A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep

Are you looking to get that tummy down a couple of inches for beach season? We understand how daunting the task is. If you’re looking for an easy way to eat healthier, then this beginner’s meal prep guide is perfect for you!

So, you get all excited about your new gym membership and your well-planned HIIT routine. You chose HIIT because you heard that it torches calories, but nobody ever tells you that it tends to spike hunger.

Being busy, you’ve made a habit of grabbing the nearest candy bar near you. Meal prepping and eating healthy, which is the pillar of any weight loss or performance goal, seems impossible for now.

Or is it?

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If you want to start meal prepping, your first question would be, “How to meal prep easily,” and let me tell you, prepping meals does not have to be rocket science. In fact, by the end of this article, you will be meal-prepping like a pro in no time!

What are the Benefits of Doing Meal Prep?

Meal prep, a popular trend in the culinary world, involves preparing individually portioned meals of prepared foods to be enjoyed throughout the week.

Beyond just being a convenient approach to managing your meals, meal prep offers numerous benefits that contribute to a well-balanced and organized lifestyle.

In this section, we’ll discover the delightful advantages of meal prep, exploring how it enhances time management, promotes healthier food choices, and provides a deeper understanding of what we consume.

Meal Prep Benefits: Time Management

One of the key advantages of meal prep is its ability to save money and precious time. By investing a couple of hours on a designated day to prepare meals for the upcoming week, you can reclaim valuable hours throughout your busy schedule.

Imagine coming home after a long day, tired and hungry, only to find a wholesome, home-cooked meal waiting for you in the fridge. With meal prep, this becomes a reality.

For instance, let’s say you decide to meal prep on a Sunday evening. You can portion out ingredients, marinate proteins, chop vegetables, and even pre-cook certain components and just simply place them in individual meal prep containers.

During your meal time, all you need to do is assemble and reheat the meals, significantly reducing your time spent in the kitchen.

This newfound efficiency allows you to focus on other activities you enjoy, whether it’s spending quality time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or simply relaxing.

Meal Prep Benefits: Healthier Food Choices

Meal prep empowers you to make healthier food choices effortlessly. Preparing your meals in advance gives you control over the ingredients used and the portion sizes, thereby supporting a balanced diet.

When you have pre-prepared meals readily available, it becomes easier to resist the temptation of ordering takeout or indulging in unhealthy snacks.

Consider the scenario of having a meal-prepped salad waiting for you in the fridge. It contains a colorful array of fresh vegetables, lean protein, and a homemade vinaigrette.

As a result, you’re more likely to opt for this nutritious option rather than reaching for processed, calorie-laden alternatives. Meal prep helps foster a positive relationship with food and promotes conscious eating habits.

Meal Prep Benefits: More Knowledge of What You Eat

Another noteworthy benefit of meal prep is gaining a deeper understanding of the nutritional value of the food you consume.

As you carefully select ingredients and prepare your meals, you become more aware of the specific components that make up each dish.

This knowledge allows you to tailor your meals to meet your dietary goals, whether it’s increasing your vegetable intake, reducing sodium, or incorporating more whole grains.

For instance, let’s say you decide to prepare roasted vegetables as part of your meal prep. As you season and cook the vegetables, you can experiment with various herbs, spices, and cooking techniques to enhance both flavor and nutrition.

Through this process, you not only become more knowledgeable about preparing vegetables, but you also develop a repertoire of delicious recipes that align with your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Meal Prep for Beginners: How to Create Quick and Healthy Meals for a Whole Week

Weekly meal prep is a fantastic way to streamline your cooking process, save time, and ensure you have nourishing meals readily available throughout the week. Yes, a week. Not a month. Why? Because it is more manageable and prevents food waste.

If you’re new to meal prep, fear not! In this guide, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step approach to help you create quick and healthy meals for a whole week.

From making a list of your favorite nutritious foods to packaging and storing your prepped meals, you’ll soon become a meal prep pro.

