Searching for easy, healthy meal prep ideas? I’ve got tons of meal prep recipes and tips for how to meal prep for the week!
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Have you started meal prepping yet? If not, we’re about to show you just how easy it truly can be.
We absolutely love meal prepping and it has become such a part of our weekly routine that we can’t imagine our lives without it!
Meal prep has helped our family in so many ways and we have pulled together our best tips and tricks to ensure you can easily meal prep!
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prepping is simply preparing ingredients or whole meals ahead of time to have ready for you throughout the week.
If you need a little help getting started with meal prep – check out our free 7 day Healthy Meal Plan below!
What are the benefits of healthy meal prep?
So many people love meal prepping and it can be especially helpful for busy people. Some of the reasons we love meal prepping are:
- It Saves Time – Because your meals are either partially or completely cooked ahead of time, there isn’t as much of a rush at lunch or dinner to throw something together. You also saved the decision-making time right before a meal because you’ve already planned it out.
- It Saves Money – Prepping meals ahead of time helps save money by cutting down on food waste. You also won’t be buying ingredients that you don’t have a plan for that will end up going to waste. Also, you won’t be as tempted to grab take-out if dinner or lunch is already prepped and ready to go. We also have an entire post all about Cheap Healthy Meals!
- It Helps Us To Eat Healthier – Not only are home-cooked meals better for your wallet, but they also are typically much healthier than take-out. It’s so easy to incorporate healthy proteins and fresh fruits and veggies into your meals when you’re cooking for yourself as well as cut down on salt and preservatives.
How to Meal Prep for the week:
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Here are some easy steps you can take when meal prepping:
- Take inventory of your fridge/freezer. See what you already have on hand to reduce food waste and save money for the week ahead.
- Pick out your recipes. There are so many delicious recipes that are perfect for prepping breakfast or dinner ahead of time.
- Make a schedule. Look at your family’s weekly schedule and then write down what meals you will eat on which day of the week.
- Make a grocery list. Compare your recipes to your pantry and fridge inventory and make a grocery list for the ingredients you are missing.
- Go to the store and prep. Some recipes can be fully made ahead of time (ex: muffins or soup) while other recipes may still taste best cooked fresh, but you can wash and chop all the veggies/fruit or marinate the meat.
- Sit back and enjoy! You now have ALL this free time because you don’t have to run to the grocery store again this week or think about what to make for dinner!
This may seem overwhelming if you aren’t currently in the habit of meal prepping, but I promise it is so simple and absolutely worth it!
Meal Prep Essentials
While some meal prep ingredients have to be purchased fresh (ex: fruits and veggies), there are many ingredients that are perfect meal prep staples that you can stock in your pantry or freezer to pull from when picking your recipes for the week. These are some of my top favorites:
- Olive Oil – We cook every day with olive oil. It’s the base of most recipes, but can also be used for homemade dressings
- Condiments – Coconut Aminos, Balsamic Vinegar, Mustard, Healthy Dressings, and Buffalo Sauce are some of our favorites.
- Rice – Quick to cook, cheap, and a great complex carb that goes with any meal.
- Spices – Spices can take bland chicken and veggies to a flavorful meal!
- Canned Tomatoes – They can be used in soups, sauce, chili + more!
- Frozen Vegetables – Green beans, cauliflower rice & broccoli are great to have on hand to add to quick meals.
- Frozen Protein – Ground beef, ground turkey, and chicken are all incredibly versatile. We love getting our meat delivered from Butcher Box which is so convenient because we don’t have to go to the store or look out for sales to get the best prices on great quality meat.
I also have a whole blog post that breaks down all of my favorite pantry staples that you may find very helpful if you are just getting into healthy meal prep or if you just want to build your pantry.
Easy Meal Prep Ideas:
Here are some easy full-meal meal prep ideas (you can definitely mix and match depending on your preferences):
- Baked Boneless Chicken Breast, Roasted Potatoes, and Green Beans Almondine
- Whole30 Stuffed Peppers and Corn Tomato Avocado Salad
- Greek Turkey Meatballs on a salad with some Healthy Roasted Chickpeas as croutons and lots of Thrive Market Greek Dressing
- Citrus Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Vegetable Kebabs, and Garlic Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Rosemary Chicken Sauce over zoodles or rice
- Garlic Lime Flank Steak with Veggie Kebabs
- Healthy Orange Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, and rice
- Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken over Strawberry Avocado Goat Cheese Salad
- Crockpot Pulled Pork, Balsamic Mushrooms, and Crispy Roasted Potatoes
Best Healthy Meal Prep Recipes for Dinner
Here are some healthy meal prep ideas that have all the components of a healthy meal with all the ingredients being cooked at the same time:
- Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thigh Dinner is made with only 10 ingredients and is the perfect quick meal
- Healthy Chicken Pad Thai is packed with veggies, chicken, and brown rice noodles, and a healthier version of a classic takeout dish
- Italian Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner is perfect for meal prepping and paleo, whole30, gluten-free, and a must-try
- Healthy Fried Rice is full of flavor + so delicious – just like takeout chicken fried rice at home
- Chicken and Rice Casserole is made with broccoli and no condensed soup – this is the best dinner made in one pan
- Sweet and Sour Chicken is healthy, gluten-free, and without pineapple
- Healthy Mediterranean Chicken Orzo is made with simple ingredients, packed with flavor, and done in under 30 minutes
- Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli is a delicious, paleo meal made in your crockpot
- Whole30 Pesto Chicken Zucchini Noodles are paleo and gluten-free, this easy dinner comes together in under 30 minutes
- One Pan Balsamic Chicken, Pasta & Vegetables is an easy dish to make, veggie-packed and so tasty
Need more ideas for dinner? Check out these 40+ Healthy Dinner Recipes.
