Beginner Meal Prep Ideas, Recipes and Tips

Meal prep is the apply of making ready the important thing components of a dish (suppose: grains, roasted veggies, cooked protein, and so on.) and even the complete recipe earlier than you propose to eat it. This good meal planning technique provides you a head begin on the week, typically resulting in quicker, more healthy, stress-free consuming. Studying tips on how to meal prep will significantly change your weeknight dinner recreation, since it may possibly prevent numerous time in these valuable (typically hectic!) post-work hours and be certain that you’re getting a nutritious choice on the desk very quickly. Let’s dive in, we could?

How do I prep my meals for the week?

There are a couple of other ways to meal prep, however mainly, all of the meals preparation strategies contain organizing the meals in your fridge in a manner that makes for simple, make-ahead meals or simpler breakfasts, lunches and dinners — whether or not that is simply chopping or slicing meals or really cooking it. There isn’t any one technique to do it, however three widespread strategies embody:

Batch Cooking

Make large recipes directly (like on the weekends) and freezing or saving to be used in a while.

portioned out meals in containers

Individually Portioned Meals

Divvy up parts into containers forward of time so you possibly can seize and go.

red peppers being sliced on a cutting board

Prepped Elements

Do a bunch of chopping, peeling, slicing, or roasting beforehand and use these ready elements in recipes in a while.

What are the advantages of meal prepping?

Meal prepping can prevent time on busy weeknights (and cash in your grocery invoice!) by prepping meals on the weekends and minimizing waste. It is also simpler to eat wholesome meals for the reason that menu will get set prematurely. You are much less possible to decide on a not-so-great choice when you have already got a wholesome dinner at dwelling, able to go.

Is there any draw back to meal prepping?

Since meal prepping can contain consuming the identical dish or kinds of meals a couple of days in a row, it is not for individuals who prize selection and freshness above all else. Getting youngsters on board with consuming “leftovers” may pose a problem, particularly for those who’re making lodging for various dietary restrictions or palettes. To keep away from monotony, use totally different spices, dressings or condiments in your dishes or freeze a few of your prepped meals to characteristic in meals for a future week.

Okay! I’m prepared — how do I begin meal prepping?

Refill on reusable, hermetic meals storage containers that may assist your ready components or meals keep recent by locking micro organism and odors out.

Finest for Salad

Brilliance Salad and Snack Lunch Combo Kit
Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Salad and Snack Lunch Combo Equipment

We love these crystal clear containers with detachable dividers that help you customise your lunch. The salad field include parts you possibly can take away and microwave, and a separate cup for dressing to maintain greens recent.

Credit score: amazon


12-Piece Multicolored Food Storage Container Set
Joseph Joseph 12-Piece Multicolored Meals Storage Container Set

Now 18% Off

Cupboard space is a nightmare for most individuals. These containers from Joseph Joseph nest, so whereas the set contains all kinds of huge sizes, they will not take up numerous area in your cupboard.

Finest With Dividers

Flex Bento Food Storage Container
PackIt Flex Bento Meals Storage Container

One measurement doesn’t at all times match all, and PackIt is aware of that. Their bento packing containers have detachable dividers so you possibly can alter the sections precisely how you need.

Credit score: PackIt

Finest for Snacks

GoStak Twist n' Lock Storage Jars
Blender Bottle GoStak Twist n’ Lock Storage Jars

Snack prepping is simply as necessary as meal prepping, and these Twist n’ Lock Storage Jars make it tremendous straightforward. We love their slender, stacking design that simply matches into our luggage.

Credit score: Blender Bottle

Finest for Reheating

Simply Store Glass 18-Piece Food Container Set
Pyrex Merely Retailer Glass 18-Piece Meals Container Set

Pyrex is thought for its long-lasting sturdiness. The glass containers might be frozen, refrigerated, microwaved and put within the oven and dishwasher. This selection set features a measurement for nearly every thing. Plus, they stack and transport simply.

Credit score: Pyrex

Finest for Breakfast

To Go Collection Breakfast Bowl
Sistema To Go Assortment Breakfast Bowl

No extra soggy granola or overly thickened oatmeal right here. These breakfast bowls maintain components separate so you possibly can take pleasure in them once you’re prepared.

Credit score: Sistema

Finest for Planning Forward

10-Piece Meal Prep Container Set
Ello 10-Piece Meal Prep Container Set

Simply taking a look at these meal prep containers make us need to begin meal prepping. They’re manufactured from glass with silicone safety, and might go within the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. The air-tight lids are leakproof and interchangeable.

Credit score: Ellodura

Finest for Versatility

Quart Jar with Silver Lid
Ball Quart Jar with Silver Lid

Now 26% Off

We love how versatile Ball jars are. They take up minimal area and might be reused again and again for something from soups to layered salads.

Credit score: Ball

Finest for Small Lunches and Snacks

Three-in-One Stainless Food Canister & Lunch Box
ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Meals Canister & Lunch Field

This container is nice for youths, or portion management! It options two layers and a smaller container that matches inside one of many layers to maintain meals from touching.

