The Very Best Meal Prep Ideas
This is the list of the very Best Meal Prep Ideas on the internet! Get organized for the work week with these breakfast, lunch and dinner meal prep recipes.
How to sort through recipes
If you google meal prep ideas you will find millions of links. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options.
I suggest narrowing it all down quickly to things you will actually try and sound good to you and your family.
Meal prep does not have to be complicated. In fact, easier is often better because you will actually follow through! Look for meal prep recipes that contain ingredients you typically buy and use. You don’t want to experiment with new ingredients when you are making large batches in case you don’t care for it.
An important tip for organizing your meal prep recipes is to do it all in one place. Find the platform you like best and stick to it. It can be Pinterest, Instagram, Google docs or paper copies cut from magazines.
When you gather everything in one place, it’s easier to sort them and make a meal plan.
Choosing meal prep recipes
Besides choosing recipes with ingredients that you enjoy eating, look at the preparation method for the meal prep recipes.
You want to find recipes that make it easy to prepare a large batch at one time. Even better is if it requires little oversight while cooking. That way you can do other things while you are cooking. You could even prepare several meals at one time to put in individual containers.
Some of the easiest cooking methods for meal prep are:
- Instant Pot – not only does this cook quickly, but you can put a large amount of food in the Instant Pot. Plus, you can set it and forget it!
- Sheet pan – sheet pan recipes cook all the ingredients on one pan.
- Slow cooker – while this takes awhile, it cooks without any need to watch it.
- One pot – soups or other meals that are all cooked in one pot are just as easy as sheet pan recipes.
The easiest ways to meal prep
There are several methods of meal prep. Try any of them to find what works best for your family and busy schedule. Experiment with these scheduling techniques to make the most of your limited meal prep time:
- Pick one day per week to do all the work. Find a day you have a few hours to dedicate to preparing meals. After that, you will have most of the work done for the entire week!
- Just prep the ingredients. Instead of completely cooking each meal, prepare the ingredients to make less work for yourself the day you cook. Cut veggies, cook the meat or prepare grains. This is great prep for dump meals that go in the crock pot or Instant Pot. This method is perfect for dinners where you will need to cook for the whole family. All the prep work is done and you only have to cook.
- Double your favorite recipes. You don’t have to search for new recipes if you want to start to meal prep. Double some of your favorite recipes each time you make them. You’ll have plenty left over for lunches or to freeze for later.
- Try a buffet style meal prep. Prepare a wide variety of ingredients that can be combined in any number of ways. Cook the meat. Saute or steam the veggies. Hard boil some eggs. Prepare grains. Dice some fruit. Then you can combine the ingredients in any way that sounds good to you with any type of sauce when you are ready to eat.
How many meal prep recipes should you make in a week?
This really depends on the number of people you are feeding.
If you are only cooking for one, two or three meals each week will be plenty.
If you have to feed a family, you may need up to five each week.
Most recipes make four to six servings. Use this information to plan how many meal prep recipes you will need.
Make sure you have the right equipment for meal prep ideas. I prefer to use glass storage containers. Plastic can leach into your food and you can't reheat your food in it. Plus, glass is durable and easily washable. Make sure you buy containers with lids that fit tightly. Mason jars also work great for storing your pre-made meals.
When to do the best meal prep
The easiest time to meal prep is the beginning of the week. With a little work on the weekend, you can have a week’s worth of healthy meals ready.
Before you start cooking, make a list of the meals you want to make. Know how many servings they make and when you plan to use them.
Shop for all the ingredients at one time.
Dedicate a few hours to meal prep cooking.
Cooked meat, veggies and grains will last for three to four days in the refrigerator. If you want your meals to last longer than that, plan to freeze them.
Meal prep breakfasts
You'll find my favourite meal prep, make-ahead breakfasts below. They're great to grab on your way out the door, and you can even freeze some of them so that you have plenty of variety for your first meal of the day!
- Meal Prep Oatmeal Cups
- Egg and Sausage McMuffin
- Bacon Wrapped Egg Cups
- Meal Prep Yogurt Parfaits
- Breakfast Quesadillas
- Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
- Sheet Pan Egg Bake
- Crockpot Breakfast Casserole
- Almond Flour Pancakes
- Freezer Breakfast Burritos
- Sweet Potato Hash
- Mini Breakfast Pizzas
Meal prep lunches
Typically I eat dinner leftovers for lunch the next day, but that's because I only have myself to cook for. If you're cooking for more people and you're unlikely to have leftovers, then you may want to prep a set of lunches for yourself. Here are my fave ideas below.
- Chicken Spring Roll Jars
- Honey Sesame Chicken Bowls
- Dynamite Shrimp Sushi Bowls
- Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps
- Crockpot BBQ Chicken
- Buffalo Chicken Ranch Meal Prep
- Bento Lunch Boxes
- Honey Sriracha Meal Prep
- Jerk Chicken Bowls
- Peanut Chicken Meal Prep
- Sweet Chili Chicken Meal Prep
- Big Mac Salad Jars
Meal prep dinners
You can either cook dinner fresh each night, or prep some meals ahead of time for those busy nights. I prefer slow cooker and Instant Pot meal prep for dinners because you can have everything cooking all day or just dump everything and push start. However, you may also want to actually cook and portion out food for nights where you have activities in the evening. These recipes are better suited towards dinner and will give you that hot meal you're looking for.
- Ground Turkey Stir Fry
- Sheet Pan Zucchini Chicken Meatballs
- Meal Prep Butter Chicken
- Cashew Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- Pesto Pasta Meal Prep
- Meal Prep Veggie Stir Fry
- Sheet Pan Chicken Tandoori
- Crockpot Sweet & Sour Chicken
- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Coconut Mango Chicken Meal Prep
- Greek Chicken Souvlaki Bowls
- Korean Chicken Meal Prep
Helpful meal prep tools
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls to pack up your weekly lunches.
- Meal prep with your freezer! Butcher Box, conveniently delivers a variety of meats to your door frozen.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you're preparing freezer meals
- Freeze and refrigerate leftovers in round glass microwave-safe bowls with lids
Meal prep challenge
If you'd like some more help with meal planning, then you'll love my free 5-day meal prep challenge! It's basically a free course that will teach you how to meal prep and cook healthy meals at home with some PDF bonus materials. Sign up for free below:
Best Meal Prep Ideas