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 23+ meal prep ideas 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
If you want to learn how to meal prep, you have to learn how to plan. Planning is everything because it helps to keep you organized and focused. Meal prep without planning is kinda impossible. Or frustrating and stressful. Which is exactly what we want to avoid.
So, here’s how to meal prep:
- Make a plan and stick to it.
- Make lists – meal prep recipe lists, shopping lists, menu lists. Lists should become your best friends. They are very helpful friends, trust me.
- 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 a day or 2 for meal prepping 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 PREPPING
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
When we’re hungry, we’re more tempted to buy unhealthy foods so it’s better to avoid these situations and have your food ready to eat at home. This will save money on restaurants. Plus having a plan will make it so you waste less food that gets unused 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 a weekly healthy menu. I have everything you need here – breakfast recipes, lunch recipes, and dinner recipes. Choose your favorites and create your very own menu.
- Check the 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 sugar, opt for whole wheat flour or chickpea flour instead of all-purpose flour.
- Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll be tempted to buy more food. Especially unhealthy food.
- Make time in your schedule for meal prep. You can do it during the weekend for the entire week or you can do it twice a week. Do what works for you. This is the secret for a successful meal prep.
- Store your healthy meals properly to keep them fresh and flavorful.
MEAL PREP TIPS
I already touched on this subject but I have some other useful meal prep tips I think you should know about, particularly tips about how to store meal prep recipes, how far ahead to meal prep, and useful tools for meal prep.
How To Store Meal Prep Recipes
- 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.
Useful Tools For Meal Prep
- A saucepan is required when making some of the meal prep recipes and it’s good if you have one. If not, you can use a skillet.
- Speaking of skillets, a large skillet is super important in meal prepping because you’ll be able to cook more food at the same time.
- A sauce pan is useful as well and for the same reason.
- Cooking food in the slow cooker or Instant Pot is always easy but it’s even easier when you meal prep.
- If you love smoothies and meal prep, get your blender ready for some delicious smoothie recipes.
- Meal Prep Containers!!! Keep reading for more on these helpful babies.
MEAL PREP CONTAINERS
To store your meal prep recipes, you’ll need some sort of air-tight storage, like these meal prep containers.
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.
Types Of Meal Prep Containers
- Airtight containers – plastic or glass. I prefer glass containers but if you have plastic meal prep containers it is totally fine.
- Gallon freezer bags – some meal prep recipes are stored better in gallon freezer bags or Ziploc bags than in airtight containers. Also, gallon freezer bags can be used for all your meal prep recipes if you don’t have airtight containers.
- Mason jars – other meal prep recipes are better stored in mason jars than in airtight containers or Ziploc bags. Salads, for example, 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.
OUR HEALTHY MEAL PREP IDEAS
After talking and talking about how to meal prep, the benefits of meal prepping and my favorite meal prep tips, I think it’s finally time to talk about some awesome easy meal prep ideas. What do you think? It’s time, right?
These meal prep recipes are easy, healthy, flavorful, and delicious. Try them and your meals will become so much easier.
1. MEAL PREP FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Let’s kick this list off with healthy Meal Prep for Weight Loss. Ready in approximately 1 hour, these easy meal prep ideas will give you a week of healthy meals that are perfect for those who want to lose weight and be healthy. The healthy meal prep includes recipes for breakfast, lunch dinner, and snacks.
2. KOREAN BEEF BOWL MEAL PREP
Fall and Winter are the perfect seasons for delicious and flavorful beef dishes. And with this Korean Beef Bowl Meal Prep, you get an easy meal prep recipe you can enjoy for dinner during busy weeknights. Plus it will cost you less than $4 a meal. Healthy eating on a budget is amazing.
3. SALMON MEAL PREP
Another budget-friendly healthy meal prep is Salmon Meal Prep. Only $6 per meal and a delicious salmon recipe that will make your dinner time flavorful and easy. How to meal prep salmon? Rub it with spice and roast it in a pan. Super easy, right?
