How To Stick To Meal Prep With Delicious Recipes
Ladies, it’s not basic to meal prep. It’s freakin’ smart. You put all of your work into one day of the week, and you don’t have you worry about cooking or cleaning a crazy amount of dishes until the following week.
Not to mention, there are tons of healthy meal prep ideas out there that can help you reach your health and wellness goals. But I know what’s been stopping you from getting on the meal prep bandwagon. It’s hard to stick to meal prepping.
Heck, you’ve probably tried. It was probably a nice two weeks of having your meals done for you, but suddenly, things changed. You missed a cooking day, and everything fell apart. Maybe the summer started, and you wanted to enjoy your weekends. Maybe school started, and your weekends disappeared completely. Or maybe you just never started.
Let me tell you something: none of that matters, because I’m about to show you how to start (or restart) meal prepping and actually stick to it this time!
Skip To Recipes:
- Italian Chicken Breast
- Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs
- Chicken Taco Salad
- Egg Cups 5 Ways
- Breakfast Wraps
- Charcuterie Bentos
- Homemade Hummus
- Greek Yogurt Parfait
1. Start Simple
Whenever you start something new (and I mean anything new), you should always start simple. Never overwhelm yourself in the beginning. You can jump right in, but make sure you jump right into the simple stuff first.
Now that you have that concept down, apply it to meal prepping.
You don’t have to create intricate 7-course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner five days a week. But don’t go thinking you have to skip any of these meals either.
Ultimately, a great meal should taste good, give you the proper nutrients, and make you full. It doesn’t have to be impressive or Insta worthy (even though the recipes you’re about to see will be).
So, you’re probably wondering where to begin with all of this. The first thing you should do is create a plan.
2. Create A Plan
Hey, I get it! Life gets in the way. Don’t let this hold you back from preparing for your week. This is especially important when it comes to the food you’re going to eat.
Think about it, when you don’t plan out at least a tentative menu, you end up in the fast-food drive-thru. Right?
You end up ordering a pizza because you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer.
In the end, even if you don’t meal prep, poor food planning can lead to weight gain and falling off of your health and wellness plan. That’s why it’s important to at least try to make a plan for your meal prep.
But how do you create a good meal prep plan? Well, the first thing you need to do is schedule your cooking day.
3. Schedule Your Cooking Day
I’m going to let you in on a little secret … you don’t have to meal prep on Sundays. There, I said it. Now, most people do prep on Sundays because they want to get their lunches made for the week.
Most foods stay in the fridge for 5-7 days before they go bad. So, it’s always best to schedule your meal prep around when you’re going to need the meals the most. If you always do lunch with friends on Monday, consider scheduling your meal prep on Monday night, because you’ll need meals for Tuesday through Friday.
If your office offers free lunch on Fridays, you can do your meal prep as early as Saturday.
The point is, schedule your cooking day on a day (or night) that works best for your schedule.
Oh, and here’s another secret: you don’t always have to prep on the same day every week. Your schedule might be hectic. You don’t have to stick to a single cooking day every week.
Just look ahead to the next week, and find the best time for you to prepare your meals for the next few days.
Once you know which day you’re going to cook, the next thing you have to decide is which meals you plan on prepping for.
4. Decide Which Meals To Prep
One of the best things about meal prepping is that you don’t have to stick to a script. Some people only meal prep lunches. Others only meal prep dinners.
Here’s the thing: you can meal prep any and all meals for the entire week. You just have to decide what you need the most.
So, whether you want breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three), you simply have to get your menu ready and choose your cooking day.
Oh, and one more thing … You can meal prep snacks, too! Alright, I guess that would be called snack prep, not meal prep, but still. If you’re looking for some great snack prep ideas, click here to get started.
5. Don’t Judge Yourself
Alright, this can be where it gets tricky. The whole thing is, you don’t want to start judging yourself. If you get stumped on what to make for the week, don’t worry! You’re not alone! That’s why there are so many meal prep articles out there. Surf the Internet, or simply check out the recipes we made for you.
Don’t get upset if you miss a cooking day. If this happens, try to pick up the next day or the day after that. Meal prepping for half the week is better than not at all. However, even if you miss an entire week, there is no reason to stop meal prepping altogether.
When we judge ourselves, we often don’t try again because we don’t want to get judged again. But you know who can stop the judging? You. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and missing a meal prep cooking sesh is pretty small in the grand scheme of things.
