Save time, money and stress with these easy popular meal prep recipes – most are ready in just 30 minutes!
What's in This Post
- What is Meal Prep?
- How to Meal Prep for Beginners
- Meal Prep Breakfasts
- Mason Jar Recipes
- Meal Prep Bowls & Bento Boxes
- Salads & Wraps
- Sheet Pan Dinners
- Freezer-Friendly Meal Prep Ideas
- One Pan/One Pot Recipes
- Stir Fry & Skillet Recipes
- Slow Cooker Recipes
- Instant Pot Recipes
- More FAQs
- How to Meal Plan
What is meal prep?
Meal prep can typically mean two things:
- Making one or two recipes and portioning everything out for a set of breakfasts and/or lunches to take with you to work
- Prepping ingredients such as cooking chicken, rice, making sauces and chopping veggies so that a meal can come together with minimal effort
How to meal prep for beginners
If you're just getting started with meal prep, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be realistic about the meals you need help with. I find it helpful to actually sit down and do a bit of goal setting first. Why are you looking to meal prep in the first place, what is your WHY? Are you looking to stop eating lunch out, or reduce stress around dinnertime? Determine which meal gives you the most trouble and go from there.
- Make time to plan, shop and prep. Schedule a meal planning day into your calendar, then determine what day is best for you to meal prep. I typically meal plan on Fridays, grocery shop on Sundays and meal prep on Mondays but your schedule may be different.
- Start with just ONE recipe. Once you've determined the meal you most need help with, pick just ONE recipe. If you have trouble choosing recipes, check out my Master List technique to reduce decision fatigue. This will help you cultivate a list of favourites and better organize the recipes you want to try.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat! Once you've gotten past the first three steps, it's all about practice! Over time, you'll be able to make more recipes with ease, and really develop meal prep as a self care routine. Consistency is key!
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!
Think My Ingredient Prep System Will Work for You?
My web app, Dinner Prep Pro, is a customizable meal planning tool. Every week I send you a new customizable meal plan with grocery and prep ahead checklists that auto-populate, regardless of changes you make!
Mason Jar Recipes
Mason jars make excellent meal prep containers! They are reusable, affordable, and super easy to bring to work. I love layering salads in them (you can avoid soggy ingredients this way) or using them to store soups.
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.
- Mason jars are great for salads where you're layering a bunch of different ingredients.
- **Get my full list of tools here**
Meal Prep Bowls and Bento Boxes
These recipes are the best for lunches! They’re easy to make and can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 3-5 days. Here are my fave ideas below, and you can find more meal prep lunch recipes here.
Salads and Wraps
Whenever I want to switch things up for lunch, I make a salad or wrap. They’re very customizable and a great way to use up ingredients. They also don’t require reheating, making them perfect for when you’re on the go. If you need more easy cold lunch ideas, I’ve got a whole list on the blog!
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Sheet Pan Dinners
Sheet pans dinners are one of my favourite ways to meal prep. All of these recipes are cooked on one sheet pan in the oven from start to finish so clean up and cook time are reduced. Easy-peasy!
Wanna Learn How To Meal Prep?
My meal planning service, Dinner Prep Pro, removes the guesswork and helps you get dinner on the table in 15-20 minutes each night. My meal prep checklists only take 1 hour each week!
Freezer-Friendly Meal Prep Ideas
These recipes are the way way to enjoy a hot meal when you don’t have time to cook! They’ll keep in the freezer for between 3-6 months and reheat like new.
One Pan/One Pot Recipes
One of the most annoying things about meal prepping is having a sink full of dishes afterwards. These recipes are the solution to that! Cut down on mess and time with these one pot meals that take around 30 minutes from start to finish.
Stir Fry and Skillet Recipes
Busy weeknights are no match to these speedy and easy stir fry and skillet recipes! They’re also great for using up any leftover vegetables in your crisper that you have lying around at the end of the week.