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These easy & healthy meal prep recipes are perfect for lunch or dinner – from protein-packed to vegetarian-friendly, we have plenty of recipe inspiration to get you started! These easy tips and delicious recipes are going to make your dinner time easier and save you a ton of time and money.
If you are looking to save time in the kitchen or you are interested in eating healthier food, meal prepping could be the answer. It ranges from simply chopping some ingredients to cooking complete dinners for the week. In this guide for meal prepping, I am sharing 3 simple tips to make meal planning and prepping easy.
Why Meal Prep?
- Saves you time. Meal prepping means less time cooking during the week.
- Saves you money. No wasting of ingredients or expensive take out.
- Reduces stress. One less thing to worry about on busy weeknights.
- Helps you eat healthier. Eat more real food, and avoid processed foods.
How To Meal Prep: Tips To Get Started
While meal prepping single-serve portions are the most common way to meal prep, there are other types to choose from depending on your schedule & needs. You can also make entire meals for the week and store them in the fridge, or you can prepare separate ingredients and use them buffet style during the week. If you don’t have enough time to completely cook food on the weekend you can at least chop some vegetables, mix spices, and marinade meat – this will definitely save you some time when you are ready to cook. Decide if you want to meal plan breakfast, lunch, dinner or maybe just some snacks.
Get clear why you want to meal prep and start by making just a couple of simple recipes a week until you get in the habit of it.
Make A Plan.
Plan the recipes you want to prepare for the week. Starting out choose simple recipes you are familiar with. Regardless of whether you are cooking a couple of meals to enjoy throughout the week, or prepping several foods buffet style, make sure you have all of your ingredients on hand on the day of cooking, as well as the right containers to store the food in the fridge.
Schedule 1 to 2 hours on the weekend (preferably Sunday) for you to prep and/or cook all your food for the week. If you don’t schedule it in your day, it’s much more likely that you won’t do it or you will forget. Been there, done that.
The power of meal planning is that you can cook/prep several foods at the same time. For example, while you roast veggies, you can cook rice and some meat on the stove. Or you can cook some deliciously seasoned chicken and vegetables on the same baking sheet in the oven. And maybe some meatballs in a second baking sheet. And of course, don’t forget to utilize your Instant Pot and Slow Cooker for some delicious soups, stews or chili.
If you clean, chop and organize all your ingredients before you start, you can cook several easy and delicious meals for a couple of hours. A couple of hours of cooking on the weekend means more free time in the evenings during the week. And of course, nothing can beat a delicious homecooked meal.
Best Foods For Meal Prepping
These are some of my go-to foods to meal prep on Sundays for the week.
- Roasted vegetables – bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, butternut squash etc. in the oven
- Grains – rice, quinoa on the stove
- Protein – roasted whole chicken or a batch of chicken breast/thighs/drumsticks in the Instant Pot, meatballs or baked fish in the oven. I also love to bake some bacon in the oven for breakfast during the week.
- Stew/Soup – a big pot of soup in the Instant Pot
- Sauces/Dressings – while everything cooks in the oven, on the stove or in the Instant Pot, I can whip some delicious sauces to pour over the meat or dressings for salads during the week
Meal Prep Storage Essentials & Tools
These are my favorite & most convenient meal prep containers & tools that make meal prepping easier.
- Glass meal prep containers – Love these glass containers because they are durable, don’t get stained and reheat food evenly.
- Reusable silicone bags – Use these instead of the disposable plastic ziplock bags. They are great to store a snack, cut up fruit or vegetables.
- Baking sheets – Bake some bacon or meatballs for the week on these baking sheets.
- Instant Pot – this is a must-have appliance for speeding up your meal prep routine. I love that cooking is hands-off and so fast.
- Slow Cooker – Utilize your crockpot if you want to multitask and cook multiple meals at the same time.
How Long Will Meal Prepped Food Last & How To Store It
Prepped food will last about 2-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator (depending on the type of food), and about 3 – 6 months in the freezer.
Best Meal Prep Recipes For Dinner
Chicken Meal Prep Recipes
Chicken is a great versatile ingredient for meal prep. It’s high in protein and low in fat. Use thighs or breasts, shred it or used ground. These recipes cover everything from Chinese, tacos, salads, and meatballs so I’m sure you’ll find something you love!
If you can, buy good quality chicken that is free run or organic. It won’t contain any additional ingredients and it tastes much better!
- Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken, Delicious Meets Healthy
- Crockpot Chicken Fajitas, Sweet Peas and Saffron
- Sheet Pan Chicken & Asparagus, The Girl on Bloor
- Keto Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs, Wholesome Yum
- Sheet Pan Hawaiian Chicken, Meal Plan A ddict
- 10-Minute Teriyaki Chicken & Broccoli, A Simple Palate
- Dijon Thyme Chicken Tenders, Meal Plan A ddict
- Keto Chicken Gyro Bowl, Homemade Interest
- Easy Garlic Lime Chicken Tacos, The Organic Kitchen
- Southwest BBQ Chicken Salad, Urban Bliss Life
Beef Meal Prep Recipes
Beef is a great option for those following specific meal plans as there is a large variety of different cuts you can choose from. Use lean cuts like brisket, sirloin tip, and round steak if you are following a low-calorie diet and fattier cuts like New York strip steak or skirt steak if you are keto, whole30 or paleo.
- Meatloaf Recipe, Delicious Meets Healthy
- Beef Kofta Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables, Budget Bites
- Taco Salad Meal Prep Bowl, Le Creme de la Crumb
- Low Carb Satay Beef Meal Prep, Sweet Peas and Saffron
- Swedish Meatballs, Delicious Meets Healthy
Pork Meal Prep Recipes
Pork has a milder flavor compared to red meat so it takes on seasonings and sauces really well. Pork is a great choice if you usually opt for chicken, it’s a great way of varying your meals so that you don’t get bored.
Lean pork is a great healthy addition to your diet. It is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals and lean cuts contain fewer calories than chicken, pound for pound.
- Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana, Delicious Meets Healthy
- Instant Pot Carnitas Meal Prep Bowls, Primavera Kitchen
- Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Eggs, Delicious Meets Healthy
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork, A Sweet Pea Chef
- One Pan Healthy Sausage and Roasted Veggies, Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Seafood Meal Prep Recipes
Below you will find some delicious and easy to prep salmon and shrimp dishes. It’s recommended that you eat two portions of seafood a week and it’s so easy and quick to prepare.
High in protein and low in fat, seafood is a great addition to any meal prep. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants so it’s a great addition to your diet.
- Shrimp Broccoli Stir Fry, Dash of Jazz
- Honey Sriracha Salmon, Delicious Meets Healthy
- Garlic Shrimp & Veggies Meal Prep Bowls, Primavera Kitchen
- Blackened Salmon Tacos, Delicious Meets Healthy
- Honey Garlic Shrimp Meal Prep, A Sweet Pea Chef
Vegan/Vegetarian Meal Prep Recipes
Meat free meal preps often have a slightly longer shelf life than those with meat and a batch of chili or soup will easily see you through the week. I do like to have a couple of days each week that are meat-free and these dishes are ideal!
These dishes are loaded with fresh veggies and so flavorful that I promise you won’t miss the meat!
- Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese, By The Forkful
- Vegan Mushroom Soup, That Girl Cooks Healthy
- Crockpot Vegetarian Chili, Erhardt’s Eat
- Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup, That Girl Cooks Healthy
If you are in need of a menu of inspiration, check out our meal prep recipes and find recipes that work for you.
Use the tag #DeliciousMeetsHealthy when posting a picture of your recipe, and make sure to follow @deliciousmeetshealthy on Instagram!