Meal prep can be a huge time and sanity saver in the kitchen. Just a little time spent planning and prepping ahead can make the rest of your week much easier as far as meals go. 

Where to Start with Meal Prep

So where to start with meal prep? It doesn’t have to look at the fancy pictures of every meal prepped and in containers for an entire week. If you want to go that route, awesome, but you can keep it simple and still have it help you and your family. 

I recommend starting small. One of the easiest things we do is cook meat/protein ahead of time. Ground beef, shredded chicken, burgers, whatever we need for the next several days. Meal prep can be a huge time and sanity saver in the kitchen. Just a little time spent planning and prepping ahead can make the rest of your week much easier as far as meals go. 

Another fairly easy place to start is making a double batch of something. This goes along with freezer cooking, but I think it counts as prep too! You can stick the extras in the freezer to save or in the fridge for lunches, etc.

More Meal Prep Ideas

Start by looking at your meal plan and see what can be done in advance for meals and snacks.

Another helpful thing to do is to use time-saving tools to help you meal prep! 

I love using my slow cooker and instant pot for things like pre-cooking meat, prepping some veggies quickly, and throwing dinner together in the morning to cook all day or in the instant pot later to get it done fast.

intro to meal prep

Breakfast prep:

  • Muffins
  • Oatmeal
  • Egg cups
  • Breakfast casserole

Lunch prep:

  • Salad
  • Sandwiches

Snack prep:

  • Veggie bags
  • Serving size of crackers
  • Fruit cups

Dinners:

  • Sheet pan meals
  • Crock pot meals
  • Shredded chicken
  • Ground beef

Another great way is to make extra or double batches.

Keep in mind that some food items will work better than others to prepare ahead of time.  

Here are some things that meal prep well: 

  • cooked grains & pasta
  • cooked beans
  • cooked meat
  • roasted vegetables
  • hearty fresh vegetables (think celery, carrots, peas, bell peppers, kale, cabbage, radishes, etc.)
  • whole fruit (apples, oranges, stone fruit)
  • nuts & seeds

Here are some frequently asked questions around meal prep and the best answers I’ve found for them.

How long is meal prepped food safe to eat?

Up to a week but best for 3-4 days.

How can I add variety to my meal prep?

Check out sheet pan meals for an easy way to add variety. You can cook chicken for the week with a different seasoning for each day.

What containers should I use to meal prep?

Square or rectangle containers that are microwave and freezer safe.

To recap, start small with meal prep and build up from there. You can start with something like making meat ahead of time or portion out snacks.

I hope you’ve found this introduction to meal prep helpful!

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