Looking for a way to eat healthy, save time, and cook delicious meals for the entire family?? Meal prep is the solution! Learn how to meal prep and discover 30+ meal prep recipes that will make your life easier, better, and tastier.
Eating healthy with our busy lives and schedules can seem all but impossible.
After all, who’s got time for cooking 3 meals from scratch per day, going to work, running errands, spending time with family and friends, and taking care of the house. Right?
Right… except…IT IS POSSIBLE.
And you don’t have to hire a chef to cook food for you. Or to buy expensive food.
You just have to get on board with meal prep. Seriously, it will make your life easier, less stressful, and healthier.
You’ll be able to keep track of your calories intake, eat healthy, spend time with your loved ones AND enjoy your favorite activities.
Spending time with family instead of cooking food during weeknights, eating a healthy breakfast daily, and, overall, living a happier and healthier life. Sounds good to me!
It may sound too good to be true. But I promise it’s not.
If I’m able to do it, so are you, my friends.
HOW TO MEAL PREP
Easy meal prep is more about planning than it is about anything else. Meal prep without planning is kinda impossible. Or frustrating and stressful. Which is exactly what we want to avoid.
So here are some meal prepping ideas and tips to get you started and help you stay organized and focused:
- Make a plan and stick to it.
- Make lists – with meal prep recipes and meal prep ideas, shopping lists, menu lists. Lists should become your best friends. They are very helpful!
- Make it your own. If you don’t like to pack your lunch for work, choose only meal prep recipes for breakfast and dinner.
- Choose 2 days per week for cooking healthy make-ahead meals if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen at one time.
- Make meal prepping fun. If you don’t have time for complicated recipes, choose a simple meal prep. It’s better to choose what works for you.
- Make it delicious and not boring. Experiment with spices, herbs, and marinades. You’ll have countless easy meal prep ideas without too much effort.
The key takeaway is that meal prep is flexible. The goal is to make it work for you so it’s something YOU want to do. If you want to do it, you’ll stick to it and be successful.
BENEFITS OF MEAL PREP
Food Ready To Eat
The most important benefit of meal prepping is always having something to eat. Even if you love to cook your meals from scratch every single day, sometimes you just can’t. Your busy life might get in the way and you won’t make it home in time. Or you will be too tired to cook. That’s why meal prepping is such a lifesaver.
Quickly Reheat Your Meal
And, when these situations occur, having something delicious in the fridge you can heat up in 2 minutes is definitely better than ordering food.
Save Money on Food
It’s better to avoid these buying food every day and have our food ready at home. This will save money on grocery shopping and restaurants. Plus, having a plan will make it so you waste less food because it didn’t get included in any of the meals.
MAKING MEAL PREP HEALTHY
Meal prepping makes everything easy. Including healthy eating. When you don’t feel like cooking but you are hungry, it’s good to know that you’re only minutes away from a delicious healthy meal.
Here’s how to meal prep… the healthy way:
- Plan out calories ahead of time and make healthy meals including snacks or meal prep smoothies to have between meals. This will keep cravings under control.
- Create a healthy menu with meal prep recipes for the week. I have everything you need here – breakfast meal prep, lunch meal prep, dinner meal prep, meal prep smoothies, and other healthy meal prep ideas. Choose your favorites and create your very own menu.
- Check the meal prep recipes you included in the menu and make a shopping list. Avoid buying unhealthy ingredients and replace the ones you already have with healthier options. For example, buy coconut sugar or honey instead of white sugar, opt for whole wheat flour or chickpea flour instead of all-purpose flour, choose coconut oil instead of butter.
- Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll be tempted to buy more food. Especially unhealthy food.
If you need meal prep ideas for weight loss, read our Meal Prep for Weight Loss guide for tips on how to lose weight meal prepping.
TIPS FOR MEAL PREPPING
The secret of successful meal prep is to do what works for you and store your healthy meals properly to keep them fresh and flavorful.
- Allow the food to cool before transferring it to meal prep containers and store it in the fridge. However, make sure you don’t keep the food for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
- If you want to freeze your meal prep recipes, allow them to cool completely before you place them in the refrigerator.
- To reheat freezer meals, you have 2 options – thawing the food overnight in the fridge and then reheating it in the microwave for about 2 minutes or reheating in the microwave without thawing for about 5 minutes.
- If you use gallon freezer bags for meal prepping, make sure you squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags before you store the food in the fridge or freezer.
- Some meal prep recipes last for up to 7 days in the fridge while others last for only 4-5 days. This is something to consider if you want to cook for the entire week.
- If you meal prep for the entire family, it is better to prep the meals twice per week.
- Choose 1-2 days each week when you have time to allocate your cooking.
- Make recipes you’re familiar with so you know you’ll love them during the week.
- If you like variety, make sure to choose 2-3 different recipes for the week so you can switch it up.
