Home Tips: Meal Prep Basics

Don’t some people just seem to have it all together? Yes, we all envy those folks that just make it look so stinkin’ easy. How do they manage to get through their hectic weeks and still eat healthy? The answer – meal prep! Prepping your meals for the week can make eating healthy easy and stress free. It takes time and planning up front, but makes your life so much simpler in the end! Here are the basic steps to get you started:

Create Your Menu

The first step in meal prepping is to plan out your menu for the week. If this seems overwhelming, you might want to start out by planning just one meal a day. If you’re a meal prep newbie, the best meal to start with is dinner. That way, you can just plan to use the left-overs for lunches. Make your menu in whatever way works best for you – a scrap of paper works fine or use or a pretty menu planning chalkboard. As you plan your dinners, keep in mind your schedule and any plans you have for the week. You will want to plan meals that require the freshest ingredients nearer the beginning of the week so that fresh fruits and veggies don’t go bad before you can use them. Need some healthy recipe inspiration? This Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake from Two Peas & Their Pod is AMAZING!

(Image: HGTV)


This step is pretty straightforward, but you will want to take time to create a shopping list. To do this, get out all of your recipes (or pull them up on Pinterest) and make sure you have all of the ingredients you need. Nothing is worse than starting your prepping only to realize you forgot to buy an ingredient or two. Meal prepping is meant to be efficient. If you have to make multiple trips to the grocery story, it kind of defeats the purpose. Also, make sure you buy the freshest ingredients you can find! You want them to last you through the week without going bad!

Chop, Chop, Chop!

Once you have all your ingredients, it’s time to prep! This includes chopping veggies, prepping meats and measuring out ingredients like spices, etc. This is most time intensive step. Most people do this on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Plan for a couple of hours, especially if you’re planning to cook some of your meals ahead of time too. Which brings us to the next step…

Cook! Maybe…

Some people prefer to go ahead and cook some of the meals they’ve prepped, or at least cook parts of them. Other people prefer to just get everything chopped and ready to go and cook it fresh the night they plan to eat it. It’s totally up to you! Here’s a yummy Chicken Shawarma and Sweet Potato Fry Bowl from Half Baked Harvest that you can cook ahead of time and use as lunches or dinners throughout the week!


Now that everything is prepped and ready to go, you need a storage system to keep everything organized. This might mean investing in additional food storage containers. Good old Pyrex is a great, inexpensive option. It’s durable, long-lasting and it’s nice that you can cook in it as well.

And that’s it! The great thing about meal prep is that you can do as little or as much as you like. If you only prep a few meals a week, great! Don’t stress about it too much. Do whatever makes your life simpler and healthier. That’s the point anyway, right?

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