As a vegan who enjoys variety and good food, I found eating on campus a hassle; buying food on campus created a bigger hole in my wallet than I wanted. So, I tried meal planning and it has been working pretty well. Granted, I am organized, responsible, and I like to have a schedule. I schedule in time for meal planning, like studying, or work, so that I can’t say I don’t have the time.
My meal planning includes buying food for eight days, and making meals every four days. That means that I have the same meals for eight days and then change it up. I cook that meal twice to maintain as much freshness as I can. Eating something that has been in my fridge for a week does not sound enticing.
Committing to meal planning doesn’t mean you can’t eat out or eat on campus. I always make sure I have a go-to meal (like oatmeal, bread and peanut butter, popcorn, etc…) in my kitchen for those days I might have extra leftovers, say, for lunch and dinner, and not enough for breakfast.
After those eight days, it’s back to buying groceries and making food for the next four days. I make sure to switch up my recipes and include as much of a variety of fruits and vegetables as possible to get all the nutrients.
Meal planning will look different for everyone. There are many ways people can meal plan. You can choose how often you want to cook, and how many servings you want. You can choose when to change up the meals and you can even mix meal planning with going out or even buying some food on campus (because there are some good options, right?)
You will need to find what works best for you depending on your schedule and overall motivation to cook. Most of the recipes I find are quite easy and don’t require lots of work or time. I also use my cooking time as a break from studies since I cook while watching a movie or tv series.
However, when it comes to grocery shopping, I can’t imagine going to the store every week. And, more importantly, I don’t have a car and taking the bus seems complicated. To facilitate grocery shopping and for convenience and time-management, I use a grocery delivery app.
Below are a few grocery delivery services here in Kelowna:
I’m sure you’ve heard of this app and website before, might have even used it too. Instacart delivers groceries from many big stores (and even smaller convenience stores) in your area. I will mention that some of the stores hike their prices on this app. Walmart seems to be the only grocery store that offers in-store prices.
For those who buy groceries often, you might consider buying the Instacart Express membership for free delivery on orders over $35 and lower service fees. The membership can be paid either monthly or annually but, of course, it is cheaper if you pay for the annual membership. If you buy groceries frequently, you’ll be saving money in the long run. If you think you’ll use Instacart more than 14 times a year, it’s worth paying for the annual membership.
Convenience/ saves time
Simple app/ website
Easy to resolve order issues
Live chat function with the shopper
You can see the shopper’s progress and approve or change items that have been substituted while the shopper is shopping
Sometimes the shoppers can be unreliable
Some stores have higher prices with Instacart
You can shop online right through the website, then choose the delivery option and put in your postal code. You will need to create an account first. After, you can choose which time slot you want your order to be delivered. The delivery fee depends on the time slot you choose. Price for delivery is between $5 - $10. The grocery store also has an app for online shopping.
In-store prices with a small delivery fee (worth it for all the time you save not doing the driving and shopping yourself)
You don’t have to rely on a third party service
They use too many plastic bags
You can’t buy from other stores
The online website doesn’t have the nutritional information for their products
You won’t find out about the missing/switched products until the order is delivered
Shopping online at Walmart is similar to shopping online at Save-on-Foods. You can order right from the website and select a date and time you want your groceries delivered. Like Save-on-Foods, the delivery fees depend on the time slot you choose. You’ll also want to create an account to save all your information for next time. Unlike Save-on-Foods, Walmart has a monthly and annual membership program.
Easy substitutions; you can accept or decline them
Full Product descriptions
Delivery fee depends on date and time of delivery
You can’t buy from other stores
SPUD stands for (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery) and is an online grocery delivery service operating in British Columbia and Alberta that sells local and organic products. For location, choose Thompson Okanagan for delivery in Kelowna.
SPUD focuses on environmentally conscious alternatives for delivery by using either cardboard boxes or reusable bins. SPUD delivers to Kelowna on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And, the delivery fee is $6.25. SPUD also has a membership program.
They have a variety of vegan options
They are environmentally conscious: no plastic bags
They offer organic and local products
They have cheap avocados
The delivery time slots are 12 hours wide. They narrow it down to a two hour window on the day of delivery, but it can get delayed.
There are lots of reviews complaining about delivery issues
The reusable bins can be big, especially for someone living in a small apartment
I find looking up recipes online enjoyable and easy. But, if that seems daunting, I’ve listed a few recipe apps. Additionally, most of these apps have a built-in meal planning function. Also, these apps tailor to all kinds of diets and sensitivities. All of them are free, although you might need to sign up for some of them.
This app and website is easy to navigate. You can filter any specific diets or preferences you want from the search option. You can upload your own recipes and share it with a community of people who are uploading theirs aside from the professional recipes.
When you click on a recipe, you can see a biography of the person who uploaded the recipe (they’re usually chefs), reviews, the difficulty level, how much time it will take you to cook it, the ingredients which you can add to a shopping list with just the click of a button, how-to videos to guide you when you start to cook, the utensils required, the nutritional information, and the instructions paired with images of what to do.
This app and website has lots of options to choose from to filter down your search. There is also a community of people sharing their recipes. When you click on the recipe you want to make, you will be shown a short clip of the steps to make it, pictures of other attempts at the recipe, and the ingredients and serving size. What’s cool about the adjustable serving size is that it will automatically show you the correct amount of ingredients for what you need. You will also have the option of seeing tips and tricks, and the instructions are at the bottom. Tasty is partnered with Walmart so you can shop within the app and have your groceries delivered. However, this feature does not work here in Canada yet. Hopefully that’ll change soon.
Once you use this app and website enough, they’ll have personalized options right at your homepage. The search bar is also easy to navigate and you can add or scan in which ingredients you want included in the recipes you see. Yummly unfortunately doesn’t have a filter before searching for a recipe, so you might want to have an idea of what you are looking for. If I don’t quite know what I want, I just put in the type of meal I am looking for such as breakfast, or dinner. Afterwards, you can filter the search down.
When you click on a recipe, you will see the option to add it to a meal plan and/or shopping list. You’ll see the ingredients, the nutritional info, reviews, and directions.
Not only does this app and website have savory recipes, but their meal plan option is quite advanced. You can choose preferences that will work with you when planning your meals such as how many days you need to cook, your goal for meal prepping, the diets you follow, and any intolerances or dislikes. Then, they create the meal plan for you. However, only one meal a day shows up, so you will have to do some searching for the other meals. You can search by ingredients. You can easily move any recipes you find on the app to the meal plan, and you can also add it to your shopping list.
When you click on a recipe to try, you will find a short description of the recipe, the time it will take to make it, the ingredients with the adjustable serving size, the nutritional information, and a step-by-step guide and slideshow to help you make it.
If looking up recipes and adding them to a shopping list and having them delivered still seems like a hassle, you could order meal kits to help with time-management. I will add, however, that meal kit delivery services are pricier than the options I have highlighted above. You are paying extra for the convenience of having pre-made meals delivered to your door.
A few meal delivery kit services that have good reviews are:
Chef’s Plate; review
If you are experiencing food insecurity, you can get your food from Pantry, the student food bank on campus located on the first floor of the UNC.