Meal Prep Ideas For Dinner
This delicious salsa chicken is full of flavor and color. Keep things interesting with this far from boring meal prep dinner idea.
Youll notice that a lot of these recipes have chicken. Thats because chicken is one of the best meats to use for meal prep. It can be served cold or hot and reheats well. This Sante Fe low carb chicken recipe is another great one to add to your meal prep plan.
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Cheap Meal Prep Ideas For College Students
You can consider this a bonus. Maybe youre still a college student maybe you have a sibling or kid who is studying college. Here are some of my cheap meal prep ideas for college students that might help.
- Low Carb Pizza Meal
College kids love pizza. Adults do too but when youre in college, there is a higher propensity to order pizza. How is it low-carb? Well, you get to add all the ingredients, just without the carbs.
- Chicken Sausage Pasta Meal Prep
Its gluten-free. This makes it budget-friendly and at the same time, a healthy food alternative for college kids.
- No-Bake Monster Granola Bars
Lots of people are fond of purchasing store-bought granola bars but why do that if you can make your own. Its just as tasty. Beyond that, theyre also healthier so you get to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to feel guilty about it.
- Banana Berry Smoothie
Im no longer in college but I, too, love banana berry smoothies, especially during days of workout.
- Sesame Noodle Bowls
One cant call himself a college student if 80% of the calories he consumes dont come from noodles. The good news is that this noodles bowl balances protein and veggies to keep you healthy.
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Salmon And Asparagus Foil Packs With Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce
Whip up something quick and delicious tonight! Salmon and asparagus are baked together with a rich buttery sauce in individual foil packs. The bright lemon flavor pair perfectly with butter, and garlic adds a pungent touch to this wonderful care-free dinner. This easy oven baked salmon in foil recipe is a winner! Get the recipe
Pasta Meal Prep Recipes
Whether you have pasta leftovers in your fridge or decide you want pasta as the main ingredient to build your lunch, the versatility of pasta is epic.
On the plus side, its also a very economical ingredient that yields a lot of servings per batch and can be frozen too!
Recipe: Pizza Pasta SaladThis pizza pasta salad recipe is the perfect use of leftover pasta from dinner reinvented into a super-fast lunch idea. Simply toss pasta with some veggies and your favorite pasta toppings with some olive oil or Italian dressing.
Recipe: Cobb Pasta Salad RecipeTransforming my favorite salad, the Cobb Pasta Salad into a lunch you can meal prep -goodbye wilty lettuce- is always a great idea. High in protein and full of toppings, this is one of my favorite pasta salads to make for the week.
And of course, this is also perfect for the kiddos to to make their Cobb Pasta Salad Lunchbox!
Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with ChickenThis is a dinner favorite recipe of ours: creamy pasta with Tuscan flavors and super easy and fast to make that tastes delicious for lunch the next day . Like many pasta recipes, its great cold or you can make this Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta Thermos Lunch.
While not technically pasta since risotto is rice, I decided to sneak this risotto with peas in this section becasue I love creamy, cheesy rice that I can mix with any vegetable.
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Healthy Meal Prep Recipes For The Week
When it comes to weekday meals, sometimes we just don’t have the energy. That’s where these easy, budget-friendly meal prep recipes become your best friend. Just grab some storage containers and prepare lunch or dinner for the whole week.
“Great idea and they look really pretty as well! My fiancé loved taking these to work instead of his normal boring sandwich!”
“Loved this salad. We enjoyed the combination of the vinaigrette and the nice rotisserie chicken, which always allows for a quick dinner with flavor options too!”
“These are easy to assemble and make-ahead, so theyre ideal for a grab-and-go healthy breakfast.”
“Charred corn meets smokey-sweet romesco dressing in this version of a deconstructed dish of elote.”
“This is a super easy chicken salad recipe using canned chicken. It is simple, yet has a great flavor to it. The secret is in chilling it for a few hours before serving!”