Step One: Make a List of the Healthy Stuff You Love to Eat

Begin your meal prep journey by creating a list of the healthy foods that you genuinely enjoy eating. Consider your favorite vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.

This step ensures that you’re excited about the meals you’ll be preparing, making it easier for you to stick to a meal plan throughout the week. By incorporating foods you love when cooking meals, you’ll be more likely to enjoy the process and look forward to your meals.

For example, if you love roasted chicken, quinoa, broccoli, root vegetables, and avocados, you can incorporate these ingredients into your meal prep plan.

Brainstorm various recipes and combinations that include these favorite items to keep your meals interesting and satisfying.

Step Two: Schedule an Entire Day or Two of Meal Prep

Allocate a specific day or two in your weekly schedule dedicated solely to meal prep. This helps you focus on the task at hand without interruptions.

I highly suggest setting aside enough time to plan, shop, cook, and package your meals effectively. Depending on availability, you can choose to dedicate a full day to meal prep or divide it into shorter sessions.

By devoting designated time to meal prep, you create a weekly routine that becomes second nature, making the process more efficient and enjoyable as you become more experienced.

Step Three: Shop and Keep It Simple

Before starting your meal prep, make a comprehensive grocery list based on the healthy foods you’ve selected. Aim for simplicity and versatility when choosing ingredients to ensure they can be used in multiple meals throughout the week.

The key to making grocery shopping easier is to find the area in the store where fresh produce, lean proteins, and whole grains are typically found.

When shopping, consider pre-cut vegetables, frozen fruits, and convenience items like pre-cooked grains or beans, as they can significantly reduce prep time.

Additionally, ensure you have appropriate storage containers or portioned meal prep containers available to keep your meals fresh and organized.

Step Four: Cook

Once you have your ingredients ready, start cooking your meals. Utilize time-saving cooking methods such as batch cooking, where you prepare larger quantities of certain foods that can be used in multiple recipes.

For instance, you can cook grilled chicken breasts to use in salads, wraps, or stir-fries throughout the week.

Maximize your cooking efficiency by multitasking. While a protein source is baking in the oven, you can simultaneously sauté vegetables on the stovetop.

This way, you optimize your time in the kitchen while creating a variety of flavors and textures.

Final Step: Package Sensibly and Store

After cooking, it’s important to package your prepped meals properly to maintain freshness and ensure easy access throughout the week.

Portion your meals into individual containers, considering appropriate portion sizes and the desired components for each meal.

You can easily label the containers with the recipe or contents and the date to track freshness.

Consider the specific storage needs of each ingredient. For example, keep salad greens separate from dressings until ready to serve, or store cooked grains separately from moist ingredients to maintain their texture.

Utilize airtight containers or meal prep containers that are microwave and freezer-safe to extend the shelf life of your meals.

Meal Prepping 101: Best Tips for Meal Prep Beginners

Meal prepping is a valuable practice that allows you to stay organized, save time, and make healthier choices throughout the week.

If you’re new to meal prepping, it’s helpful to have a set of tips and guidelines to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience.

In this section, we’ll share the best tips for you to prep meals like a pro. Although there are different approaches, and you may follow a different meal plan meal prep method, these tips will still be of great help!

Overhead View Of Woman making meal prep

Plan Your Meals

I’ll say it again: you have to plan your meals for the week. Consider your dietary goals, preferences, and any special dietary requirements.

Create a menu that includes a balance of proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Having a clear plan in place will streamline your grocery shopping and prep process.

Start with Simple Recipes

As a beginner, it’s best to start with simple and familiar recipes. Choose meals that are easy to prepare, require minimal ingredients, and can be batch cooked. Gradually expand your recipe repertoire as you gain confidence and experience.

Invest in Quality Containers

Invest in good quality meal prep containers that are sturdy, leak-proof, and microwave and freezer-safe. Having the right containers will ensure your meals stay fresh and are easy to transport. Consider portion-sized containers to help with portion control. One of my favorite meal prep containers is glass containers to see if your prepped meal is still good clearly.

