Meal-prepping Tips to Stay on Track and Eat Healthy

Meal prep bowls with grapes, carrots, whole grain rice and other foods

If you’re new to meal prepping, you may feel overwhelmed or not know where to start. Meal prepping is a great way to stay on track and meet your nutritional needs, even when your schedule is busy. Spending some extra time on the weekends or evenings to meal prep can make the week ahead a lot easier.

There is not a set definition of meal prepping or best way to go about it. It can mean a variety of things such as preparing meals ahead, pre-chopping ingredients, or preparing grab-and-go meals. Meal prepping can be whatever you want it to be and whatever best meets your needs.

Types of Meal Prep

One easy way to meal prep is to make grab-and-go meals for a busy day. This can be as simple as hard-boiling eggs and chopping up fresh fruit for a morning meal. Other times, you can make meals ahead of time to eat for lunch to avoid the cafeteria or fast food restaurants. Planning ahead can help you make healthier decisions because you have a nutritious go-to option when you’re crunched for time.

Many recipes for individual servings are available to make in advance and serve to your family all week. You can also turn your leftover evening meals into tomorrow’s lunch, or freeze it to eat sometime later. Just make larger portions at dinnertime that you can easily store away. Making a pot of chili? Serve the leftovers to your kids for lunch tomorrow. Freeze a couple servings for a future night when their extra-curricular activities will make it hard to prepare dinner.

Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowls

Source: SkinnyTaste.com


  • Three 8-oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup park skim cheddar cheese, or dairy-free cheddar
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions


Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until they have caramelized slightly, about five minutes.

Add black beans, paprika, cumin and salt. Stir to combine and heat through, three to four minutes.

While the beans cook, heat a large skillet over high heat. When hot, spray with oil and add the chicken. Cook until browned and cooked through in the center, about five minutes, flipping so it cooks on each side. Set aside in a medium bowl and top with hot sauce.

Pour 3/4 cup rice into each serving bowl. Top each with 1/4 cup beans and cheese. Divide the chicken over the bowls. *If eating right away, you can also melt the cheese by putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Top with scallions.

Refrigerate up to four days. To reheat, microwave about three minutes or until heated through.

Do Some Prep Work

Sometimes, the hardest part about cooking is all the prep work involved. Eliminate that step by knocking it out early in the week to make cooking a breeze.

  • Chop fresh fruit and put it in individual containers for the next week’s lunches.
  • Having Brussels sprouts as a side dish this week? Pre-chop them on the weekend when you have more time so your dinner is quicker to make during the week.
  • Do you want to make chicken fajitas this week? Spend a few minutes chopping peppers and onions ahead of time.
  • Is lasagna on your menu? It’s almost as easy to make two instead of one. You can freeze one of them for a quick and easy meal in the future.

Meal-prepping Tips and Tricks

  • Decide what you need and take inventory. Do you need quick breakfasts for busy mornings before work? Are you looking for meals for busy evenings? Are lunches hard to plan for during the week?
  • Look for inspiration. You can find tons of recipes and meal ideas online. Collect a few and get started!
  • Decide what supplies you need. Do you need small lunch containers, reusable baggies, or larger containers to keep full meals?
  • Shop and prep. Head to the grocery store and get what you need for the week(s) ahead.

Remember, doing a little work ahead of time can make the rest of the week a lot easier, especially when you’re exhausted or short on time. Do yourself a favor and see how you can incorporate some meal-prepping strategies the next time you’re ready to go shopping for food.


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