Over the years, meal preppers have found that prepping their meals for the week has come with a number of benefits. These benefits range from saving time throughout the week to eating a more balanced, nutritious diet. Meal prepping, however, isn’t always easy to stick with. The reality is that it requires you to form specific habits, and forming a new habit can take time and patience. To help you get started, we’re here to talk about some healthy meal prep ideas that are easy to implement while you get used to the habit.
Read on for seven healthy meal prep ideas that are perfect for meal prep newbies.
1. Try a Meal Delivery Service
When you’re first getting started with meal prepping, it can be highly beneficial to reduce your time in the kitchen. Healthy meal delivery services can cover at least one meal per day so that you can break down your meal prepping into smaller chunks (like prepping breakfast each night or turning leftovers into lunches).
There are a lot of meal delivery services to choose from, and we strongly recommend that you choose one that sends ready-made meals. Now is also the time to embrace healthy options, which is why we’re going to cut to the chase and recommend Yo Fresh Food. They provide fresh, locally sourced options that can help you reset your eating habits without the hassle.
2. Embrace Your Sheet Pan
Meal prepping is all about bulk-cooking without having to use a million pots, pans, bowls, and utensils that all have to be washed later. One great way to keep things simple while you cook your ingredients in bulk is to try one-pan recipes.
The concept behind a one-pan recipe is that you can put everything that needs to be baked–from your veggies to your protein–on the same sheet pan. Then, you just throw it in the oven, wait for the magic to happen, and divide up your ingredients into portions for the week.
(Pro tip: when you’re putting together one-pan recipes, try to make sure that at least two-thirds of the pan is covered with veggies!)
3. Get on Board With DIY Bowls
In the last ten-fifteen years, we’ve seen a lot of high-end fast food restaurants embracing bowls–and we don’t mean the dish. In this context, a bowl is a meal that involves layering tons of delicious ingredients to make something sort of like a salad–but a little more exciting.
When you’re making a bowl, you want to start with a healthy grain. Brown rice or quinoa are two tasty and affordable options to choose from.
Then, it’s time to layer on your veggies–many of which can be raw, which saves you cook time–and a protein source. After that, you just need to pick a sauce, perhaps a garnish or two, and your bowl is ready to go!
Bowls are great because they’re incredibly simple to make and they’re extremely versatile. You can change up your bowl by swapping your grain, your veggies, your protein source–it’s a mix-and-match situation and the options are endless.
4. Find Recipes With Overlapping Ingredients
One problem meal prep newbies tend to run into is that they get tired of the repetition. After all, aren’t you eating the same meal five times in one week?
The answer is that once you start to nail the meal prepping process, you don’t have to. The best way to disrupt that repetitiveness without wasting food or money is to pick two recipes per week that use overlapping ingredients. For example, you might eat half of your veggies raw in a bowl and the other half cooked in a stirfry.
5. Give New Protein Sources a Chance
Now is a great time to get out of your cooking rut. In fact, that’s one of the big reasons that many people turn to meal prepping–they’re tired of relying on the same recipes over and over again.
Even if you’re not a vegetarian, give some non-meat protein sources a shot. This includes beans, tofu, seeds (especially chia and hemp), and even high-protein grains like quinoa. You’d be surprised at how tasty and versatile these protein sources are–and how much cheaper they can be than meat.
6. Get Colorful
Let’s face it: eating healthy can seem like an impossible task. However, there’s one way to make things a lot simpler–and a lot more fun. Get colorful!
In the words of many dieticians, try to eat the rainbow. Rather than filling your diet with white starches (like white bread, white rice, and potatoes), start to incorporate more color. That means things like red cabbage, blueberries, yellow peppers, leafy greens, and other gorgeous fruits and vegetables.
(Pro tip: “eating the rainbow” is a great way to get kids excited about eating a more diverse range of fruits and vegetables, too!)
7. Get Saucy
There’s no easier way to completely change the flavor profile of a pre-cooked meal than by adding a new sauce. If you’re struggling to come up with two to three different meals per week, make things simpler for yourself. Rather than adding a sauce to the entire batch, pack small containers of different sauces to use throughout the week.
When you pour an avocado lime sauce over your quinoa bowl one day and teriyaki sauce over that same recipe the next, it will taste like you’re eating a totally different meal! You can experiment with making your own sauces or pick up some of your favorites at the grocery store.
Build a New Habit With These Healthy Meal Prep Ideas
Meal preppers are quick to tell you how much they love their style of eating. Getting started, however, isn’t always easy. Use our seven healthy meal prep ideas to build a new habit that will change your life forever!
Looking for some new recipes to liven up your kitchen? Take a look at all of our recipes and meal plans and get inspired!