5 Beginner Tips for Easy Meal Prep

I started meal prepping two years ago and it has literally changed my life for the better. Before meal prep, I opted for the fastest and easiest meal I could throw together. Once I started going to the gym consistently, I knew I needed to find a better way to nourish my body and create healthier eating habits.

Meal prepping 101: Beginner tips for easy meal prep

There are a lot of misconceptions about meal prep but I’m here to tell you that it will only make your life easier by saving you time, money and stress! When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing but after two years of consistency I’d like to consider myself a meal prepping machine. So here’s the low down on meal prepping 101 with my favorite easy meal prep tips.

  • Keep it simple

It’s easy to get burnt out when you’re just starting out meal prep. To avoid this, stick to food you know how to make. I don’t love to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, so simplicity in my meals is my best friend. Since I meal prep both my lunch and dinner, I make sure to first choose what protein I want for each meal. Then I pick two vegetables or starches for each meal to complement my protein source.

Remember, it’s all about creating healthier eating habits so don’t overcomplicate. There are so many ways to make your simple meal delicious, so stick what you know when you’re starting out!

  • Find what works for you

How you meal prep will be based on your lifestyle, goals and preferences. Play around with what day you make your meals, how many meals you make per week, and how you choose to assemble them.

Do you prefer to make half your meals on Sunday and then make the rest on Wednesday? Or do you want to hash them all out on Sunday? Find out what works best for you so it’s easier for you to stick to your plan. Are you going to start out by making ALL your meals or only lunch and dinner? Will you have a set menu or will you assemble your meals with varying foods before eating? There are so many ways to customize meal prep to fit your life, you just have to experiment.

  • Plan ahead

Okay, so you’ve probably heard this a thousand times but planning ahead is crucial for meal prep success. Having no action plan will make grocery shopping stressful and last longer than it should. I find that I am more motivated when I do my planning on Saturdays and my cooking on Sundays. That splits up the work that I have to do and it doesn’t feel like such a chore on a day that I just want to relax. I find that using my phone for a grocery list allows me to instantly mark things off and I won’t have to worry about ever forgetting my list. Grocery list tip: list your items based on where they are physically located in the store – that way as your making your way everything you need will be at arm’s reach!

Meal prepping 101: Plan ahead for easy meal prep

  • Stay flexible & motivated

Meal prep on some weeks is going to be easier than others. Since I work a 9-5, I meal prep during the weekend. But some weekends are so eventful that it’s hard for me to find the time to get it done. If this happens, I’ll dedicate my Monday night to grocery shopping and meal prep. It’s not my favorite way to do it but I stay motivated in knowing that it’ll save me so much time, money and stress during the week. Don’t stress out and throw in the towel if your life gets in the way. Be flexible and move things around to fit your meal prep around your life!

  • Make clean up easy

If you’re like me and you hate the cleaning part of cooking, you’re going to want to get your hands on aluminum foil and parchment paper. A lot of your meals will be made in the oven, so lining your trays with first aluminum paper and then a sheet of parchment paper will cut down your cleaning time immensely. Some people like to just use aluminum foil but according to a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science, the aluminum can leech onto your food depending on different factors. To avoid the increased health risk, I counter this by putting a sheet of parchment paper on top.

Once you start meal prepping consistently, you will realize that the time and effort are truly worth the benefits to help you create healthier eating habits.

Now that you know my favorite easy meal prep tips, what are some of yours?

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24 Comments

  1. August 11, 2017 / 9:25 AM

    I love the idea of using your phone for a grocery list. Do you have a favorite app for that?

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:53 AM

      Angie, I just use the Note app on my iPhone but I actually never looked into an app made for grocery lists. That’s a great idea!

  2. August 11, 2017 / 9:38 AM

    I have gotten more interested in meal prepping but didn’t really know what the easiest way was to get started. Your tips are great! What’s your favorite meal to plan? Protein, veggies, etc?