4. FALL MEAL PREP ON THE GRILL
Grilling is not just for summer BBQs. You’ll be missing out on some delicious flavors if you use your grill only during spring and summer. This Fall Meal Prep on the Grill is the perfect example that grilling off-season is a delicious adventure. You get a healthy grilled chicken recipe and flavorful seasonal veggies for an entire week in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
5. HOW TO MEAL PREP| HONEY GARLIC SHRIMP MEAL PREP (UNDER 350 CALORIES!)
Learning how to meal prep shrimp is another great way to make your dinners taste amazing. Also, my How To Meal Prep | Honey Garlic Shrimp Meal Prep (Under 350 Calories!) guide will teach you everything you need to know about meal prepping shrimp. And you’ll get a delicious side of brown rice and lemon snap peas that go perfectly with the shrimp.
6. BREAKFAST MEAL PREP | EGG WHITE SCRAMBLE + SWEET POTATO HASH
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you should have a few easy meal prep recipes for breakfast on your list of meal prep recipes. I have a few delicious suggestions for you. The first one is this Breakfast Meal Prep | Egg White Scramble + Sweet Potato Hash. Quick, healthy, and very easy to prep, this breakfast is tasty and perfect for busy mornings.
7. HEALTHY CHICKEN FAJITAS MEAL PREP | MEAL PREP ON A BUDGET (JUST $3.37!)
This Healthy Chicken Fajitas Meal Prep | Meal Prep On A Budget (Just $3.37!) is a high protein, high fiber, and low carb healthy dinner you can just grab from the fridge, reheat, and enjoy. This meal prep includes fresh fajitas veggies, juicy and tender chicken, and spicy black beans.
8. HOW TO MEAL PREP – HEALTHY CHICKEN PARMESAN (UNDER 350 CALORIES!)
If you want to learn how to make Healthy Chicken Parmesan this How to Meal Prep – Healthy Chicken Parmesan (Under 350 Calories!) is definitely for you. You’ll get the comforting chicken parmesan without the unhealthy ingredients. Nothing beats the tender chicken breast served with marinara and melted cheese.
9. HOW TO MEAL PREP – CHICKEN (7 MEALS/UNDER $5)
And speaking of chicken, if you want more healthy meal prep ideas with chicken, check out my How to Meal Prep – Chicken (7 Meals/Under $5). You’ll get another yummy chicken breast recipe, a cilantro lime marinade recipe that will make the chicken taste amazing plus some extra meal prep tips.
10. 7 SLOW COOKER FREEZER MEALS | HOW TO MEAL PREP
I love to use my slow cooker during this time of the year. It not only makes cooking easy but it also makes meal prepping recipes so flavorful and tasty. Learning how to make slow cooker freezer meals is super easy if you read my 7 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals | How To Meal Prep. And you’ll also learn how to make Slow Cooker Minestrone, Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken, Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup, Slow Cooker Meatloaf with Green Beans and Potatoes, Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, Slow Cooker Cauliflower Chicken Curry, and Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan.
11. HEALTHY SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW – PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!
Love the slow cooker ideas? I’m glad! If you’re planning to use your slow cooker more often, here’s another delicious recipe for you – Healthy Slow Cooker Beef Stew. The flavors of this beef stew are out of this world good and the recipe is, of course, healthy and super easy.
12. HEALTHY EGG MUFFIN CUPS (GREAT FOR MEAL PREP!)
It’s time for another simple meal prep breakfast recipe. My Healthy Egg Muffin Cups (Great for Meal Prep!) are totes amazing and they make a great breakfast on the go. The breakfast muffins are packed with protein, fiber, and deliciousness.
13. $75 WHOLE FOODS MEAL PLAN CHALLENGE
Get 5 meals for 5 days with this $75 Whole Foods Meal Plan Challenge. With this meal plan you’ll have 5 days of easy healthy meals that include a Cinnamon and Honey Oatmeal with Walnuts and Sliced Banana breakfast, a Stuffed Bell Peppers lunch, a Dijon-Roasted Chicken & Carrots dinner and 2 healthy snacks – apple slices with PB & Raisins for a pre-lunch snack and a Baked Sweet Potato Topped With Spinach, Chicken & Greek Yogurt for an afternoon snack.
