Healthy Meal Prep for the Week: This isn’t the same dish in Tupperware kind of meal prep. This is a wholesome, diverse kind of meal prep that you’re going to be excited about eating! And it’s easier than you think. Here’s how I plan out a week of healthy meals and snacks so that I’m not stressing about what to make last minute (or making a bunch of trips to the grocery store).
Healthy Meal Prep for the Week
We’ve all seen those beautifully organized meal preps with Tupperware lined up on the counter with perfect portions of rice, chicken, and some kind of veggie. And while I know that works for some people, it didn’t work for me (or my family).
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy diversity in your meals, and serving your own portions.
Some days you’re hungrier than others. Some times you want more meat. And some days you want more veggies. And MOST days you probably don’t enjoy reheating a meal that was made 6 days ago.
I break my meal planning down into 3 steps:
Step 1: Planning
In our house I typically only plan dinners & snacks.
I don’t plan lunch or breakfast because lunch is almost always leftovers and breakfast is almost always some kind of egg (scrambled, egg sandwich, omelette) with a smoothie or fruit.
Planning Dinners for your Week
My two biggest tips for planning dinners is:
#1. Have a master list on your phone of dinners to choose from.
#2. Switch up not only the protein source, but more importably the cuisine type.
Let’s dive into those each a little more…
Tip #1 Creating a Master Dinner List
I find it helpful to break down your list into two categories Warm Weather Dinners and Cool Weather Dinners. Breaking your list down into two categories like this helps you to both eat seasonally but also to make sure that you’re not serving up a bunch of hot crockpot meals in the middle of summer.
Tip #2 Switch Up the Protein Source & Cuisine Type
When planning healthy meal prep for the week I like to add lots of variety. Not just by switching up the protein (beef, turkey, chicken, fish, etc), but also in the cuisine department (Mexican, Italian, American, Asian, etc.).
I find that switching up the cuisine has more of an impact than just switching up the protein. So even if I eat beef 5 days a week, as long as I switch up the cuisine then I don’t get bored.
Now you’re ready to plan your week!
Using your list of dinners, pick out 5-7 dinners that you want to have for that week (and any sides you want to pair with them). Remember to switch up protein sources and cuisine type.
I find it helpful to write down my dinner plans in my planner, but write them down where ever you think will be most helpful.
A typical week of dinners for us looks like this:
Monday – Bison Burgers (side: salad)
Tuesday – Egg Roll in a Bowl (serve over 1/2 cauli rice & 1/2 white rice)
Wednesday – Chicken Tetrazzini
Thursday – Fish Sticks with tarter sauce (side: carrots & crispy potatoes)
Friday – Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake (side: green beans)
Saturday – Sloppy Joes (side: crispy brussels sprout)
Sunday – Spicy Thai Soup
Tip: I always like to include a soup (or salad) at the end of the week because it’s a great way to use up all your wilted vegetables!
Planning Snacks for your Week
In addition to having fresh fruit or beef sticks on hand, having homemade snacks in the fridge, is a new addition to my weekly meal prep and I have been loving it!
So often when we grab snacks we want something fast with no clean up. This usually means it comes in a bag, box, or package. But if we’re trying to focus on nourishing foods or saving money, those kinds of snacks don’t come in a bag.
Each week I pick three snacks to make:
- one protein snack
- one veggie snack
- and one sweet snack
That way, no matter what your craving (or need) is, it will be met with a healthy homemade option that is ready to eat!
Here are some of my favorite snacks to make in each category:
Protein (choose one to make)
Salt & Pepper Chicken Strips
Veggie (choose one to make)
Carrots/Cukes/Peppers with Hummus
Three Bean Salad
Pickled Cucumber & Onion Salad
Sweet (choose one to make)
Peanut Butter Date Balls
Baked Good (cookies, bread, muffin, etc)
Step 2: Shopping
After I’ve planned out my dinners & snacks I start making a list of all the food I need to get to make those dinners, sides, and snacks.
Meal by meal I jot down the ingredients I will need in my grocery list app.
I have several different lists in my grocery list app, that way I have a separate list for the farmers market, my local farmer, and the grocery store.
I try to get as much as I can from my local farmer & farmers market first. Whatever I can’t get from them I will get at my grocery store.
Step 3: Making
The final step of this meal plan prep is making (some of) the food.
The first thing I make is the snacks. I make sure they are fully made, so that you can just grab them and go.
Once the snacks are done I start on the dinners. With the dinners I don’t recommend making everything because food always tastes better when it’s made fresh. Just do something that will help save you time on the weeknights. For me this looks like…
chopping the vegetables
marinating the meat
making the sauces/dressings/spice mixes
making the rice/quinoa
Final Tips On Healthy Meal Prep for the Week
I know this might be old-fashioned of me, but I like to keep all my recipes printed out in a binder. I tried the digital thing, but I hated having to touch my phone with cookie batter fingers, or worse… raw meat fingers, every time the screen dimmed or I needed to see more of the recipe.
All you need is a three ring binder, plastic dividers, and some page protecters and voila!
Let Me Know In The Comments…
How do you store all your recipes? What are some things you do during the week to make meal times /meal prep easier? What are some of your favorites meals/snacks during the week?
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