Newbie Meal Prep Concepts, Recipes and Ideas

Newbie Meal Prep Concepts, Recipes and Ideas

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

How do I prep my meals for the week?

There are just a few alternative ways to meal prep, however principally, all of the meals preparation strategies contain organizing the meals in your fridge in a method that makes for straightforward, make-ahead meals or simpler breakfasts, lunches and dinners — whether or not that is simply chopping or slicing meals or truly cooking it. There is no one method to do it, however three widespread strategies embody:

Newbie Meal Prep Concepts, Recipes and Ideas

Batch Cooking

Make large recipes without delay (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 Components

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 because the menu will get set upfront. You are much less seemingly to decide on a not-so-great choice when you have already got a wholesome dinner at residence, able to go.

Is there any draw back to meal prepping?

Since meal prepping can contain consuming the identical dish or kinds of meals just a few days in a row, it is not for individuals who prize selection and freshness above all else. Getting youngsters on board with consuming “leftovers” also can 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 function 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 contemporary by locking micro organism and odors out.

Greatest for Salad

Brilliance Salad and Snack Lunch Combo Kit
Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Salad and Snack Lunch Combo Equipment
Credit score: amazon

We love these crystal clear containers with detachable dividers that let 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 contemporary.


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

Now 33% Off

Space for storing 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 a whole lot of house in your cupboard.

Greatest With Dividers

Flex Bento Food Storage Container
PackIt Flex Bento Meals Storage Container
Credit score: PackIt

One measurement doesn’t at all times match all, and PackIt is aware of that. Their bento bins have detachable dividers so you possibly can regulate the sections precisely how you would like.

Greatest for Snacks

GoStak Twist n' Lock Storage Jars
Blender Bottle GoStak Twist n’ Lock Storage Jars
Credit score: Blender Bottle

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 suits into our baggage.

Greatest for Reheating

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

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

Greatest for Breakfast

To Go Collection Breakfast Bowl
Sistema To Go Assortment Breakfast Bowl
Credit score: Sistema

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

Greatest for planning forward

Glass Food Storage Meal Prep Containers
Ello Glass Meals Storage Meal Prep Containers

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

Greatest for Versatility

Quart Jar with Silver Lid
Ball Quart Jar with Silver Lid
Credit score: Ball

We love how versatile Ball jars are. They take up minimal house and could be reused over and over for something from soups to layered salads.

Greatest for Small Lunches and Snacks

Three-in-One Stainless Food Canister & Lunch Box
ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Meals Canister & Lunch Field
Credit score: Eco Lunch

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.

After you have your meal-prepping gear, it’s possible you’ll need to obtain a meal prep app that may assist hold your plan organized and make procuring 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 function suggests widespread objects as you sort, after which intuitively organizes them into classes. Share lists simply by way of e-mail with as many individuals as you need — any modifications will sync immediately.

Get it totally free for iOS or Android.

mealime grocery and meal planning app


Use customized recipe recommendations primarily based 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 without delay to an organized grocery listing.

Get it totally free for iOS or Android.

yummly recipe and cooking tools app


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

Get it totally free for iOS or Android.


All set? The following step is selecting your recipes. Earlier than you do, contemplate these 4 issues:

  1. Select only one mealtime you would like to arrange for — both fast breakfasts, lunches or wholesome dinners. Hold it easy by beginning with one you often eat out or skip altogether.
  2. Decide 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 could not like consuming the identical factor the entire week.
  4. Spend money on 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. Decide 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.

For those who’re trying to ramp up your nutrient consumption, make veggies or fruit not 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 ceaselessly and work in almost 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 contemporary 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. Hold 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, replenish 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 procuring listing in your subsequent journey to the grocery retailer:

infographic of the best foods for meal prepping

The perfect meals for meal prepping: frozen greens, stiff contemporary greens, pulses, complete fruits, starchy greens, complete grains, lean protein, nuts and seeds.

Need assistance with recipe inspiration? We have got you coated:

Greatest meal prep recipes for breakfast:

Breakfast is crucial meal of the day, so it is a good one to select whenever you’re selecting which meals to prep. You need to be certain that your meal is gentle, but additionally has good carbs, fiber and protein.

egg and cheese sandwich wrapped in foil

Greatest meal prep recipes for lunch:

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

This is an image
clicl for recipe
green goddess sandwiches with egg, avocado, and lettuce

Inexperienced Goddess Sandwiches

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

Get Sandwich Recipe

mike garten
a bowl of butternut squash and white bean soup

Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

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

Get Soup Recipe

asian steak noodle bowl on a blue background with a fork

Sesame Steak Noodle Bowl

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

Get Noodle Bowl Recipe

Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Greatest meal prep recipes for dinner:

Add a number of colour to your plate by loading up on all kinds of greens, together with broccoli, peppers and tomatoes, however go lighter on the carbs and grains.

pork and veggie stir fry in a pan with white rice on the side

Greatest meal prep recipes for snacks:

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

yogurt dip with cucumber and radishes for dipping

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, hold meals out of the “hazard zone” — temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Sealing meals in hermetic packaging or storage containers won’t solely hold micro organism out, but additionally defend the flavour, lock moisture in and assist stop freezer burn.

Headshot of Caroline Picard

Contributing Author

Caroline is a author and editor with nearly a decade of expertise. From 2015 to 2019, she held varied editorial positions at Good Housekeeping, together with as well being editor, masking diet, health, wellness, and different way of life information. She’s a graduate of the Medill Faculty of Journalism and goals of the day Northwestern will return to the Rose Bowl.  

Headshot of Samantha MacAvoy

Assistant Editor

Samantha (she/her) is an Assistant Editor within the Good Housekeeping Take a look at Kitchen, the place she writes about tasty recipes, must-try meals merchandise and top-tested secrets and techniques for residence cooking success. She has taste-tasted a whole bunch of merchandise and recipes since becoming a member of GH in 2020 (robust job!). A graduate of Fordham College, she considers the kitchen to be her happiest place.