14. 7 EASY MAKE AHEAD SMOOTHIES FOR FALL
Smoothies are perfect for a quick and healthy breakfast. They are nutritious, easy to make, and packed with amazing flavors. And, if you make them ahead and store them in the freezer, they are even quicker and easier. These are my favorite 7 Easy Make Ahead Smoothies For Fall. In case you’re curious the list of smoothie recipes includes recipes for Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Smoothie, Apple Crisp Smoothie, Cranberries Apple Pecan Smoothie, Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie, Banana Bread Smoothie, Cinnamon Butternut Date Smoothie, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Smoothie.
15. MAKE-AHEAD FREEZER BREAKFAST SANDWICHES
I hope you’re getting excited about breakfast food because I have more meal prepping ideas for breakfast. These Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches are so yummy and are made with some well-loved breakfast ingredients including scrambled eggs, ham, cheese, and English muffins. Sounds familiar? Yeah, they are similar to the English egg muffins you can buy at McDonald’s… except they are healthier and they taste better.
16. FROZEN BREAKFAST BURRITOS (HEALTHY MAKE AHEAD BREAKFAST)
Another breakfast meal prep recipe I love is this Frozen Breakfast Burritos (Healthy Make Ahead Breakfast!) recipe. These burritos are packed with goodness, they are high in protein, they contain fiber, they are filling, and, you guessed it, super easy to make.
17. 14 SMOOTHIE FREEZER PACKS
Do you prefer smoothies for breakfast? Ok, don’t worry. Here are 14 Smoothie Freezer Packs that will teach you how to meal prep 14 fruit smoothie recipes. The smoothie freezer packs include meal prep tips and recipes for Kiwi Kale Smoothie, Blueberry Muffin Smoothie, Pink Power Smoothie, Spiced Pear Smoothie, Caramel Apple Smoothie, Mango Green Smoothie, Blackberry Coconut Smoothie, Cherry Banana Smoothie, Chocolate Banana PB Smoothie, Avocado Kale Smoothie, Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie, PB&J Smoothie, Coffee Bean Smoothie, and Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie.
18. HOW TO MARINATE TRI TIP + TRI TIP MARINADE RECIPES
The secret of a delicious steak is always the marinade. I told you in my meal prep tips that learning how to make marinades will make meal prepping easy and your meals delicious. You can marinate chicken but you can also marinate beef to make tri tip steak. If you don’t know how to do it, I have How To Marinate Tri Tip + 3 Tri Tip Marinade Recipes for you. With these tips for how to marinate tri tip, your steak will always be tender and tasty.
19. 6 BEST OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPES – EASY MAKE-AHEAD RECIPES
This is the last breakfast meal prep on this list and it comes with 6 Best Overnight Oats Recipes – Easy Make-Ahead Recipes. Learning how to make overnight oats means you’ll never have to worry about breakfast again. Aside from that, you get to enjoy a delicious breakfast every day. How long can you keep overnight oats in the fridge? 5 days. Which means 5 delicious breakfast days.
20. 7 BEST STEAK MARINADES
You learned how to make tri tip marinade, but your marinades journey should continue with 7 Best Steak Marinades. Because you can never have enough marinade recipes. And, if you learn how to marinate steak and how to freeze marinated steak, you’ll have endless easy meal prep ideas that will make weeknights easier.
21. 4 EASY MASON JAR SALAD RECIPES
I talked about meal prepping recipes for breakfast and dinner but I only gave you a few options for lunch. It’s time for 4 Easy Mason Jar Salad Recipes. These salads are perfect for healthy eating and they are amazing lunch options. Prep them all and enjoy them throughout the week. They last for 5 days in the fridge, they are perfect for grab-and-go, and they are packed with fruits, veggies, protein, and greens.
22. MAKE-AHEAD GREEK QUINOA STACKS
Ready in 30 minutes, perfect for a nutritious and light lunch, these Make-Ahead Greek Quinoa Stacks are perfect for grab and go and they last in the fridge for days, which means, you won’t have to worry about what to eat for lunch during a busy week.
23. HEALTHY MAKE AHEAD CASSEROLE
If you liked the Quinoa Stacks, you’ll probably fall in love with this Healthy Quinoa Make Ahead Casserole. Made with quinoa penne noodles, this is a healthy and easy to make pasta recipe that is perfect for both lunch and dinner.
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