Eat this simple recipe fresh or save it for fried rice later in the weekthe choice is up to you.
What’s The Best Way To Reheat Meal Prep Recipes
How you reheat your prepped food will depend on what it is.
Soup, chili, stew, curry, and sauces reheat best in a pot on medium-low heat. You can also use a microwave.
Things that are crispy reheat best in the oven.
Fish doesn’t typically reheat very well as it can become overcooked and dry very easily. But cold leftover fish on a salad makes an amazing lunch!
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Durable Salads That Stay Good For Days
The key to meal prep salads that last is avoiding lettuce and leafy greens. These salads are tossed with colorful vegetables, pantry staples, an array of proteins. But the best part? They last for about 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Broccoli Salad: For the broccoli lovers, this one checks all the boxes of crispy, creamy, sweet, and savory.
- Ultimate Chicken Salad: This classic recipe tastes great on its own or wrapped in a sandwich for a heftier meal.
- Tuna Salad: Another easy comfort food that works well in a variety of recipes from wraps to sandwiches. Give my broccoli tuna salad a try too!
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: Fresh, bright, and zesty, this chickpea salad is a real pantry staple MVP.
- Greek Salad: Even though its tossed in a dressing, this one holds up extremely well in the fridge!
- Egg Salad: This ones super easy and can be spruced up to be a curried egg salad or avocado egg salad.
Create Your Meal Prep Shopping Listed Based On The Meals You Planned
You dont want to be mid-prep and missing an ingredient! Check what ingredients you already have on hand and then add what you are missing to your list. Check out our resource page for multiple checklists, grocery lists , and calendars. If you need a little help with weekly Meal Prep ideas, here is a Week 1 Meal Prep menu that you can reference
Here is an example of a Low Carb Shopping / Pantry List:
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Chicken & Hummus Plate Lunch Meal Prep
This Chicken & Hummus Plate Lunch Meal Prep is so simple yet incredibly filling and delicious! Get back to basics with fresh cut bell pepper, carrot, cucumbers, paired with a perfect portion of chicken breast, cheese slices, and grapes for a touch of sweetness. Simple portioning instructions included!
Can You Freeze Meal Prep Food
Freezer meals are a great option, especially when you have extra food you know you wont get to in time before it spoils. Before you freeze any cooked food, make sure to let it cool down completely. You may need to transfer your meal to a larger bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.
For easy thawing and storage, freeze your meal prep either in airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. If using a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before placing your meal prep in the freezer.
When youre ready to eat it, you can either let your meal prep thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave for around 2 minutes or reheat it in the microwave while frozen for 4-5 minutes. Easy peasy!
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Meal Prep For Weight Loss: Tips For Success
To help you decide what you should meal prep for the week, Ive separated these recipes into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Of course, you can feel free to eat any of these recipes at any time of day.
Keep in mind that most of these ideas can be adapted to fit any diet. For example, if a recipe calls for rice just substitute it with cauliflower rice to make it low carb or keto, etc.
Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowls
Stumped for time? Well, you cant go wrong with these Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowls.
They taste just as good as they look. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes goes nicely with the earthiness of the beet couscous.
And the roasted chickpeas add heartiness, while the kale and pomegranate add tons of brightness and antioxidants.
The Yum sauce is pretty yummy too. Its cheesy and creamy and really easy to make.
Just add some nutritional yeast, silken tofu, slivered almonds, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings in a blender and blend until smooth. This blender should do the trick.
Then add some chickpea juice to make your dressing pourable. Easy, peasy.
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Slow Cooker Chipotle Bean Chili
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
This delicious Slow Cooked Chipotle Bean Chili is so easy to make! All you need is a slow cooker, a handful of ingredients, and 5 minutes to prep. This healthy bean chili is also high in protein, vegan, and low in calories. Its perfect for cooking in a big batch and meal prepping, costing just $1.61 per serving.
Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls
I like the concept of these Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls. Theyre like a cross between a deconstructed burrito and an exciting salad.
