Meal Prep For Beginners
I get a lot of questions on HOW DO I MEAL PREP? SO I thought I'd share!
When life gets hectic, one of the first things to fall apart is how well we feed ourselves! We grab whatever we can find – which is often unhealthy!
Instead of that, what if you had some simple food prepped and ready to go?
It’s actually much easier than you’d think!
Here are some super easy meal prep ideas for the week. I like to call it meal prep for beginners. Anyone can do this!
Take 30 minutes to 1 hour over the weekend. You’ll really simplify how you eat all week long.
HOW TO MEAL PREP FOR THE WEEK
WHAT IS MEAL PREP?
Meal prep is simply the concept of preparing some foods in advance. That way they’re ready to eat when you need them.
It can include preparing breakfasts, lunches, snacks, or even dinners ahead of time.
You can make entire meals, or just get components of meals ready to assemble later.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEAL PREPPING?
By having one prep session a week, you’ll dirty fewer dishes and save time by multitasking.
Eating food at home is ALWAYS cheaper than buying convenience foods, hitting the drive-thru, or ordering takeout. None of the easy meal prep ideas below includes expensive ingredients. In fact, they’re perfect if you’re trying to eat on a tight budget!
Food is ready to eat when you’re hungry (and tired)
You won’t wait until you’re starving to figure out what to eat.
You’ll eat healthily
You have complete control over the ingredients you’re using and the portion sizes. Meal prep can definitely help with your weight loss or clean eating goals!
Reduces food waste
Since you’ll have a plan of what to buy and prepare, much less food will be thrown away.
You won’t be tempted to eat the easy go-to junk food when you can just reach in the fridge for your pre-prepped food.
Knowing ahead of time what you’re going to eat takes away the stress and anxiety of trying to figure it out at the last minute. (Or worrying about it all day.)
HOW DO I PREP FOOD FOR A WEEK?
Make a game plan:
Decide what you’re gonna make – Use the list below for easy meal prep ideas. Or come up with your own, based on your favourite things to eat.
Be realistic – Think about how much time you have and how much food you’ll actually eat.
Start small – Especially if you’re a beginner.
Schedule it – Figure out which day works best for you. And if you’ll shop and prep on the same day or on 2 different days.
Turn on your favourite playlist, podcast, or audiobook
You’ll enjoy the process so much more if you have a fun distraction.
Have everything ready
Get out everything you’ll need to do your meal prep for the week – That includes the food, any pots or pans, and containers to store your finished prep.
Combine hands-on and hands-off tasks. You can hard boil eggs while veggies roast in the oven and you make a salad, for example. It might take a couple weeks to get your exact system down, but it’ll become a new habit quickly.
Use the proper containers
You will definitely need containers to store your meal prep. You can totally use whatever you have on hand, or try the meal prep containers below.
Helpful Meal Prep Containers:
-Glass meal prep containers are durable, microwave and freezer safe.
-Ball wide mouth mason jars are great for storing salads or making overnight oats or parfaits
-Bento Box meal prep containers are good if you want to store several different items together but don’t want to mix!
WHAT FOOD IS GOOD TO MEAL PREP?
Here are 10 quick and simple ideas for meal prepping healthy foods you can eat all week!
1. ROASTED VEGETABLES
Roasted vegetables are the most delicious kind, in my opinion. You can use them as side dishes, an easy snack or lunch, or as an ingredient of the main dish (such as an omelette, casserole, or pasta dish).
You can also roast chickpeas (great for vegetarians like me) or spaghetti squash, or bake sweet potatoes or Russet potatoes.
Some of the best veggies to roast are:
Squash – zucchini, yellow, or butternut
2. BREAKFAST FOOD
Prepping breakfast is super convenient and smart!
It saves you time in the morning, and you’ll feel so much more organized. Plus, you’ll eat something healthy, instead of hitting the drive-thru or munching on the kid's cereal!
