Planning & Prep

20+ Easy & Satisfying Meal Prep Ideas

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Last Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Food prepping is when you prepare large quantities of a dish then portion it out for future meals. It is a popular way to save yourself time cooking time during the week if you have a busy schedule. Make your life easier by trying some of these meal prep recipes.

How to decide what foods to meal prep

One of the biggest factors in deciding on what dishes to meal prep is how well it reheats or if it is good cold. Meals like soups and rice or grain-based dishes reheat well, while something like sauced pasta does not. Salads taste perfectly fine cold. Meal prep doesn’t have to be just for dinner, either. Make breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for the whole week.

Breakfast meal prep ideas

Make some of these healthy meal prep ideas for breakfast and snooze a little longer in the morning.

1. Overnight oats

Homemade Healthy Steel Cut Oatmeal with Fruit and Cinnamon

Fill a mason jar with oats, milk, and yogurt, and let sit overnight or for up to 5 days. Top with fresh berries, nuts, or granola when you are ready to eat it.

2. Mini frittatas

Bake these mini frittatas in a muffin tin and fill them with fresh veggies like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. They will last all week in the fridge or freeze for a few months.

3. Breakfast burritos

These healthy burritos use tofu instead of bacon or sausage and contain roasted vegetables, avocado, and salsa. Wrap them in foil before freezing so you can quickly warm them in the oven in the morning.

4. Breakfast sandwiches

Start with an English muffin and top with a cooked egg, bacon, cheese, and spinach. Wrap them in foil before freezing. Thaw in the fridge overnight then quickly warm them in your toaster oven.

5. Quinoa pesto breakfast bowls

Make enough quinoa for the week and store it in the fridge. In the morning, put the quinoa in a bowl and top with pesto, avocado, nuts, and a hardboiled egg.

6. Orange cranberry waffles

Cook up a batch of waffles using a whole wheat batter that contains orange zest and cranberries. Freeze the waffles and simply pop them in the toaster in the morning. Top with your favorite syrup and fresh fruit.

Lunch meal prep ideas

Instead of going out for lunch every day or just making a sandwich, try one of these delicious meal prep recipes that you can make by the batch.

7. Quinoa salad

Home made freshness quinoa, spinach, avocado and sun dried tomatoes salad with pumpkin seeds and vinaigrette dressing

This protein-packed salad uses a base of quinoa and is filled with black beans, chickpeas, avocado, and lime. Add in grilled chicken for some extra protein. 

8. Buddha bowls

A buddha bowl is a delicious vegetarian bowl that starts with brown rice or another grain and is topped with legumes and a colorful array of vegetables. 

9. Taco bowls

These are as easy as filling your meal prep containers with all of the ingredients in your favorite tacos like ground turkey, rice and beans, and fresh tomato salsa. Bring a couple of tortillas to serve it on.

10. Sesame chicken

Cook chicken breast in a sesame sauce and pack it along with rice and broccoli in your containers.

11. Pork lo mein

This tasty Chinese noodle dish is easy to make in large batches. Simply cook your egg noodles, add vegetables and pork, and top with lo mein sauce.

12. Caprese salads

Use miniature mozzarellas balls, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil to make this container-sized lunch. Add in some baked chicken for some additional protein and top it all with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Dinner meal prep ideas

After coming home from a long day at work, nothing is more satisfying than quickly heating a meal you already prepared. You now have the entire evening ahead of you.

13. Stir fry

steaming mixed vegetables in the wok, asian style cooking

If you want to make this fresh, you can have all of your vegetables chopped ahead of time and your rice already made. Quickly fry the rice in a pan while you sautee your vegetables in another pan. Combine and toss in a protein, and your meal is ready.

14. Beef and barley soup

Large quantities of this hearty soup are easy to prepare, freeze, and reheat. It contains barley, chunks of short rib, carrots, onion, and celery.

15. BBQ chicken

Grill up enough chicken breasts for the week, chop, and coat in your favorite barbeque sauce. Keep a container of cooked rice to go with it in the fridge, and you have an easy BBQ meal.

16. Jambalaya

Jambalaya is packed with spice and protein and is simple to meal prep. Sautee andouille sausage, then cook the holy trinity of onions, bell pepper, and celery in the remaining fat. Add cajun spice and some chicken stock, and then cook rice directly in the pot. You now have a 1-pot meal for the week.

17. Chicken enchiladas

Instead of just making a few enchiladas, cook an entire roasting pan full of them and cover them with either red or green salsa. Divide them into portions and freeze them for when you want them. 

18. Italian meatballs

Baked Italian Style Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are another food that is easy to make in large quantities and have multiple uses. Freeze them in individual portions and you can use them on top of pasta, in a meatball sandwich, or just served over rice.

19. Salmon and asparagus

Buy an entire filet of salmon, grill or bake it, and then cut it into individual portions. Place each piece of salmon in its own container over a bed of brown rice and a few pieces of grilled asparagus. This will last for the week but is best not frozen.

20. Lentil soup

A great soup option for a vegetarian meal. Stew your lentils in chicken broth and tomatoes, along with onions, carrots, and celery. The frozen soup will last for months.

Tips for food prepping

Here are a few ideas to help to make your meal prepping go smoothly.

  • Use glass meal prep containers. They don’t stain or absorb odors and are microwave safe.
  • Plan all of your meals before going to the store so you know exactly what you need to buy.
  • Freeze meals in freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
Chicken teriyaki meal prep lunch box containers with broccoli, rice and carrots

Final thoughts on food prepping

If you liked this resource on meal prep ideas, make sure to check out our related guides:

Meal prepping can save you a lot of time and energy during the week. Once you create your list of ingredients for your food prep ideas, shop for them all on Instacart. You can choose same-day delivery or schedule a delivery for a future date.

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