Shop with a Grocery List

Always shop with a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases and ensure you have all the necessary ingredients for your planned meals. This will save time and help you stay on track with your meal prep goals. If you want a high-quality grocery list, download one of my free grocery list.

Prep in Batches

Batch cooking is a time-saving technique that involves preparing larger quantities of certain ingredients or recipes. For example, cook a batch of grains, roast a tray of vegetables, or grill multiple chicken breasts at once. This way, you’ll have pre-prepared components ready to assemble into various meals throughout the week.

Utilize Time-Saving Tools and Techniques

Take advantage of time-saving tools and techniques to streamline your meal prep process. Use kitchen appliances like a slow cooker, cookers or Instant Pots for hands-off cooking. Consider using pre-cut or pre-washed ingredients to minimize prep time.

Label and Date Your Meals

Labeling and dating your meals is essential for organization and food safety. Use labels or masking tape to mark each food storage container along with the contents and date of preparation. This will help you identify meals easily and ensure you consume them within a safe timeframe.

Best and Easiest Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners

In terms of meal planning, having an idea of delicious recipes is key to staying motivated and enjoying your meals throughout the week.

Here are three simple yet best meal prep recipes that you can prepare in advance:

Greek Chicken with Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables

Chickpea Salad With Lemon-Tahini Dressing.

This Mediterranean-inspired meal is packed with flavor and nutrients. Start by marinating chicken breasts with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and Greek seasoning. Cook the chicken by grilling or baking. Check out my blog post about how long to bake chicken breast at 350, 375, and 400. If you are looking for a more low calories option here, you can have a look at my how to poach chicken breast

Prepare a batch of quinoa according to package instructions. For the roasted vegetables, toss a mix of bell peppers, zucchini, and red onions with olive oil, pepper, and salt, and roast until tender.

Divide the cooked chicken, quinoa, and roasted vegetables into separate meal prep containers. You can also add a side of hummus and cucumber slices for extra freshness and taste.

Salmon with Rice and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Salmon With Rice And Stir-Fried Vegetables

This delicious meal combines the goodness of salmon, rice, and colorful vegetables. Marinate salmon fillets in a homemade sauce or store-bought marinade. Pan-sear or bake the salmon until it’s cooked to your liking.

Prepare a batch of rice according to package instructions. For the stir-fried vegetables, sauté a mix of broccoli florets, and any other vegetables in a wok or skillet with sesame oil and soy sauce.

Divide the cooked salmon, rice, and stir-fried vegetables into individual meal prep containers. Sprinkle sesame seeds or green onions on top for garnish. For safety tips check out my guide on how long does salmon last in the fridge.

Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Chickpea Salad With Lemon-Tahini Dressing.

For a vegetarian and protein-packed option, try a chickpea salad with a tangy lemon-tahini dressing. In a large bowl, combine cooked chickpeas, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, chopped red onions, eggs, and chopped fresh parsley.

In another bowl, whisk lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper together to create the dressing. Pour the dressing and toss well to combine the salad.

Divide the chickpea salad into individual meal prep containers. You can also consider serving it over a bed of mixed greens or enjoy it as a standalone dish.

These recipes offer a balance of protein, whole grains, and vegetables, ensuring you have a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Feel free to customize these meal prep ideas by adding your favorite herbs, spices, or additional ingredients to suit your taste preferences. With these easy and delicious meal prep recipes, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy a week’s worth of flavorful and convenient meals. For a variation, check out my Air-Fried Lemony Falafel Recipe.


Meal prepping is an achievable and fun task that can transform your eating habits and save you time. By investing some hours upfront, you’ll enjoy ready-to-go, delicious meals throughout the week, leading to smarter food choices. Start simple, get creative with your favorite foods, and remember: it’s all about making progress towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Cheers to your meal prepping journey!

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