How To Meal Prep For The Week: Quick And Easy Recipes That Are Delicious
- Meal prepping help improve diet quality and help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight (1).
- Meal prepping has also been linked to weight loss and obesity prevention (2).
- Eating prepped meals is associated with lower intake of sugary drinks and fast food (2).
Are you fed up with rushing to prepare meals throughout the week only to substitute unhealthy snacks or takeout? The answer you've been looking for is meal planning. You can have scrumptious and healthy meals ready to go for the entire week with just a little bit of planning and preparation. We'll give you some quick, simple recipes in this article that are great for meal planning. We've got you covered with recipes that are delicious and nutritious for everything from breakfast to snacks. Meal planning will help you save time and money while maintaining a healthy diet, whether you're a busy professional or a student with a full schedule. So let's get going and discover how to meal prep for the week effectively!
What is meal prepping?
Meal planning is a great way to stay on top of your diet while saving time and money. Meals are prepared in advance, typically for a week, and kept in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to eat them. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks can all be made ahead of time, making it simple to grab something to eat on the go.
A great way to stick to your diet is to prepare meals in advance. It's simple to reach for unhealthy snacks or fast food when you don't have any healthy meals prepared. You can choose the ingredients in your meals by meal prepping, ensuring that you are eating wholesome and scrumptious food. Because you can purchase ingredients in bulk and use them throughout the week, it's also a great way to save money.
Benefits of meal prepping
Meal planning has a number of advantages, including time and money savings as well as aiding in diet compliance. The following are some advantages of meal planning:
1. Saves time
The fact that meal preparation saves time is one of its most important advantages. You can save time on daily cooking by preparing your meals in advance. A week's worth of meals prepared in advance will make mealtime simple and quick.
2. Saves money
You can buy ingredients in bulk and spread them out over the course of the week by meal prepping, which is a great way to save money. Additionally, you can save even more money by avoiding fast food and unhealthy snacks when you have healthy meals ready.
3. Helps you stay on track with your diet
It's simple to stick to your diet when you plan your meals ahead of time and have control over the ingredients you use. Making sure you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy is easy when you choose wholesome ingredients and portion sizes.
Meal prepping tools and essentials
To make the process of meal preparation simple and effective, certain tools and supplies are needed. You will require the following equipment to get started:
1. Meal prep containers
Containers for meal preparation are necessary for storing your meals. Choose the ones that best suit your needs because they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Because they are strong, microwave-safe, and reusable, glass containers are a fantastic choice.
2. Food scale
For portion control, a food scale is necessary. When tracking your calories or macros, it's especially important to measure your ingredients precisely.
3. Kitchen appliances
The right kitchen equipment can significantly simplify meal preparation. Meal preparation can be quick and simple with a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or instant pot.
4. Cutting board and knife
For meal preparation, a cutting board and a good knife are necessary. Make sure you have a cutting board that can handle all of your chopping and slicing, as well as a sharp knife.
5. Spices and seasonings
Your meals can taste amazing with the help of spices and seasonings. Maintain a well-stocked spice cabinet to give your meals flavor.
Meal prepping for beginners
When you first start meal planning, it might seem a little overwhelming. But rest assured, it's not as difficult as it might seem. The secret is to start out small and develop your skills over time. Here are a few pointers for newcomers:
1. Start with simple recipes
When you're first learning to cook, avoid attempting complicated dishes. Keep to straightforward dishes that you are sure to enjoy. Later, you can always add more variety.
2. Invest in good containers
Invest in some microwave- and dishwasher-safe, high-quality containers. Since you'll be using these frequently, investing in quality is worthwhile.
3. Pick a day to prep
Pick a day of the week when you have a couple of hours to spare so you can prepare your meals. The day of the week most people prefer is Sunday.
4. Plan your meals
Make a weekly menu plan before you start cooking. You can stay organized and make sure you have everything you need by doing this.
5. Use your freezer
You can always freeze some of the food if you're concerned about it going bad. Simply remember to label the containers with the contents and the date.