There is a combination of fresh ingredients, with the lettuce and tomatoes, and cooked ones, with the chicken and rice. Apart from the little cooking that is involved all you have to do is line up all your ingredients and make them look pretty. I imagine you could eat this meal from a bowl either hot or cold like in this example, or you could roll it up in a tortilla wrap and eat it as an actual burrito.
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How Long Do Meal Prep Recipes Last In The Fridge
Some recipes keep better than others. Soup, chili, stew, curry, and tomato-based pasta sauces generally taste better a day or two after you make them so they’re ideal for meal prep.
The USDA says that all meat will keep for 3-4 days in your fridge. Make sure to store it at the back of your fridge where it is the coldest.
When meal prepping vegetables, remember that salt draws out moisture and will make uncooked vegetables a limp, soggy mess. If your meal prep includes chopping vegetables, don’t salt them until you cook them.
Garlic Shrimp & Veggies Meal Prep Bowls
Im a big fan of shrimp, as Im sure many of you are too. Not only is it delicious, it doesnt take much time to prepare.
So, its perfect for meal prep. And its pretty nutritious too.
Not only is it rich in protein, its also rich in selenium, a powerful antioxidant. So, eat up that shrimp.
These garlic shrimp & veggies meal prep bowls taste and look amazing. You have succulent shrimp sauteed in butter and olive oil.
All served with a medley of bell peppers, zucchini, and red onions.
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Healthy Dinner Meal Prep
Back when I was first learning to cook for myself, I would often just rely on dinner leftovers for lunches the next day. Turns out, that’s only a great strategy if you have the time to make dinner every night. If you’re struggling to make dinner, you can find some of my fave meal prep dinners below:
- 52 healthy, quick dinner ideas we’re talking 30 minute recipes, sheet pan, one pan skillet meals, Instant Pot, slow cooker and more!
- My fave sheet pan recipes can ease up on the time you spend cooking and make for easier weeknight dinners
Use Meal Prep To Revamp Your Veg
This is where most meal prep falls short. Cucumber slices and carrot batons might make you feel virtuous, but an unsatisfying lunch will only set you up for mid-afternoon snacking. Many vegetables are made more nutritious by cooking and doing so will extend their shelf life, too.
though extra-virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point . Heat a large pan on medium-high. Add a dash of oil, then the veg, and season. Toss well and then cook until tender.
- Peppers: 6min
Meal Prep Containers
A word on meal prep containers, because youve got to store and transport all those meals somehow. There are a few options available, from glass to multi-compartment plastic, with benefits and drawbacks to each style depending on what youre making. Plastic containers are light and durable, while glass varieties are less likely to stain and keep food fresher for longer. Mason jars are ideal for keeping salads fresh, and Bento boxes make packing snacks and lunches super simple. Stainless steel containers look great, but they tend to be pricy and arent microwave-friendly.
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Healthy Meal Prep Ideas
Is anyone else trying to get in a new meal prep routine this fall? Jack and I took some time off last week for an end-of-summer trip to Michigan. It was so fun and relaxing, but when we got back, I realized just how busy the next few months are going to be. Thankfully, I have a full arsenal of healthy meal prep ideas to help us get through it.
In case youre also having a busy fall, Im sharing over 60 of my healthy meal prep ideas today. They include meal prep recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they cater to a variety of meal prep styles and preferences. Do you like to prep components on the weekend to use in different ways throughout the week? Plenty of these meal prep ideas will catch your eye. Do you prefer to make a full recipe and reheat it when youre ready to eat? Ive got meal prep ideas for you, too! No matter your style, I hope these tips and recipes help you save money and eat well this season. Bon appétit!
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is a versatile, healthy, fast recipe ideal for meal prep and freezer meals! Cook the salsa chicken, then divvy portions up to refrigerate for the week or freeze for later. You can enjoy this with eggs for breakfast, in wraps or sandwiches for lunch, and tacos or pasta for dinner.
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