How to Meal Prep + 30+ Easy and Delicious Meal Prep Ideas

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.

30+ Meal Prep Ideas + How to Meal Prep | Meal prep ideas, meal prep recipes, and meal prep tips for easy and healthy meal prep | A Sweet Pea Chef

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.

Chicken breasts marinating in the marinade.

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.

Close up of a mixing bowl that contains a mixing bowl with honey, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, rice vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes mixed together.

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.

View of the refrigerator once all meal prep for weight loss is done.

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.

View of the inside of a refrigerator which contains 4 salmon meal prep containers for how to meal prep salmon.

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

View from above of 4 meal prep containers filled with make ahead breakfast. 2 containers contain only egg whites scramble with ham and spinach & sweet potato has while the other 2 also have a few avocado slices.

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HEALTHY EGG MUFFIN CUPS

Hand holding baked healthy egg muffin cup that contains quinoa, broccoli, and eggs and has a bite out of it.

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MAKE-AHEAD FREEZER BREAKFAST SANDWICHES

A tower made of 3 Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches place on top of each other.

Get the recipe.

FROZEN BREAKFAST BURRITOS

Close up of Make Ahead Frozen Breakfast Burritos wrapped in aluminum foil, ready to be eaten.

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6 BEST OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPES

Overnight Oats Recipes | Never skip breakfast again with these simple make-ahead 6 Overnight Oats recipes. Enjoy a healthy and yummy breakfast on the go plus learn how to make overnight oats! | A Sweet Pea Chef

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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)

Overhead view of seven meal prep containers containing meal prepped chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, to show how to meal prep chicken.

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FALL MEAL PREP ON THE GRILL

View from the top of grilled chicken, grilled Brussel sprouts, grilled sweet potatoes, grilled butternut squash, and quinoa base stored separately in meal prep containers.

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HOW TO MEAL PREP – HEALTHY CHICKEN PARMESAN (UNDER 350 CALORIES)

An overhead image of four glass containers each with a serving of Healthy Chicken Parmesan served with zucchini noodles ready to be placed in the refrigerator for meal prep.

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HEALTHY CHICKEN FAJITAS MEAL PREP | MEAL PREP ON A BUDGET (JUST $3.37)

Healthy Chicken Fajitas Meal Prep (Just $3.37 Per Serving!) | This Healthy Chicken Fajitas Meal Prep includes healthy chicken fajitas with fresh fajita veggies and the most amazing spicy black beans.  This is a low carb, high protein, and high fiber meal prep you’re gonna love. Bonus: this chicken meal prep is just 455 calories and is a great meal prep on a budget since each serving costs just $3.37! | A Sweet Pea Chef

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SLOW COOKER CHICKEN BURRITO BOWLS

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls | Delicious, healthy, and clean burrito bowls that use slow cooker shredded chicken and cauliflower rice | www.asweetpeachef.com

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CHICKEN PROTEIN BOWL WITH CASHEW LIME CREMA

Chicken Protein Bowl | This chicken protein bowl is packed full of protein, including spicy chicken, savory sweet potatoes, black beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, and then drizzled with a cashew lime crema. | A Sweet Pea Chef #Ad @HorizonOrganic

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SLOW COOKER SHREDDED CHICKEN MEAL PREP

View from the top of 4 meal prep containers filled with shredded chicken.

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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

Four meal prep containers, all the same, all filled with garlic rice, garlic parmesan green beans, and pan-roasted salmon for how to meal prep salmon.

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HOW TO MEAL PREP | HONEY GARLIC SHRIMP MEAL PREP (UNDER 350 CALORIES)

view from above of 4 meal prep containers that contain shrimp, brown rice, sweet peas, and lemon slices.

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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

Overhead view of the meal prep korean beef bowls, filled with steamed brown rice, korean ground beef, medium boiled egg, carrot salad, and cucumbers.

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HEALTHY SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW – PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!

Bowl of slow cooker beef stew, filled with cooked yukon potatoes, sliced carrots, beef chunks, and sweet potatoes, with a spoon in it and ready to eat.

