This in depth run down of How I Meal Prep for the Week takes you through all my simple tips, plus my favorite recipes to help you eat healthier through each week.
Food prepping is a real lifesaver for busy weeks, which come to think of it, seems to be every week. I always notice a distinct difference in how well the work week goes depending on whether or not I’ve prepped anything ahead.
It doesn’t have to be much, but just a few things prepped ahead keeps our household running much more smoothly. It’s also great for keeping us on track with healthier eating habits.
I usually don’t prep too much ahead in the way of dinners, mostly just breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Some weeks all I can manage is a snack to put in the freezer. And even though I just prepped 1 thing, it’s definitely still super helpful. In this case ‘something’ is infinitely better than ‘nothing’!
So first off… how does meal prepping work?
The basic principle is make something -anything- ahead of time to have something healthy ready to eat.
I love to prep what I call ‘building blocks’ to be turned into quick and easy meals. For instance in the photos, you’ll see roasted cubes of sweet potato. I love putting these together with eggs, salsa, and avocado for a quick version of my Paleo Power Breakfast.
I do best with some protein in the morning, but the combination that best powers me up for the day is protein + carbs + healthy fats. However, there’s no way I’m going to be roasting sweet potato on a normal workday. So having our breakfasts partially prepped, really makes all the difference.
Here’s the breakdown of what’s pictured for How I Meal Prep for the Week:
- From the top left there’s Mason Salad Jars with sliced strawberries, cucumbers, red onion topped with spinach. The dressing is the balsamic from my recipe for Spinach Salad with Pomegranates. Berries don’t last as long in salad jars, I only keep mine for 2-3 days. So if you want salads all week long, try using drier ingredients like whole cherry tomatoes and chopped carrots.
- Moving clockwise, next is my Homemade Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup. I love making a huge batch of soup about once a month. From there I keep some in the fridge for the week, and then freeze the rest to use throughout the month. I usually freeze it without the zucchini noodles and add those whenever I decided to defrost a package.
- Then there’s the roasted sweet potato cubes. You can make these by cubing up sweet potatoes, and tossing them with a little olive oil. Then sprinkle with sea salt before roasting at 450ºF until tender with caramelized edges. These are awesome to go along with breakfasts like my Paleo Power Breakfast. (I use jarred salsa instead of the Pico de Gallo during the work week.)
- Sometimes I prep 1 dinner ahead when we’re having a busy week. The next container on the far right hand side of the photo is my Honey Garlic Sheet Pan Stir Fry. I like to eat this within the first couple of days, because broccoli never tastes as good the longer is sits.
- In the bottom right corner, I have a container of cut up veggies that I like to snack on.
- On the bottom left hand side are my Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins. A batch of these makes 12, so I can make one batch that lasts 2-3 weeks in the freezer. We both work 4 – ten hour days, so I usually send him 4 snacks per week. So batches of snacks last for a while in our house. The Maple Cinnamon Granola pictured in the middle usually lasts 4-6 weeks per batch. But if we’re camping a lot on the weekends, we clear through it pretty fast!
- And finally in the middle there’s some Homemade Guacamole pictured which is great with eggs for breakfast. Or I love eating it with the cut up veggies for a healthy snack. The best way to keep guacamole for more than 1 day is to pack it into an airtight container. Then lay a bit of plastic wrap on the surface. Cover it with a lid and place it in the fridge. Another great hack is to just buy guacamole cups from the store when you know your week is going to be extra crazy!
Hopefully you’ll find this rundown on some of our food prepping helpful! We prep more or less depending on the week. The busier it’s going to be, the more I like to have prepped ahead.
But to keep things simple, I usually just prep a small amount. Often I barely manage to prep breakfasts and snacks. And then I just pack a bit of leftovers from dinner for the next day’s lunch. From there we make dinner fresh from scratch most nights.
Also to see what I like to prep for each season + lots of recipe inspiration, check out my season meal prepping guides!
- Healthy Spring Meal Prep
- Fresh & Easy Summer Meal Prep
- How I Meal Prep in the Fall
- Easy Recipes & Ideas for Winter Meal Prep
- Meal Prepping Snack Packs Edition
- Meal Prepping Tips and Recipes
- Simple Meal Prepping
- 5 Ways to Make Simple Healthy Lunches
- Mason Jar Salads 101
- Make Your Own Freezer Smoothie Packs
- Food Prep 101
- All my Meal Prepping Recipes!
And finally let me know below if you found this helpful, and what kinds of meal prep tips/recipes you’d like to see next.
12 thoughts on “How I Meal Prep for the Week”
I was immediately drawn to this picture when it showed up on my Pinterest. After searching and searching through meal prep videos and blogs, I have finally found the one. This is exactly how I eat and completely love this.
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this, we eat the same way too!
I’m a married mother with a 14 month old son who loves trying new foods & a husband who stays at home with him. I’m trying to meal prep, but finding a lot goes to waste, because my husband won’t eat much when I’m not here even if it’s already done. Any tips for meal prepping for a toddler? I feel like I don’t know how to defrost things well so I don’t end up freezing them & then when I make big batches of things some inevitably goes to waste. I really need container suggestions as well to prevent frost bite & make it easy for my husband to defrost quickly for our ravenous kiddo. For instance do you have to set out the muffins to defrost the night before or can they go straight in the microwave? Sorry for so many questions, but thank you so much I’m adbancd for your help!
I would suggest maybe just meal prepping mostly for yourself to start so you have healthy meals to take to work. As far as meal prepping for a toddler, (I don’t have kids myself) but I do know that’s tricky since kids vary so much from day to day with their appetites. I would try prepping small portions for your toddler, and as far as container go I like to use any glass containers with a plastic snap on lids for 2-3 weeks in the freezer. If you’re looking for things to keep even longer than a few weeks, I would try Ziplocks because you can get all the air out better. You might find my recipes for energy bites/bars on the blog helpful because they keep really well in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 1-2 months in a Ziplock. The other thing I make all the time is egg muffins or frittatas to a grab and go breakfast. Then for lunches I often just prep something from what we’re having for dinner, maybe a salad or just straight up leftovers. This works really well for us to not have food going to waste. It’s a weekly meal prep of a few things as well as daily prepping in the evenings for the next day. To properly defrost things, you need to take them from the freezer to the fridge. Then place it in a bowl/plate to make sure there’s no leaks. It really varies how long it takes to defrost things based on how big they are. For instance a roast might take a couple days, but a small prepped meal for lunch should defrost overnight. I’m going to include some links to other meal prepping posts I’ve done as well as meal prepping recipes to hopefully help you out some more! I sure hope you find this helpful and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!
As a single person, your straightforward food prep tips have been a huge help! I do not have much interest in cooking for myself, but your plan works and I now have decent breakfasts and real food on hand! Thanks so much!
Thanks so much for writing in, it always makes my day to know these posts are helpful! They’re really intensive to put together, but I always hope that they’ll be as much help to someone else as these methods have been for me. I hope you enjoy some of these recipes, and be sure to let me know how it goes!
You mentioned having the egg bake on camping trips. Doesn’t it have to stay refrigerated?
Yes they definitely have to be refrigerated, but I always take a cooler with blocks of ice when we’re camping. Then we just make sure we eat them up within the first 3-4 days. I sure hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!
This is by far the best meal prep I’ve seen! Affordable & delicious!
Thanks so much, I sure hope you found some inspiration!
Thanks so much! That was insightful & helpful I’d love to see more food prep any time! We LOVE your recipes. Thanks for what you do.
I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the recipes, and I’m working on some more meal prep posts, so stay tuned!