MEAL PREP CONTAINERS
To store your meal prep recipes, you’ll need some sort of airtight storage…
- like these glass meal prep containers;
- gallon freezer bags and Ziploc bags are also an option;
- mason jars – some meal prep recipes are better stored in mason jars (think salads – salads are better when kept in mason jars because you can stack the layers to avoid getting the salad ingredients soggy).
Meal prep can be stored in the fridge or, in some cases, in the freezer. Make sure you check if your meal prep containers can be stored in the fridge. If not, use freezer-safe gallon freezer bags.
You can store the protein and the side separately for a buffet style meal prep or you store them together in a meal prep container for a full meal.
MY FAVORITE MEAL PREP RECIPES
BREAKFAST MEAL PREP RECIPES
For successful healthy meal prep, you have to start the day right. That means a healthy and delicious breakfast meal prep. If you’re tempted to skip breakfast because you don’t have time, energy or the desire to prep your breakfast every morning, you’ll love these meal prep ideas for breakfast.
BREAKFAST MEAL PREP | EGG WHITE SCRAMBLE + SWEET POTATO HASH
HEALTHY EGG MUFFIN CUPS
MAKE-AHEAD FREEZER BREAKFAST SANDWICHES
FROZEN BREAKFAST BURRITOS
6 BEST OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPES
CHICKEN MEAL PREP
When you want to meal prep dinner, you probably rely on chicken on a regular basis. But cooking the same chicken recipe for your weekly meal prep can be very boring. Add these chicken meal prep ideas for variation, awesome flavors, and delicious meals.
HOW TO MEAL PREP – CHICKEN (7 MEALS UNDER $5)
FALL MEAL PREP ON THE GRILL
HOW TO MEAL PREP – HEALTHY CHICKEN PARMESAN (UNDER 350 CALORIES)
HEALTHY CHICKEN FAJITAS MEAL PREP | MEAL PREP ON A BUDGET (JUST $3.37)
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN BURRITO BOWLS
CHICKEN PROTEIN BOWL WITH CASHEW LIME CREMA
SLOW COOKER SHREDDED CHICKEN MEAL PREP
SEAFOOD MEAL PREP
Fish meal prep and seafood meal prep are great options for dinner, but they also work great for lunch. The fish meal prep ideas included here are nutritious and healthy versions of my favorite seafood dishes. They are so delicious you won’t believe they are healthy.
SALMON MEAL PREP
HOW TO MEAL PREP | HONEY GARLIC SHRIMP MEAL PREP (UNDER 350 CALORIES)
BEEF MEAL PREP
Another great dinner meal prep option you have is to make beef meal prep. It’s easy, yummy, and flavorful. Basically, all you want your healthy meal prep to be!
KOREAN BEEF BOWL MEAL PREP
HEALTHY SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW – PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!
HOW TO MARINATE TRI TIP + 3 TRI TIP MARINADE RECIPES
7 BEST STEAK MARINADES
HOW TO MEAL PREP: SALISBURY STEAK RECIPE
VEGETARIAN MEAL PREP
If you’re vegetarian, love Meatless Mondays or you simply want to reduce your meat intake, these vegetarian meal prep recipes need to be on your weekly meal prep list. They are flavorful, tasty, filling, and very good for you.
HEALTHY QUINOA MAKE AHEAD CASSEROLE
HOW TO MAKE BAKED SWEET POTATOES + 4 EASY STUFFED SWEET POTATO RECIPES
HOW TO COOK BROCCOLI 4 WAYS FOR MEAL PREP
EASY SWEET POTATO MEAL PREP – BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES 4 WAYS
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT BLACK BEANS + 4 EASY INSTANT POT BLACK BEANS RECIPES
EASY VEGETARIAN MEAL PREP: CHIPOTLE CHICKPEA TACO BOWLS
MEAL PREP SMOOTHIES
Not all smoothies are created equal. Some are too sugary, high in carbs, and, overall, not very good for you. But when you do them right, meal prep smoothies make the perfect breakfast, post-workout or afternoon snack.
7 EASY MAKE AHEAD SMOOTHIES FOR FALL
14 SMOOTHIE FREEZER PACKS
MORE HEALTHY MEAL PREP RECIPES!
Let us end with some more meal prep ideas. You have a little bit of everything here – vegetarian meal prep, lunch meal prep, freezer meals for dinner meal prep, healthy alternatives to takeout – all yummy and good for you, of course.
7 SLOW COOKER FREEZER MEALS | HOW TO MEAL PREP
$75 WHOLE FOODS MEAL PLAN CHALLENGE
4 EASY MASON JAR SALAD RECIPES
MAKE-AHEAD GREEK QUINOA STACKS
GROUND TURKEY MEAL PREP – TURKEY MEATBALLS WITH SPAGHETTI SQUASH NOODLES
SHEET PAN SAUSAGE AND VEGGIES – PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!
3 HEALTHIER TAKEOUT OPTIONS TO MAKE AT HOME (PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!)
This post contains affiliate links for products I use often and highly recommend.