Now that we got that covered, let’s get back to how to meal prep. The next thing you want to do is to get the right supplies.
6. Find The Right Supplies
“Oh NO! I have to buy special equipment for meal prepping?”
I mean, not really. There are some things you might want to make it easier on yourself, but you’re not going to need heavy machinery or anything.
Here are a couple of items that are helpful for meal preppers:
- Cooking utensils
- Reusable bento boxes (or lunch containers)
I’m not sure why that needed a bullet list, but the simplicity of your supplies list should show you that meal prepping isn’t as scary as you originally thought. You simply need meal prep containers and cooking items.
If you’re all about your instant pot, make sure you have it on hand for any instant pot meal prep you do (that might be a piece of heavy machinery, actually).
Once you have your supplies, it’s time to create weekly shopping lists.
7. Create Weekly Shopping Lists
If you know what you want to cook and what meals you want to prep for, simply go through your recipes and write down all of the ingredients. Then, check your pantry and fridge (to make sure you don’t buy extras), and hit the supermarket (or order).
As you plan your menus, consider using the same ingredients in different ways. For example, if you’re going to buy cilantro for your egg cups, consider making street tacos that week as well. When you plan in that much detail, you waste much less food.
8. Prepare For Slips
Again, it’s okay to slip here and there. Don’t be hard on yourself.
You’re too tired for your cooking day? No sweat! Try to cook a different day that week.
You forgot to bring your prepped lunch to work on Tuesday? No sweat! Bring the extra on Wednesday and offer it to a coworker.
You forgot a major ingredient at the grocery store? No sweat! Get creative with what you have.
You’re drawing a complete blank on what to cook for nine different meals plus snacks for an entire week? No sweat! Check out these meals that we created for you. Feel free to tweak them to your liking. Trust your cooking instincts!
Chicken Meal Prep Recipes
Chicken is an amazing meal prep ingredient. It’s healthy, it gives you tons of energy, and it reheats well.
And you don’t even have to reheat chicken (as long as it’s cooked all the way through).
For this reason, you see a lot of chicken meal prep recipes around. And it’s also the reason we created these chicken meal prep recipes for you.
There is no recipe too simple in the world of cooking. This is especially true in the world of meal prep. Don’t go thinking that you have to make intricate meals to prep for the entire week. Check out how simple this two-ingredient Italian chicken breast recipe is.
Italian Chicken Breast
- 2 Chicken Breast Cutlets
- ¼ Cup Light or Fat-Free Italian Dressing
- *Optional* Tenderize chicken cutlets (cover with plastic wrap and hammer until thin).
- Marinate chicken cutlets in Italian dressing for at least 1 hour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Place chicken breasts on a lightly greased baking sheet
- Cook for 5 minutes, and flip
- Cook for additional 5-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through
Putting a little Asian twist on your meal prep can give you a sweet and savory addition to your weekly meals. This one is a little more intricate as far as technique is concerned, but it’s worth the little extra work you have to do.
Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs
- 1 lb of chicken breast cubed
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch squares
- 1 cup sugar-free teriyaki sauce
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Marinate chicken breast and red bell pepper in sugar-free teriyaki sauce
- Alternate red bell pepper and chicken breast cubes on skewers
- Place on a baking sheet & bake 5 minutes and turn
- Bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through
To have a variety, add different vegetables for different days: steamed broccoli, roasted carrots, roasted zucchini, steamed green beans
Yes, tacos can make a great healthy meal prep. As a matter of fact, this chicken taco salad is perfect for shrinking your waistline (especially if you don’t add the cheese or sour cream).
If you’re looking for lunch meal prep ideas or healthy meal prep ideas for the week, a hearty taco salad can change the game for you.
Chicken Taco Salad
- 1 lb ground chicken breast1
- ½ tbsp taco seasoning mixture recipe below
- ½ tbsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp adobo
- ¼ tsp garlic
- ¼ tsp dried onion
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¾ cup water
- In a 10-inch skillet, cook ground chicken breast through (breaking it up as it cooks).
