How to meal prep food you actually want to eat (A list for a total newbie)

Prep your lunches and watch yourself get healthy and your wallet happy!

  1. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Going from prepping 0 meals to 21 can (and will) be daunting. By overwhelming yourself at the start, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Meal prepping should be about simplifying your life, not complicating it. I suggest beginning with lunches. This way, you have a meal ready to grab and bring with you every day to work that will save you calories and a significant amount of money. Going out to lunch will typically set you back about $10 each day, whereas meal prepping your lunches will cost you half that.
  2. Pick recipes that have similar ingredients but different flavor profiles. For example, an Asian dish and a Mexican dish may include many of the same ingredients, but taste completely different. This will help ease your shopping, spending, and prepping, without you becoming bored of the food.
  3. Make at least one of your recipes a “no muss no fuss” recipe; i.e. an easy recipe that is done in the crockpot, or perhaps all in one sheet pan in the oven.
  4. Be prepared. Choose your recipes, make a grocery list ahead of time, and plan what you’re going to do and in what order. If you’re going to buy frozen meats, do your shopping the day before to allow time for defrosting. And when it comes time to start cooking, think mise en place! Mise en place is a french culinary term literally meaning “set in place.” Having all of your ingredients chopped/peeled/measured before you light a stove or turn on an oven is a HUGE time and stress saver. Organization is truly key when preparing 2+ meals at the same time.
  5. Pick a day to do it. Sundays seem to be a favorite, as it’s usually a day containing some down time and allows you to get all of your ducks (or in this case, meals) in a row. But ultimately, you’ll only be successful if you do what works for you and your schedule.
  6. BE CREATIVE!!! Seriously. Most of the time, lifestyle changes fail because we get bored or succumb to our cravings. But if you’re making awesome, crave-worthy food, it’s a breeze to make this small lifestyle change. Meal prepping is not synonymous to steamed broccoli and boiled chicken breast. In the world of Pinterest and thousands of awesome blogs, it’s easy to find killer recipes that you’ll want to eat over and over again. Think of the dishes that you crave the most, and look up lighter versions of them. I guarantee, you’ll be shocked at all of the yumminess you’ll find.

Pro tip: Try roasting your veggies. Roasting brings out the most delicious flavor in them. Some personal favorites are roasted brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze and roasted sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (because who doesn’t love sweet potato fries?).

Here are some awesome recipes to try for your first week of meal prep

Honey Sriracha Chicken

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas

Mix and match two recipes and accompany with a big batch of brown rice (or perhaps cilantro brown rice), and you’ll have a whole work week of lunches and a few dinners (or just lunches for 2 people) that are healthy, accessible, and most importantly – SO GOOD.

Happy prepping!

*recipes courtesy of lecremedelacrumb.com, foof.com, allrecipes.com, and number-2-pencil.com

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