Although meal planning can initially seem intimidating, with some practice, you'll soon become an expert.
How to plan your meals for the week
The secret to effective meal preparation is to plan your meals for the entire week. Here are some ideas for meal preparation:
1. Make a grocery list
Make a list of all the things you'll need before you head to the store. You can stay organized and make sure you don't forget anything by doing this.
2. Choose recipes that use similar ingredients
Choose recipes that call for comparable ingredients to save time and money. You could use the same vegetables from a stir-fry, for instance, in a salad or a wrap.
3. Don't be afraid to repeat meals
Eating the same thing a few times a week is acceptable. You'll save time and simplify meal preparation by doing this.
4. Mix up your protein sources
Don't rely solely on one source of protein. Combine it with vegetarian options like tofu or beans, beef, chicken, and fish.
5. Make sure to include snacks
Snacks should be a part of your meal plan. Fruit, nuts, and vegetables with hummus are excellent examples of healthy options.
You'll save time and make sure you have everything you need for a successful meal prep if you plan your meals for the entire week.
How long can the food last?
How long the food will stay fresh is one of the main issues with meal preparation. Following are some suggestions:
1. Cooked meat
In the refrigerator, cooked meat can be stored for up to four days. Freeze it if you won't be eating it within that time frame.
The majority of vegetables can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Blanch and freeze them if you won't be using them within that time frame.
In the refrigerator, cooked grains like rice and quinoa can keep for up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze them for longer storage.
4. Soups and stews
The shelf life of soups and stews in the refrigerator is up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze them for longer storage.
In the refrigerator, most snacks like fruit, nuts, and vegetables with hummus can last up to a week.
You can guarantee that your food remains fresh and wholesome throughout the week by adhering to these rules.
Quick and easy breakfast recipes for meal prepping
The most crucial meal of the day is frequently referred to as breakfast. It provides you with the nutrients and energy you need to get your day off to a good start. Because they don't have time to prepare breakfast in the morning, a lot of people regrettably skip breakfast. Meal planning comes in handy in this situation. You can prepare the following quick and simple breakfast recipes in advance:
1. Overnight oats
Because they are simple to make and can be tailored to your preferences, overnight oats are a well-liked breakfast option. Simply combine rolled oats, milk, and your preferred toppings in a jar or container to make overnight oats. You'll have a delicious and wholesome breakfast ready for you in the morning if you let the mixture sit in the refrigerator over night. You can flavor your oats by including fruit, nuts, seeds, and sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
2. Egg muffins
Because they are packed with protein and can be prepared ahead of time, egg muffins make a great breakfast option. Eggs and any additional ingredients (such as cheese, herbs, and diced vegetables) should be whisked together before baking egg muffins. Place the mixture in a muffin pan and bake until firm, about 20 minutes. When the egg muffins have cooled, you can store them in the freezer or refrigerator for an easy breakfast on the go.
3. Smoothie packs
Smoothies can be tailored to your preferences and are a quick and simple breakfast option. This is how you meal prep for smoothies: Chop up your favorite fruits and vegetables, then add them to a freezer-safe bag or container to create smoothie packs. When you're ready to make your smoothie, just combine the frozen ingredients with your preferred liquid (such as milk or yogurt) in a blender and process until smooth. For an additional nutritional boost, you can even add protein powder or other supplements to your smoothie.
Quick and easy lunch recipes for meal prepping
Because it allows you to refuel and recharge for the rest of the day, lunch is a crucial meal. Nevertheless, a lot of people find it challenging to find time during the workweek to make a healthy lunch. Here is where meal planning can be useful. You can prepare these quick and simple lunch recipes in advance:
1. Mason jar salads
Because they can be prepared ahead of time and are simple to transport, salads in mason jars make an excellent choice for meal preparation. Simply layer your ingredients in a jar, starting with the dressing at the bottom and finishing with the greens on top, to make a mason jar salad. Simply shake the jar to combine the ingredients when you're ready to eat. You can add your preferred vegetables, proteins, and dressings to create a unique salad.
