic elements of your meal, pop them in the freezer and add any extras as you serve them up. The trick is to find a routine that works for you - why not spend an hour in the kitchen on your day off, turn your favourite playlist up loud and dance your way through the cooking?! 

 

Meal prep doesn’t have to mean cooking

If chilled food is more your thing then meal prepping just got a whole lot easier! It’s also worth remembering that facilities can vary from one hospital to another so there’s no guarantee that you’ll have access to a microwave or fridge. Plan ahead and factor in a few lunchbox-friendly meals such as wraps, sandwiches and pasta salads and you could have all your food for the week sorted within a matter of minutes! 

Snacks are just as important to keep you going through your shift so keep a few handy if you’re worried that a cold meal won’t be filling enough for you. Fuss-free options like fresh fruit, porridge pots, overnight oats, dried fruit and nuts or flapjacks will save even more time in the kitchen and give you a great energy boost. 

 

Tune in to what your body needs

The constant changes in routine between night shifts and days off can take a while to adjust to so be kind to yourself and only eat what you can manage. Some people prefer to eat smaller meals and just graze through the night while others find that eating a proper meal helps to feel like they’re in a more normal routine. We’d recommend taking a couple of different options with you for your first few shifts until you’ve figured out what works best for you and your body.  

 

Competition

Now it’s over to you! Have you developed any time-saving tricks on placement? Got a great recipe to share? Want to show off your collection of colourful containers? 

Tweet us with your top meal prep tips using the hashtag #UWEFeelGood and you could win a £30 HelloFresh gift card! 

Competition closes at 17:00 on Friday 19 March. One winner will be chosen and announced on Monday 22 March.