How I Meal Prep for the Week

How I Meal Prep for the Week | Get Inspired Everyday!

How I Meal Prep for the Week | Get Inspired Everyday!

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 it’s definitely still helpful even though it’s not much. 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 a healthy meal ready to eat.

To get more detailed, (the semi-short version is at the end) I also like to prep things that I’d call building blocks rather than whole meals. For instance in the photos, you’ll see roasted cubes of sweet potato. I love putting these 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 it already done helps me make the type of breakfast that keeps me feeling my best during the day!

How I Meal Prep for the Week | Get Inspired Everyday!

Healthy snacks are a must around our house for those times when you might not need a whole meal, just a little something to tide you over. My husband starts work super early in the morning, (7:00am) and they don’t take lunch until 1:00pm, so I try and send him a snack of some sort for around 10:00am. He has an active job, so it’s a little too long to go without food between his 6:30am breakfast and a 1:00pm lunch. He really loves my Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins, and another favorite is my Maple Cinnamon Granola that I sometimes make into Fruit and Yogurt Cups with Granola for him to take along.

I don’t burn nearly as many calories as he does during an average work day, so the cut up veggies are for me. They’re awesome for when I’m feeling like munching, but I don’t actually need food. It’s hard working around food all day long without wanting to eat it, so veggies are super helpful for me in maintaining my weight.

Since our days start so early, (5:30am) I’m not really in the mood to be making a full scale breakfast and packing lunches every morning. So I do my best to be prepared ahead because there’s nothing worse than racing around trying to get it together when your brain still hasn’t turned on! I make Mason Salad Jars often because it’s a great way to get lots of veggies in throughout the day. Homemade soups are another great way to eat your veggies. When I’m not feeling super hungry, I’ll just dip some cut up veggies in homemade guacamole for a snack that keeps me energized and clear headed until dinner.

Another thing I love to do for lunches is to pack some leftovers from dinner for his lunch the next day. That makes it super easy because you’re not having to make something separate, and it’s a good way to breakup not having a salad jar/soup every day.

For breakfasts I love making frittatas, (I’m making this Asparagus Fontina Frittata a lot right now) or my Italian Sausage Egg Bake. I even make that egg bake whenever we’re traveling, whether it’s a road trip and we’ll eat it for the first couple of days. Or if we’re flying somewhere and have an early morning, we take pre-made egg bake on the road for a healthy start.

I also make it for pretty much every single adventure weekend when we’re in the mountains camping. It sounds good in theory to have freshly cooked bacon and eggs in the woods, but I don’t do it very often because then you have to cleanup. Better just to make breakfast once and have it for days without the every day cleanup, (even when you’re at home with hot running water).

How I Meal Prep for the Week | Get Inspired Everyday!

Finally a full breakdown of this particular prep week and exactly what’s in the photos:

  1. 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.
  2. Moving clockwise, next is my Homemade Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup. I love making a huge batch of soup about once a month, keeping some in the fridge for the week, and freezing 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.
  3. Then there’s the roasted sweet potato cubes. You can make these by cubing up sweet potatoes, tossing them with a little olive oil, and seasoning 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).
  4. Sometimes I do prep 1 dinner ahead and 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.
  5. In the bottom right corner, I have a container of cut up veggies that I like to snack on during my recipe testing days at the beginning of the week.
  6. On the bottom left hand side are my Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter MuffinsA 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, which neither one of us really needs on the other 3 days a 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 blow through it pretty fast!
  7. And finally in the middle there’s some Homemade Guacamole pictured which is usually my lunch with some cut veggies on the first couple days of the week. Since I recipe test at the beginning of the week, I’m often too full for a real lunch after tasting everything, that veggies and guacamole works well for me. The best way to keep guacamole for more than 1 day is to pack it into an airtight container, lay a bit of plastic wrap on the surface, then 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 often I barely manage to prep breakfasts and snacks, and then I just pack a bit of dinner ahead for the next day’s lunch. I’m working on showing more of the combos we prep from week to week, so let me know what questions you might have about food prepping, or if you’d like to see more about food prepping.

For even more meal prepping inspiration, check out these posts below!

  1. Meal Prepping Snack Packs Edition
  2. Meal Prepping Tips and Recipes
  3. Simple Meal Prepping
  4. 5 Ways to Make Simple Healthy Lunches
  5. Mason Jar Salads 101
  6. Make Your Own Freezer Smoothie Packs
  7. Food Prep 101
  8. All my Meal Prepping Recipes!

10 Comments on “How I Meal Prep for the Week”

  1. Kari

    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!

    1. Kari

      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!

  2. Kari

    Hi Kari,

    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!

    Kama M.

    1. Kari

      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!

    1. Kari

      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!

  3. Kari

    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.

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