2. Turkey wraps
A quick and delectable lunch option that can be prepared ahead of time are turkey wraps. Simply wrap sliced turkey, cheese, and any additional desired vegetables (such as lettuce, tomato, and avocado) in a whole wheat tortilla to make a turkey wrap. For added flavor, you could also incorporate hummus or other spreads. Until you're ready to eat, keep the wrapped turkey in the refrigerator or freezer.
3. Quinoa bowls
A nutritious and satisfying lunch option that can be tailored to your preferences is a quinoa bowl. Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package, then combine it with the ingredients of your choice (such as grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, and avocado). For added flavor, you can also add a sauce or dressing. When ready to eat, keep the quinoa bowls in the refrigerator or freezer.
Quick and easy dinner recipes for meal prepping
Due to fatigue from a long day and possible lack of energy, dinner is frequently the most difficult meal to prepare. Here is where meal planning can come to the rescue. You can prepare some of these quick and simple dinner recipes in advance:
1. Sheet pan dinners
Dinners prepared on a sheet pan are a great choice for meal preparation because they are quick and simple to prepare and clean up after. Simply arrange your preferred proteins and vegetables on a sheet pan, and roast in the oven until thoroughly cooked. For added flavor, you can also add sauces or seasonings. When the sheet pan dinner has cooled, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to eat.
2. Slow cooker meals
Meals prepared in a slow cooker are a great choice because you can leave them cooking while you are at work or running errands. Simply place the ingredients for your slow cooker meal in the pot, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Even better, prepare a big batch and freeze the extras for later.
3. Stir-fry bowls
A quick and simple dinner option that can be tailored to your preferences are stir-fry bowls. Simply stir-fry your preferred proteins and vegetables in a pan and serve over rice or noodles to create a stir-fry bowl. For added flavor, you can also add a sauce or seasoning. Until you're ready to eat, keep the stir-fry bowls in the freezer or refrigerator.
Snacks and desserts for meal prepping
Desserts and snacks are crucial components of meal preparation because they can prevent you from eating unhealthy snacks all day long. You can prepare the following quick and simple snacks and desserts in advance:
1. Energy balls
A delicious and healthy snack option that can be made in advance are energy balls. Simply combine nut butter, oats, and any additional ingredients you want (such as chocolate chips or dried fruit) and roll into balls to create energy balls. Until you're ready to snack, keep the energy balls in the freezer or refrigerator after they've been made.
2. Fruit and yogurt parfaits
Parfaits of fruit and yogurt make a delicious dessert or snack that can be tailored to your preferences. Simply layer your preferred fruits and yogurt in a jar or other container to create a fruit and yogurt parfait. For even more crunch, you can add nuts or granola. The parfaits should be chilled after layering until you're ready to eat them.
3. Dark chocolate bark
A quick and tasty dessert option that can be made in advance is dark chocolate bark. Simply melt dark chocolate and spread it on a prepared baking sheet to make dark chocolate bark. Sprinkle on your preferred garnishes (such as nuts or dried fruit) and place the chocolate in the refrigerator to set. When the chocolate has hardened, break it into pieces and place them in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to indulge.
Meal prepping for special diets
Meal planning can completely change your life if you follow a special diet, such as a vegan or gluten-free one. Finding wholesome foods that satisfy your dietary needs can be challenging, but with some preparation and research, you'll discover that there are many options available.
Meal planning for vegans is all about preparing wholesome, protein-rich meals that will keep you full and satisfied all day. Lentil soup, vegan chili, and quinoa bowls with roasted vegetables are a few delicious vegan meal prep options. Large quantities of these meals are simple to prepare and can be frozen or refrigerated for later use.
Finding substitutes for conventional meals made with wheat is the main goal of meal preparation for those following a gluten-free diet. Brown rice bowls with grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes with quinoa, and zucchini noodles with tomato sauce are a few delicious alternatives. These meals are delicious and filling without giving you an uncomfortable or bloated feeling.