- Add taco seasoning mixture and water
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Keep lettuce in a separate container than the rest of the veggies you’re going to add
Heat the chicken taco mixture before adding it to your salad
Bring a homemade salsa or low-sodium salsa instead of salad dressing
Excellent Salad Add-Ons:
- Cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Green onion
- Sliced black olives
- Cucumbers (cubed)
- Red onion
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- Low-fat sour cream (just a dab)
- Jalapeno slices
Breakfast Meal Prep Recipes
Yes, you need to eat your breakfast. Don’t believe me? You need to read this.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to have the “complete breakfast” that you see on cereal commercials (seriously, have you seen those things? … toast, eggs, cereal, orange juice, milk, bacon… yikes). I’m just saying you need to eat in the morning.
If these recipes don’t do it for you, check out even more recipes to turn into breakfast meal prep here.
If you need more than muffins in the morning, check out these high-protein favorites in the LadyBoss kitchen that are sure to help you meal prep breakfast.
Egg cups are a simple way to get your protein in the morning, and they stay good in your fridge or freezer for the week. Best of all, you can do pretty much anything to an egg in a cup (muffin pan) to make it your kind of delicious.
You just start with a basic egg mixture, then add all of your favorite ingredients that you’d add to an omelet, just a little less, so you don’t overfill the muffin cup.
Here’s what you need:
Base Egg Mixture:
10 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Add-ons for each cup:
Add a pinch of mozzarella cheese, two halved cherry tomatoes, and a pinch of sliced fresh basil.
Add 3 leaves of fresh baby spinach, one button mushroom (diced), and diced red bell pepper.
Add 2 pinches of cheddar and sprinkle with green onion.
Add one pinch of mozzarella, one clove of roasted garlic, and one slice of Roma tomato. Sprinkle with oregano and parsley.
Add a little bit of everything: fresh baby spinach, a pinch of mozzarella, a pinch of cheddar, one half of a grape tomato, one half of a mushroom, and sliced fresh basil. Top with a sprinkle of oregano.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Whisk eggs and add salt and pepper
- Pour into five large greased muffin cups (about halfway to the top)
- Add your add-on ingredients
- Evenly distribute the rest of the egg mixture
- Bake for 20 minutes or until eggs are cooked through
Meal Prep Packaging Ideas:
- Wrap in wax paper or parchment paper and label with ingredients.
- These can also be frozen up to one month.
Breakfast wraps are the perfect grab and go breakfast. The best part is that they stay nicely in the freezer for about a month, so you can meal prep these weeks in advance.
For this prep meal, it’s best to make a little burrito bar with all of your favorite ingredients. Then make 12 scrambled eggs with salt and pepper (save the cheese for the ingredient build).
If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few ideas:
- Sauteed mushrooms and onions
- Sauteed baby spinach
- Sauteed bell peppers
- Grilled zucchini
- Roasted tomatoes
- Low-fat cheese
- Turkey bacon (it’s not that big of a difference in these wraps)
- Lean steak
- Taco meat (chicken taco meat is great for these)
- Roasted garlic
Basically, add anything you love in a breakfast burrito. Have each ingredient in its own dish, so you can create awesome mixtures.
Then build your breakfast wrap in a tortilla or spinach wrap. Always start with eggs, then consider these suggested mixtures:
- Sauteed mushrooms and onion, sauteed baby spinach, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella cheese
- Sauteed baby spinach, roasted garlic, roasted tomato, turkey bacon
- Lean steak, cheddar, grilled zucchini
- Taco meat, bell peppers, low-fat cheddar
Remember, don’t overfill the tortillas or wraps. They can break, making a messy prep meal (but it’ll still be delicious).
Meal Prep Packaging Ideas:
- Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate or freeze
Healthy Snack Prep Recipes
You don’t just have to prep your meals. You can also prep your snacks.
As a matter of fact, snacks are one of the most important things you can prep. Why? Well, prepping snacks is a great way to control your portions. It stops you from taking down entire bags of pretzels and chips.
It also makes it easier for you to be healthy. We always grab for greasy, crunch snacks because they’re easy and convenient.
Prepping your healthy snacks makes them easy and convenient as well. It’s perfect.
Alright, we made some awesome snack prep ideas for you, but if that’s not enough, check out these healthy snacks that you can prep for yourself and your crew.
And if you’re looking to meal prep for weight loss, here are some snacks that can help you shrink your waistline.
Let’s face it… these are adult Lunchables, and they’re freakin’ delicious. They give an adult feel to your childhood favorite without all of the preservatives.
The trick is to get meats that are nitrate-free and lower in sodium. You can also find low or no-fat cheeses that will reduce the amount of bad you’re putting into your body. And if you’re avoiding cheeses, you can still make these with vegan cheese substitutes.