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:51 AM

      Nicole, thank you so much! My go-to meals are usually pretty basic unless I’m feeling adventurous! I love to make chicken breast on the stovetop, bake the entire sweet potato in the oven, and make brussel sprouts on the stovetop. I also love ground turkey with cauliflower rice (already chopped and packaged ;)) and asparagus! I try to choose a protein (chicken, turkey, fish) for each meal and then figure out what veggies/grain (broccoli, cauliflower,asparagus, kale salad, spinach salad, avocado, sweet potato, etc.) will go with them. The possibilities are endless!

  3. August 11, 2017 / 10:19 AM

    I’ve been telling myself I REALLY need to start meal planning more effectively for our family. These are great tips, hopefully I can get my act together!

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:46 AM

      Marie, You got this! Just take it one step at a time and remember simple is the way to go!

  4. August 11, 2017 / 10:30 AM

    These are some great tips! I try to plan as much as I can, but I tend to over-complicate it, so it’s almost as stressful as not planning ahead 🙂 I definitely need to try to these tips to simplify the process – thanks for sharing!

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:44 AM

      Kiersten, thank you so much! Simplifying things just makes it so much more doable! That’s what has gotten me through 2 years of meal prep lol. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. August 11, 2017 / 10:37 AM

    Meal prep leads me to make much better food choice options. If I don’t prep food on the weekends, I end up staring in the fridge with no idea what to pull together. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:42 AM

      Thank you Aimee! I totally agree. So much more convenient & efficient!

  6. August 11, 2017 / 10:47 AM

    Eek, I didn’t know that about aluminum foil! Foil is totally my go-to, so maybe I’ll rethink that! Nice motivation for meal prepping. 🙂

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:41 AM

      Tara, neither did i! I found out a few months ago but it’s so helpful for clean up so I just decided to just add the parchment paper to avoid chemical contact 😉 Thank you so much!

  7. August 11, 2017 / 12:14 PM

    You are so right about planning ahead and making a list! My budget and dinners just seem shot when I don’t write down what I need to buy based on what I want to prep that week.

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:39 AM

      Natalie, yes!! I NEED a list or else I’m all over the place. So glad we can agree!

  8. August 11, 2017 / 1:49 PM

    Meal prepping seems like such a smart thing to do. I’ve been intending to start but haven’t made the time to plan ahead…thanks for the tips!

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:37 AM

      Chantel, I find it so helpful to start simple and work you way from there! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Cerin
    August 11, 2017 / 2:37 PM

    Love this! I am still trying to figure out what works best for me. This helps get my butt back in gear! Lol! Thanks for the great information and motivation!

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:34 AM

      Cerin, Thank you so much! Lol, sometimes we all need a little motivation to get us back on track! So glad it was helpful!

  10. August 12, 2017 / 12:21 AM

    I loved doing meal-prep as a full-time student! Do you have any fav/go-to recipes?

    • Angela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:33 AM

      Kudos to you for meal prepping as a student, Lauren! I like to keep it simple, so I usually start with a protein (chicken, ground turkey, fish) and if I want to mix it up I’ll Google a simple recipe to flavor these. Then I pick two veggies usually and do the same for those. One of my go-to meals is grilled chicken breast, baked sweet potato and steamed then grilled Brussel sprouts! So good & simple! You can follow me on IG where I’ll be posting my meal prep meals!

  11. August 12, 2017 / 12:26 AM

    Thank you for this post! I always want to meal prep because I know it’s a surefire way to succeed at being healthier but it always seems like it would be 1) too overwhelming
    2) too time consuming

    This helps me to see that’s its very possible! I’ll have to try it out.

    • SereneAngela
      August 13, 2017 / 10:19 AM

      Yes! That’s what I thought before I started doing it too! I’m so glad it was helpful for you!

  12. August 26, 2017 / 2:43 AM

    Good tips! Now that my children are in college, I feel I can spend more time on prepping healthy meals for myself. I do tend to stick to the same meals over and over though so I need to branch out a little bit more.

    • Angela
      August 28, 2017 / 1:53 PM

      Thank you Janet! Yes, giving yourself some variety is sooo necessary. Even switching out at least one thing per meal each week makes a huge difference.

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