Student Blog: How Meal Prepping Can Change Your Artistry For The Better

Cooking meals might not seem like something that affects your artistry, but I've found that meal prepping is the key to keeping my body happy during long theatre days.

Student Blog: How Meal Prepping Can Change Your Artistry For The Better
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Student Blog: How Meal Prepping Can Change Your Artistry For The Better
Cooking my favorite meal for dinner
& making extra to save for later! 

As artists, we've all experienced those days when the alarm goes off at 6:30 am, and we are just going, going, going until our heads hit the pillow at midnight or later. The life of an actor is exhausting and often leaves us with no time to eat anything except for a pack of goldfish and an iced oat milk latte. I get it; busy schedules don't typically lend themselves to elaborate gourmet meals. But as I look around at my fellow theatre students, I realize that most of us aren't giving our bodies a fighting chance to survive cold & flu season, long performance days, and intense dance classes because we aren't providing the necessary fuel it needs.

One habit I've picked up during my time as a BFA Musical Theatre student is meal prepping. I know... eye roll. I'm sure to the non-meal-prepper; this whole blog might sound like the nagging mom who cries, "Make sure you eat the carrots and broccoli I packed!" as she drops her son off at elementary school. But as an emerging artist, I've slowly realized how much the theatre industry prioritizes work over the value of a healthy human. Most actors don't eat because they simply aren't given a break during their long rehearsal days or performance schedules. This saddens me, but it fuels me even harder to advocate for my health needs and encourage my peers to do the same.

Most days you can find me, a senior in college, toting a black and white snakeskin lunchbox to and from class. Inside, I keep a glass container with my meal, a few pieces of fresh fruit, and an emergency stash of almonds in case I need a quick snack. Although I get funny looks at times, this lunch tote not only allows me to keep my energy up, but it makes me happy because I know it's making my body happy. And I have no problem asking a director or professor if I can take 10 minutes to eat a full meal before stepping into a rehearsal or class on a long day. Because I know without that necessary fuel, I would not be giving my all.

Contrary to popular belief, meals that you prepare and portion out don't have to include "ultra-healthy" foods that make you wrinkle your nose. The excitement of meal planning is that you can choose things that taste amazing to you! There's something so satisfying about spending a few hours on a Sunday sitting down to write out my meal plans on a whiteboard, cooking my favorite dishes, and then boxing them up to munch on during the week ahead.

Plus, planning ahead saves me so much time in the long run. Instead of walking across campus to the food court, waiting in line, and using my extra spending money on mediocre food with no seasoning, I am able to enjoy a home-cooked meal that is full of my favorite sauces, spices, and sautéed veggies. Not to mention, it also saves me hundreds of dollars a week. Preparing things at home does require a weekly run to the grocery store, but that one-time bill is way cheaper than multiple restaurant charges.

Student Blog: How Meal Prepping Can Change Your Artistry For The Better
Chickpea pasta, ground chicken, 
​brussel sprouts & bacon. Yum!

I'm not saying you have to cut fast food out of your life completely; of course, there's a time and place for a quick meal prepared by your favorite restaurant. But if you're interested in fueling your body with whole foods and saving yourself a bit of cash, it might not hurt to give meal prep a try.

To start, I would suggest thinking of your favorite meal & finding a solid recipe for it. Then instead of making one portion like you normally would, triple it and make three. You can eat one portion for dinner that night, and then box up the other two in Tupperware for a meal later down the road. Once you get the hang of that, you can start making 2-3 meals at a time with 2-4 servings each, and before you know it, you'll be meal-prepping for the whole week!

Meal prepping changed my life for the better, and I know it might benefit other actors too. As I forge my path in this intense industry, I will continue to advocate for self-care in the form of nutritious meals. I will also keep fighting for proper time to eat during rehearsals and encouraging my fellow actors to choose whole, nourishing foods to help get them through the day. Without taking proper care of our bodies, our artistry will suffer, and that's something that no actor wants to experience. Meal prepping might take some getting used to, but it's a step in the right direction to become a healthier, happier version of you!


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