Best Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Soup
If you know me, I love a hearty, veggie-filled soup! I also think they can be one of the best ways to meal prep for your week. Here are some of my favorite, filling soup recipes:
- Paleo Chicken Soup loaded with veggies, paleo, whole30, and keto-friendly
- Chicken Tortilla Soup you can make in your crockpot, instant pot, or on the stove
- Easy Minestrone Soup is vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan – it’s delicious and done in under 30 minutes
- Southwest Chicken Quinoa Soup is an easy, healthy, gluten-free dinner
- Healthy White Chicken Chili is the perfect quick dinner and can be made in your crockpot, instant pot, or on the stove
- Instant Pot Potato Soup that is full of loaded baked potato flavor and easily made dairy-free, vegan, paleo, and Whole30 friendly
- Lemon Chicken Soup is a delicious, healthy Greek dinner that is packed with veggies and keto, paleo & whole30
- Chicken Pot Pie Soup is easy to make and SO cozy – you’ll love how creamy and tasty this chicken pot pie soup is while being completely dairy-free
- 15 Bean Soup is vegan, high protein, tasty & easily made in the slow cooker, instant pot, or on the stove
- Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Chili is paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free
Easy Healthy Meal Prep Breakfast Recipes
While I’m not a huge fan of breakfast, here are some of my favorite meal prep ideas for breakfast:
- Baked Oatmeal – Blueberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Coffee, Carrot Cake, Mango Pineapple
- Muffins – Banana Protein, Lemon Chia Seed, Apple, Carrot, Pumpkin
- Overnight Oats – Berry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond Joy, Pumpkin
- Whole30 Potato Crust Quiche or Bacon and Cheese Quiche
- Southwest Bacon Breakfast Burrito
- Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (or this fun pumpkin version)
- Egg Muffin Cups
- Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Or my personal favorite breakfast is to eat leftovers from dinner the night before. Trust me! Your stomach won’t know the difference.
Best Lunch Meal Prep Ideas
Any of these meals would be perfect for your lunch meal prep regardless of if you work from home or take lunch to the office:
- Chicken Caprese Quinoa Meal Prep Bowls are a delicious meal for lunch or dinner that is naturally gluten-free, hearty, and easy to make
- Healthy Crockpot Pulled Pork is a perfectly easy, filling weeknight dinner
- Buffalo Chicken Salad is easy, healthy, and such a delicious lunch!
- Crockpot Shredded Chicken is juicy, perfectly cooked, and only requires 4 ingredients
- Baked Feta Pasta made in under an hour, cheesy, delicious & easy to make
- Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad is made with no mayo, high in protein, low fat, and low carb
- Taco Cauliflower Rice Bowls are a delicious low carb, keto lunch that is naturally gluten-free
- Greek Chicken Cauliflower Rice Bowls are a delicious, easy meal that is naturally gluten-free, keto, dairy-free, Whole30 + paleo-friendly
- Coffee BBQ Pulled Pork is smoked on a Traeger grill or made in your crockpot, it is paleo, whole30 and SO yummy
Meal Prep Storage
I like to prepare for 3-4 days at a time to make sure that all my ingredients and meals are fresh.
Some meal prep recipes can last longer in the freezer, then pulled out and reheated. Check your recipe to see if that would be a good option.
Cooked meat lasts in the fridge for no more than 4 days.
Fruits and veggies vary in where they should be stored and how long they can stay fresh, so it is best to look up the individual ingredient to get the best results.
Meal Prep Containers
If you’re going to meal prep, having great containers is important! Here are some of my favorite containers for meal prepping:
- Mason Jars: They’re basic but they work well! Mason jars are great for salads, soups, and more. They’re easy to hold in your hand, microwave safe, and durable
- Zip Top Bags: I absolutely love these silicone bags that stand up on their own. They’re dishwasher and microwave safe and super sturdy!
- Glass Meal Prep Containers: These are hands down our favorite containers. We use them all the time! They even make ones with dividers if you prefer that!
- Souper Cubes – these are a newer find for me, but I’m obsessed with how great they are for freezing soups. Code CLEANEATINGCOUPLE works to save $$ on our favorite silicone molds! You can read more about them in our Souper Cubes Review post.
FAQ for Healthy Meal Prep Ideas
Yes, meal prepping is good for weight loss because you won’t have to choose between healthy and unhealthy food on a daily basis. Your meals will already be prepped and ready for you!
It’s best to meal prep twice a week for food safety. I like to prepare meals twice a week because some ingredients (cooked meat) only last 4 days in the fridge, but you can still have one main meal prep day for planning your meals and prepping the majority of your ingredients.
The healthiest meal prep is one that is made with protein, veggies and healthy carbs. We like to pick a lean animal protein (chicken, turkey, ground beef) and pair it with veggies and a carb (potatoes, rice, beans).
Veggies that are heartier work best for meal prep. Brussels sprouts, green beans, and carrots are all good for meal prepping. Vegetables that get soft quickly or go bad quickly like greens, broccoli, and cauliflower are not as good for meal prep but can still work.
The easiest food to meal prep is getting a rotisserie chicken and portioning it out with frozen vegetables and frozen brown rice.
If you’re a beginner looking to meal prep, try to make something simple! Baked chicken breasts and sautéed veggies are a great place to start. One pan meals like stir fries are also great!