Easy breakfast meal prep ideas:
Scrambled egg ‘muffins’ – Fixate recipes are great
Pancakes (try zucchini pancakes)
Sausage (or ham), egg, and cheese on English muffins – Great for the freezer!
Yoghurt parfaits – You may just want to wait to add anything crunchy till you’re about to eat it.
Overnight oatmeal jars
3. EASY LUNCHES
To save time, money, and sanity, meal prep yourself some lunches.
Whether you go to work, school, or stay at home, having some things ready to eat for lunch is SUPER helpful.
Easy lunch meal prep ideas are:
Soup or chilli – Ingredients for wraps – Just prep the ingredients, and then quickly assemble in a tortilla, pita, or lettuce wrap each day.
Salads – Without the dressing, of course.
A quick tip: If you want to prep entire lunches in one container, here’s a simple formula I found for deciding what to include:
Typical Meal = Protein + Grain + Vegetable
Low Carb Meal = Protein + Vegetable + Vegetable
Vegetarian Meal = Legume + Grain + Vegetable
Pre-cooking meat for the week is super helpful when it’s time to make dinner every night.
You can keep the cooked meat in the fridge for about 3 days. Otherwise, just put it in the freezer.
Here are some ideas for meal prepping meat:
Ground beef or turkey – Perfect for making chilli, tacos, spaghetti
Chicken – You can bake chicken breasts or thighs, or a whole chicken in the oven or Ninja in minutes, or let the slow cooker do all the work.
A roast – The meat can be eaten as is, or put in hot sandwiches, shepherds pie, beef stroganoff, etc.
A whole ham or turkey – For sandwiches, soup, or to use in tons of different lunches or dinners.
5. A BIG BATCH OF SOMETHING YOU CAN EAT ALL WEEK
Making a big pot of chilli, soup, spaghetti, etc. really helps out on busy weeknights.
You can eat some of it on the night you meal prep, in case you don’t feel up to cooking anymore.
And then eat the leftovers for lunch, or on a night you’re out late or too busy (or tired) to make something.
6. PRECOOKED RICE, PASTA, OR BEANS
If you don’t want to meal prep entire freezer meals, you can make dinnertime easier by pre-cooking the components of meals.
You can have rice, pasta, or beans ready to assemble into easy main dishes. Especially if you already cooked the meat too.
They also make great side dishes!
7. CHOPPED FRESH INGREDIENTS FOR EASY MEALS
Similar to pre-cooking your meat and starches, you can pre-chop any ingredients you might need for the week.
Having onions, bell peppers, and other veggies ready to add to soups, stews, casseroles, and other dishes means that you can throw together dinner in a jiffy.
8. SNACK PREP
When you’re meal prepping for the week, don’t forget to include snacks!
Healthy snacks help you stay satiated between meals so you don’t get starved and overeat.
Some snack ideas to prep ahead are:
Hard-boiled eggs (I love to use my ninja pressure cooker to quickly cook eggs – without having to boil a big pot of water!)
Put nuts, trail mix, pretzels, etc. into individual portions
Chopped fruit or veggies
Energy bites or bars
Individual baggies of fruit and spinach for quick smoothies
9. BAKED GOODS
Making a loaf of zucchini or pumpkin bread or muffins can really help that after-dinner sweet tooth.
Baking your own bread, rolls, or pizza dough honestly isn’t that difficult.
Meal prepping a big salad for the week means that you can easily add it as a side dish to lunch or dinner.
Or turn it into an entire meal!
Here are some things (that keep well in the fridge) to include in your salad:
Fresh greens (romaine, butter lettuce, arugula, spring mix, etc.)
When you’re ready to eat, just add your favourite dressing, something crunchy (like croutons, tortilla strips, nuts, or seeds), and avocado if you want.
READY TO TRY MEAL PREP FOR THE WEEK?
As you can see, there are a ton of different ways you can start meal prepping. Even for complete beginners!
These easy and healthy ideas will help you stock your fridge and freezer with ready-to-eat food that can last all week.
Let me know if you have questions and I would love to see your weekend meal prep pictures!