These don’t have to be snacks either. You can create charcuterie bentos to help you lunch meal prep for the week.
The best part about this prep recipe is that it’s not a recipe at all. You simply pick your favorite meats and low-fat cheeses, add some crackers (they can be gluten-free), and mix and match to your preference.
Hint: You can turn these into low-carb meal prep meals by removing the crackers and staying away from high-carb fruits.
Here are some suggested pairings:
- Turkey and swiss with honey mustard
- Chicken and cheddar with low-fat chipotle mayo
- Smoked turkey and provolone with spicy brown mustard
- Low-sodium ham and Havarti with yellow mustard
- Low-sodium ham and mozzarella with roasted garlic hummus
Don’t forget to add your sides: green grapes, carrot sticks, celery sticks, black olives, baby pickles, dried apricots, dried mangos, or strawberries.
Basically, take any fruit or vegetable that you love to eat raw, and put it in your bento.
Meal Prep Packaging Ideas:
- Always make sure to separate the food by what it is: crackers, meats, cheeses, veggies, and fruits should all be separated until you’re ready to eat.
There are a lot of great vegan meal prep ideas out there, and hummus is an important one. If you’re interested in vegetarian meal prep, check out this article.
If you’ve been meaning to try hummus but aren’t sure about it, just remember: it’s bean dip. It’s that simple. And the best part about hummus is that you can give it pretty much any flavor you want.
Heck, there are even dessert hummuses on the market now. So, go wild and, of course, if you’re making dessert hummus, don’t add garlic!
Check out this quick hummus recipe:
Veggies and Homemade Hummus
- 15 oz can of chickpeas garbanzo beans
- 2-4 tbsp reserved juice from the can
- ¼ cup of tahini
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic about one tablespoon … can be roasted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor, add tahini, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Puree until smooth (about 3 minutes).
- Scrape down sides, add chickpeas (drained).
- Puree for 3 minutes, slowly adding 1-2 tablespoons of chickpea juice.
- Scrape down sides of blender and puree until smooth.
Roasted red peppers, Paprika, Roasted garlic, Spinach and artichoke, Lemon juice, Toasted pine nuts, Ground cumin, Chipotle seasoning Meal Prep Packaging Ideas:
Package the hummus separately from the rest of the vegetables, so they don’t get soggy.They can be in completely separate containers or in reusable bento boxes.
Veggies that are great dipped in hummus:
- Sweet peppers
Meal Prep Packaging Ideas:
- Package the hummus separately from the rest of the vegetables, so they don’t get soggy.
- They can be in completely separate containers or in reusable bento boxes.
If you’re looking for a sweet snack that gives you energy, greek yogurt is the way to go. It has a tangy taste to it, and if you’re not used to eating yogurt that isn’t 90% sugar, it can take a little getting used to. However, it’s what you add to greek yogurt that changes the game.
I made a simple parfait recipe that adds so much sweetness to your day.
For each parfait:
Greek Yogurt Parfaits
- 1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 cup your favorite red berry diced
- ¼ tsp corn starch optional
- ¼ tsp your favorite dry sweetener optional
- ½ cup granola optional
- In a small bowl, mix chopped fruit, corn starch, and sweetener
- Place water-tight/air-tight seal on the container and shake (you want to break up the fruit, so the juices come out)
- Let rest in the fridge for 4 hours, shaking it every hour or so
- In a cup, add a spoonful of greek yogurt, top with a spoonful of the fruit mixture, and a sprinkle of granola
- Continue layering until all ingredients are gone, or until the cup is full
Superfruits to make fruit mixture out of:
- Cherries (pitted)
You can also add other whole, healthy fruits. If you don’t know which fruits are best for you, take a look at this article.
More Healthy Meal Prep Ideas
Meal prep is great because the ideas are endless. You can meal prep for yourself or your entire family. You can meal prep for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks… or all four!
And there are tons of healthy meal prep recipes out there.
There are no limits, and there are no rules. Just make sure to take it easy on yourself. Prepare by making lists, scheduling a cooking day, deciding which meals you want to prep, and getting the right supplies.
Most of all, have fun with this. It’s meal prep, ladies! It’s not surgery.
For more easy meal prep ideas, check out these healthy pasta recipes.
And, as always, enjoy yourself.