Credit score: Eco Lunch

Upon getting your meal-prepping gear, you might need to obtain a meal prep app that may assist maintain your plan organized and make purchasing and cooking a snap by curating recipes and grocery lists for you. Do not fret for those who’re not into the tech-based resolution: A pen and paper additionally work for planning out your week.

anylist grocery shopping app


AnyList’s Autocomplete characteristic suggests widespread gadgets as you kind, after which intuitively organizes them into classes. Share lists simply by way of e-mail with as many individuals as you need — any adjustments will sync immediately.

Get it without cost for iOS or Android.

mealime grocery and meal planning app


Use personalised recipe strategies based mostly on dietary restrictions and even meals preferences to construct your menu for the week. Then simply faucet so as to add all of the components directly to an organized grocery listing.

Get it without cost for iOS or Android.

yummly recipe and cooking tools app


Simply snap a pic of the components you’ve readily available to get new recipe concepts, or browse dishes out of your favourite meals websites. Something you want will get added to an mechanically organized listing.

Get it without cost for iOS or Android.


All set? The subsequent step is choosing your recipes. Earlier than you do, take into account these 4 issues:

  1. Select only one mealtime you need to arrange for — both fast breakfasts, lunches, or wholesome dinners. Preserve it easy by beginning with one you often eat out or skip altogether.
  2. Choose a day to do your meal prepping. Sunday and Wednesday are two widespread selections.
  3. Decide how a lot you need to prep. Experiment with prepping for 2 or three days earlier than trying 5. You might not like consuming the identical factor the entire week.
  4. Put money into a cookbook. Good Housekeeping’s Simple Meal Prep: The Final Playbook for Make-Forward Meals comes with over 100 wholesome make-ahead recipes, in addition to ideas and strategies to make meal prepping a breeze.
  5. Choose up a meal prep planner. Our Weekly Meal Prep Planner contains tear-off grocery lists and 52 weeks of meal prep inspo and organizational instruments.

If you happen to’re seeking to ramp up your nutrient consumption, make veggies or fruit no less than 50% of no matter you’re prepping. They do not essentially have to return from the precise produce part: Frozen or canned varieties will final nearly perpetually and work in practically each meal.

The perfect meals for meal prepping:

  • Frozen greens: Freezer finds are already washed, chopped and able to be roasted, steamed or sautéed.
  • Starchy greens: Potatoes and different root greens are wholesome, filling, and can last more in your fridge than extra delicate cooked veggies.
  • Stiff recent greens: Celery, carrots, bell peppers, radish and different crunchy veggies make scrumptious meal-prep snacks on their very own or dipped in hummus.
  • Sturdy greens: Hearty leaves like spinach and kale will last more in your fridge than softer lettuces. Preserve them washed and dried however wait to decorate them till simply earlier than serving.
  • Entire grains: Oats, quinoa, barley and buckwheat are tasty for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Pulses: Chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas add quick, plant-based protein to any meal.
  • Lean protein: For vegetarian protein, fill up on eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, skyr, reduced-sodium cottage cheese or tofu. Fish and meat eaters can supply frozen or canned seafood, lean cuts of hen, turkey, beef and pork.
  • Entire fruits: Relying on what’s in season close to you, search for apples, bananas, oranges, clementines, plums, peaches, pears, berries and extra.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds not solely add a burst of vitamins, but additionally a pleasant crunch.

Save this trusty purchasing listing on your subsequent journey to the grocery retailer:

best food for meal prepping, frozen vegetables, starchy vegetables, stiff fresh vegetables, whole grains, pulses, lean protein, whole fruits, nuts and seeds

Need assistance with recipe inspiration? We have you lined:

Finest meal prep recipes for breakfast:

Breakfast is a very powerful meal of the day, so it is a good one to choose once you’re selecting which meals to prep. You need to be certain your meal is mild, but additionally has good carbs, fiber and protein.

make ahead egg and cheese sandwich

Finest meal prep recipes for lunch:

Salads and soups are something however boring once you take the time to customise them to your liking. No matter what you choose, deal with lean protein, wholesome carbs, and veggies.

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green goddess sandwiches

Inexperienced Goddess Sandwiches

Refrigerate boiled eggs of their shells for as much as one week. Use them to make these veggie-packed sandwiches!

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Mike Garten

Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

Prep and retailer the soup and the couscous individually. When able to eat, high the soup with the fluffy grains and revel in!

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Asian Steak Noodle Bowl - Healthy Lunch Ideas

Sesame Steak Noodle Bowl

Preserve spiralized veggies, like carrots, readily available so as to add to all your favourite noodle dishes.

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Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Finest meal prep recipes for dinner:

Add plenty of coloration to your plate by loading up on all types of greens, together with broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes, however go lighter on the carbs and grains.

pork and veggie stir fry

Finest meal prep recipes for snacks:

Put a wholesome spin in your childhood favorites when the afternoon stoop hits. Commerce peanut butter for almond putter and tacky popcorn for candy matcha.

easy yogurt dip with cucumber and radishes

How lengthy will meal prepped meals final?

Ready meals can stay refrigerated for two–5 days or frozen for 3–4 months, relying on the components. To play it protected and keep away from foodborne sickness, maintain meals out of the “hazard zone” — temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Sealing meals in hermetic packaging or storage containers won’t solely maintain micro organism out, but additionally shield the flavour, lock moisture in and assist stop freezer burn.

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