Healthy Meal Prep Tips

Make the Time

For meal prep to work, you have to actually find time to cook! Sunday works the best for most people for obvious reasons—it’s closest to Monday to keep your food fresh throughout the week, and it’s a weekend so you have time off. Even if you don’t have much time on Sunday (you’ll need 2-3 hours), just getting the shopping out of the way or getting the prep out of the way will still save you time during the week. But if you don’t happen to have time on the weekend, make Monday night your shopping and/or prep night. You can also split up your meal prep into a Sunday night and Wednesday night cooking fest. Fun fact: Shopping on Wednesday is the least busy. 

Plan Out Your Week

You have to do more than plan what you’re going to eat for the week; it’s also important to plan when you’ll eat your healthy meals. Do you need breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day or is there an office meeting with a team lunch on Monday? Are you going on a business trip on Thursday? Are your parents coming to visit? Maybe you planned to meet up with a friend one night. Make sure to factor in exactly how many days you need to be prepping for.

Double Your Recipes

If you want to make full recipes to eat throughout the week, go through your cookbooks and pick recipes that make large batches or choose ones that you can double. Even if a recipe is intended for one person or one night, just doubling or tripling it will allow you to cook it once and eat for a week. Before you head to the store, do the calculations first. Usually the rule of thumb is to double big items like fats, proteins, and produce, but adjust smaller items like spices and seasonings to taste. And when it comes to cooking, it usually won’t be double the time. Check the recipe for doneness at the time called for in the recipe, and if it’s not ready, check again in roughly five minute increments.

Find Ingredient Overlaps

When picking recipes for meal prep, try grouping them by overlapping ingredients. If you need to make rice one night for a chicken curry dish, you can use it later in the week for fried rice. Spinach can be used in a salad or in the filling of lasagna roll ups. Have a hankering for making quinoa? Make a couple of these 15 Delicious Ideas For Leftover Quinoa.


If you’re preparing individual meals for lunch or dinner just keep in mind the rule of threes: one protein, one starchy carb, and one fresh produce. While the portion sizes of each will differ based on your nutritional needs, it’s important to get all three in there along with some fat. The perfect fuel combination of protein, fat, and carbs provides you with long-lasting energy and prevents spikes in blood sugar! Make a Buddha bowl like the one you see above with these tips for How to Make a Buddha Bowl for Weight Loss

Make Your List

Once you know how many meals you’re making and what you’re making, use your recipes to write a detailed shopping list with specific numbers, weights, and measurements. Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN explains, “Making a list will help you avoid unhealthy impulse buys, and knowing what you're cooking in advance will prevent you from ordering sodium- and calorie-filled take-out fare or bingeing on whatever's in the pantry when dinnertime rolls around.” Keep in mind to look through your pantry and fridge before heading out the door to see if you already have some things you need.



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