Whatever your dietary restrictions, meal planning is a great way to make sure you always have wholesome food available.
Meal prepping recipes for a vegan diet
Let's get into some specific recipes that are ideal for meal prepping now that we've covered some general meal prep advice for special diets.
1. Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Bowls
Follow the directions on the package to prepare 2 cups of quinoa. Roast a variety of vegetables, including cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. To prepare meals ahead of time, divide the quinoa and vegetables into containers. Add avocado and balsamic vinaigrette on top.
2. Vegan Chili
Garlic and onions should be sautéed in oil until translucent in a big pot. Add kidney beans, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes from a can. Add paprika, cumin, and chili powder for seasoning. Simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. Place in meal prep containers and finish with avocado slices.
3. Lentil Soup
Garlic and onions should be sautéed in oil until translucent in a big pot. Include lentils, canned diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and a variety of vegetables, including kale, carrots, and celery. Add thyme, pepper, and salt for seasoning. Simmer for thirty to forty minutes. Serve with a slice of whole-grain bread after dividing into meal preparation containers.
Gluten-free meal prep recipes
1. Brown Rice Bowls with Grilled Chicken
Cook 2 cups of brown rice according to package instructions. Grill chicken breasts and season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast a variety of veggies, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and onion. Divide the rice, chicken, and veggies into meal prep containers and top with a dollop of hummus.
2. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa
Roast sweet potatoes in the oven and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook 2 cups of quinoa according to package instructions. Divide the sweet potatoes and quinoa into meal prep containers and top with a handful of chopped herbs, such as parsley or cilantro.
3. Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce
Use a spiralizer to create zucchini noodles. Sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent. Add in canned diced tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Top the zucchini noodles with the tomato sauce and divide into meal prep containers.
How to meal prep in an hour for weight loss
Youtube - Joshua Weissman
Here's another alternative to meal prepping for the week that takes just an hour out of your day. Joshua Weissman is a famous internet personality and chef who shares a variety of cooking recipes that are healthy, delicious, and of course, entertaining. Here are some of the positive comments from the video:
"Perfect timing! I’ve been losing weight for a couple months and needed this 🙏🏽"
"PLEASE do more meal prep stuff like this. I made everything you did here and it's outstanding!!"
"I’ve made these breakfast sandos all WEEK and my WORD!! I really hope this becomes a series because I can’t believe ground turkey tastes this good."
How to stick to meal prepped foods
Saving time and money by meal planning is a great idea, but it can be difficult to stick to your planned meals when temptation is all around you. Here are some pointers to keep you on course and motivated:
- Make sure the foods you prepare for meals are savory and filling. You're more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks or takeout if you don't enjoy your meals.
- Plan out your meals for the week and follow them. Don't let unforeseen circumstances or cravings ruin your efforts to prepare meals.
- To help you avoid unhealthy snacks, always have healthy snacks on hand, such as sliced fruit or vegetables.
- If you make a mistake, don't be too hard on yourself. Just keep in mind that you have a new chance to make healthy decisions every day.
Meal planning is a great way to stay on top of your diet while saving time and money. You can control the ingredients and portion sizes by prepping your meals in advance, ensuring that you're getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Utilize the equipment and supplies we've listed to make meal preparation quick and simple. To keep your meals exciting and delectable, don't be afraid to experiment with various recipes and flavors. You can have scrumptious and nutritious meals ready to go for the entire week with a little bit of planning and preparation.
Enjoy reading? Check out this related article: How To Eat Healthy On A Budget: A Guide To Affordable & Healthy Meals
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- The Ultimate Guide to Meal Prepping for Weight Loss. (2021, October 8). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/meal-prep-for-weight-loss
- Blanton, K. (2022, March 24). 8 Scientific Benefits of Meal Prepping. EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/scientific-benefits-of-meal-prepping/
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