There are two major factors when it comes to successful weight loss. One is choosing a workout program that you are able to perform regularly. The other is finding a healthy eating plan that you are willing — and able — to stick with. Developing an easy-to-understand process of preparing your meals ahead of time will prove absolutely invaluable for long term success. If you’re new to preparing your own meals, or you’re looking for a few new tips to streamline your current process, this short guide for meal prepping made easy will come in handy. Plus, we’ve included some of our most popular meal-prep recipes to make this process even easier!
Be sure to read: Healthy Meal Prep Ideas that Make it Easy to Cook on Weeknights
Why Do We Place So Much Emphasis On Meal Prep?
What happens when you don’t eat breakfast or forget to pack a lunch? How about when you have a really rough, long day, and realize there’s nothing in the refrigerator to eat when you get home? More often than not, you’re left with no other option but to grab something quick. In most cases, that meal is usually unhealthy. Furthermore, excessive hunger can lead to a full-on binge of hundreds of unplanned calories, which can greatly hinder your weight-loss efforts.
We place so much emphasis on meal prepping because it ensures that you have healthy options readily available whenever and wherever you need them. Knowing exactly how many calories you’re consuming each day is a sure-fire way to hit your weight-loss goals. In addition to helping you eat healthier, meal prepping will also save time and money!
Meal Prepping Made Easy
The simple steps below will show you how to effectively prepare for the week ahead. It’s important to understand that making healthy meals for yourself and your family doesn’t have to be difficult. If it feels pretty overwhelming at first, don’t worry: Those feelings are normal.
The process will get easier each time you do it. As each week passes by, you will find what works best for you. Before you know it, you’ll be a meal-prepping professional!
Start simple with basic recipes that contain similar ingredients
Think about the week ahead. You’ll need breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or two each day. If you try to make a whole bunch of vastly different meals, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Our first tip is to choose basic recipes that contain similar ingredients. If you are able, preparing large batches of things like chicken, fish, rice, oatmeal, and vegetables will make assembling meals way easier.
For example, select chicken as your main source of protein for all of your lunches and dinner this week. Cook up a large batch, either on the grill or in the oven, and throw it on top of salads, inside sandwiches, or with a side of rice and veggies. You can do the same thing with breakfast: Don’t try to make eggs one morning, smoothies the next, and oatmeal the morning after that. Decide on one main ingredient (per meal) for the week and stick to it.
Select recipes that make more than one serving
Once you’ve chosen the main ingredients that you want to use, find recipes that work with them. When choosing recipes, try to select options with multiple servings. Keep in mind that the more servings a recipe contains, the less work you will have to do!
If you want to eat the same thing all week, just double or triple the batches (depending on how many servings you need). You can also feel free to try a new recipe mid-week, just remember it will require extra effort.
Write your grocery list
Now that you have your recipes and know how much of each ingredient you need to buy, write your grocery list. Before you do so, be sure to look in your refrigerator and pantry for any required ingredients that you already own. This will save money and reduce waste! Don’t forget to include some healthy snacks on the list, too.
Plan a day to shop and meal prep
Most people choose to shop and meal prep on Sunday, but you can choose whichever day works best for your schedule. If you don’t have a full day to dedicate to shopping and meal prep, you’ll need to schedule a few hours periodically throughout the week. If this is the case, you must be diligent with time management.
You can gauge how much time you’ll need by looking at prep time for the recipes you’ve chosen. If you can do everything in one day, we highly recommend doing so. This will reduce stress and help you stick to the plan.
Things to do when you get home
- Wash all of your fruit and vegetables at once.
- Chop, slice, dice, shred or spiralize the produce, as needed.
- Begin cooking any large batches (chicken, beef, rice, quinoa, oatmeal, veggies, etc…). Note: While these are cooking you can pay attention to more detailed recipes.
- Portion out your healthy snacks (fruit, veggies, nuts, etc…) into baggies for quick grab and go access.
- After your large batches have cooled, store them in large bulk or individual containers.
- Combine ingredients for slow cooker, Instant Pot, casserole recipes, etc… You can begin cooking these things all at once.
- You also have the option to mix and store recipes in freezer bags for later. Doing this for slow cooker and instant pot recipes you’re going to eat later in the week is especially helpful.
This list is not comprehensive, but it’s a wonderful jumping-off point. Learning how to multitask will benefit you greatly. As promised, below you will find some of the best meal-prep recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Feel free to search our recipe database for plenty of other delicious and nutritious options. Just type in what you’re looking for and click search!
Our Best Meal Prep Recipes:
Breakfast Recipes for Meal Prepping
- Turkey Sausage Breakfast Muffins
- Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats
- Greek Egg Muffins
- Triple Berry Baked Oatmeal
- Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole
Lunch Recipes for Meal Prepping
- Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Apples
- Shrimp Taco Bowls
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Jalapeno Lime Tuna Salad
- Turkey Avocado Roll-Ups
Dinner Recipes for Meal Prepping
- Thai Chicken Veggie Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Skillet Balsamic Glazed Chicken and Potatoes
- 3-Ingredient Tender Broiled Salmon
- Southwestern Black Bean Casserole
- Instant Pot Turkey Lasagna Soup
Snack Recipes for Meal Prepping
- Tuna Cucumber Sandwiches
- Herb-Roasted Nuts
- Baked Banana Chips
- Skinny Cheeseburger Boats
- Skinny Berry Parfait
What did you think of our guide to meal prepping made easy? We hope you’ve found something helpful here! Do you have a tip that we left out? Be sure to let us know in the comment section.
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