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HOW TO MARINATE TRI TIP + 3 TRI TIP MARINADE RECIPES

How to Marinate Tri Tip | Follow my easy tips for marinating tri tip and turn this lean cut of beef into the star of the show + Try one of my 3 Tri Tip Marinade Recipes | A Sweet Pea Chef

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7 BEST STEAK MARINADES

Best Steak Marinades | With these 7 Best Steak Marinades, you’ll have all sorts of flavor and variety to spice up your next steak dinner.  Get tips for how to marinate steak and how to freeze marinated steak plus 7 great steak marinade recipes. | A Sweet Pea Chef

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HOW TO MEAL PREP: SALISBURY STEAK RECIPE

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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

Healthy Quinoa Make-Ahead Casserole | A healthy and easy way to stay on your healthy lifestyle! www.asweetpeachef.com

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HOW TO MAKE BAKED SWEET POTATOES + 4 EASY STUFFED SWEET POTATO RECIPES

How To Make Baked Sweet Potatoes + 4 Easy Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipes | Learn how to cook sweet potatoes in the oven and discover 4 baked sweet potato toppings | A Sweet Pea Chef

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HOW TO COOK BROCCOLI 4 WAYS FOR MEAL PREP

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EASY SWEET POTATO MEAL PREP – BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES 4 WAYS

Top view of 4 meal prep containers filled with sweet potato fries. The flavors are: garlic& herbs, spicy chile, cajun, and cinnamon sugar.

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HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT BLACK BEANS + 4 EASY INSTANT POT BLACK BEANS RECIPES

Top view of 4 meal prep containers with plain black beans, Cuban black beans, refried black beans, and black beans with rice cooked in the instant pot.

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EASY VEGETARIAN MEAL PREP: CHIPOTLE CHICKPEA TACO BOWLS

Vegetarian Meal Prep Recipe | Vegetarian Taco Bowls recipe and tips for making meatless meals healthy and delicious | A Sweet Pea Chef

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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

7 Easy Make Ahead Smoothies for Fall | Learn everything you need to know about make ahead smoothies, including how to freeze them for later, how to make healthy smoothies, and how long they last. Plus, enjoy these 7 easy make ahead smoothie recipes that are healthy, nutritious, and packed with Fall flavors. | A Sweet Pea Chef #makeaheadsmoothies #smoothies

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14 SMOOTHIE FREEZER PACKS

Smoothie freezer packs lined up on the kitchen counter with the ingredients for the smoothies including peeled mandarin oranges and bananas for the Orange Drimsicle Smoothie, banana, coffee grounds and almond butter for the Coffee Bean Smoothie, strawberries, oats and peanut butter for the PB&J Smoothie, avocado, kale and banana for the Avocado Kale Smoothie, greek yogurt and strawberries for the Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie, banana, peanut butter and chocolate whey protein powder for the Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie and pitted cherries, greek yogurt and whole almonds for the Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie.

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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

Line of seven slow cooker freezer meals packed into 1 gallon size ziploc freezer nags, ready to freeze.

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$75 WHOLE FOODS MEAL PLAN CHALLENGE

$75 Whole Foods Meal Prep Challenge | I went to Whole Foods with just $75 to make 5 healthy meals for 5 days for this meal plan challenge. | asweetpeachef.com

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4 EASY MASON JAR SALAD RECIPES

4 Easy Mason Jar Salad Recipes | These Easy Mason Jar Salad Recipes make eating healthy for lunch an absolute breeze | A Sweet Pea Chef

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MAKE-AHEAD GREEK QUINOA STACKS

35 Easy Weeknight Dinners - Make-Ahead Greek Quinoa Stacks

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GROUND TURKEY MEAL PREP – TURKEY MEATBALLS WITH SPAGHETTI SQUASH NOODLES

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SHEET PAN SAUSAGE AND VEGGIES – PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!

Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies - Perfect for Meal Prep! | This sheet pan sausage and vegetables dinner is healthy, easy to make, flavorful, and delicious | A Sweet Pea Chef

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3 HEALTHIER TAKEOUT OPTIONS TO MAKE AT HOME (PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP!)

Healthier Restaurant Takeout Dishes to Make at Home | How to meal prep copycat restaurant dishes and 3 copycat restaurant recipes | A Sweet Pea Chef

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Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

5 thoughts on “How to Meal Prep + 30+ Easy and Delicious Meal Prep Ideas

  1. This seriously was so much fun to read! You do an amazing job laying everything out. So dang helpful and the pictures were absolutely fantastic. I DREAM of my fridge looking like that one day soon. ha ha. But seriously I need to get some of these recipes.

  2. My favorite recipe on this list has to be egg white scramble with sweet potatoes. Breakfast is where my meal prep severely lacks so I definitely want to give that breakfast recipe a try. Thank you!

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