This post shows you how to prepare all the food you need to get healthy dinners on the table in minutes. Meal planning and wise food storage are critical for preparing your meals. We will show you some tips and tricks using simple meal-prep bags to stay organized throughout the week and speed up your dinner preparation time.
Do you ever wish you could open your fridge and have endless healthy food options readily chopped and prepared to choose from, for snacking or for speeding up your cooking time? If you rely on supplements to boost your diet instead of eating healthy foods, stop right there!
In this post, we will talk you through some healthy meal prep ideas and show you how to prep vegetables and snacks to grab and go, so you get all the nutritional vitamins and minerals you need in your diet!
What you will need to organize your food for the week
- Chopping board
- An empty uncluttered space to work at
- A sharp knife
- Some large bowls
- A clean organised and decluttered fridge and freezer.
- Some meal prep bags
- Meal prep containers or lunch boxes
- Large bowls
- Food processor (optional) for chopping and grating
- Uninterrupted time
The benefits of meal prepping are:
- Less waste: Think about all the food you throw away each week. Often food starts rotting in the back of the fridge because you didn’t have time to prepare it. kids dont eat the food because it hasnt been prepared in advance . Meal prepping reduces the waste for beause
healthierfood will be more convenient and readily available to snack on and to cook.
- Meals are made in minutes: Because all your food has been prepared in advance you can grab and cook what you need inseconds.
- Meals and snacks become healthier: Fruit and vegetables are easier to grab for snacking , and adding to meals.
- You can use a portion control containers for easy meal management if you are meal prepping for weight loss and fitness meal prep.
- You can meal prep straight into a lunch box with an ice pack and water bottle to take to work, this will save the many trips to the burger van or the pasty shop!
We all know how difficult it can be to get a healthy home-cooked meal on the table after a long day at work. We also know how daunting it can be to start meal planning when you’ve never done it before.
So, here are a few steps to follow before we start our meal prep bags and food containers, this will help you to organize all your meals in advance.
- Cupboard staples When meal prepping, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your pantry is always stocked with some staples so you can consistantly make a healthy meal from scratch. If you missed my post on stocking your pantry, you could read it here before you start.
- Meal planning An essential part
of mealprepping is to plan your weekly meals. If you know which meal eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, begin organizing your meals. To help you plan out your meals for the week or month, I have written a step-by-step guide outlining all the stages you need to start meal planning for the week. In case you missed it, you can get read it here.
Why should you use meal prep bags?
The main reasons I prefer to use bags for meal preparation is:
✔️ They are easy to store in the fridge and don’t take up too much room.
✔️ Food prep bags are cheaper than plastic and glass alternatives
✔️ They can be stored in the freezer and keep food cold in the fridge.
✔️ They can be washed and reused
✔️ They do not take up too much space in the cupboard when not in use, unlike Tupperware, the bag comes in a small cardboard box to store, and that is it!
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How to get into an organized routine!
- Before bed, check your Meal Planner to see what you are cooking tomorrow.
- Thaw the meat needed for your meal.
- Prepare sandwiches for lunches with the prepared vegetables and fruit, then store in the refrigerator ready for tomorrow.
- In the morning, throw all pre-chopped ingredients and defrosted meat or meat substitute into the slow cooker with stock and switch on. (Slow cooked meals only).
- If you are not using a slow cooker, the evening meal can be prepared using all the readily prepared food in the fridge, prep time can be even faster if you chose to use a Ninja foodi pressure cooker like this one .
How to prepare and organize your food for the week
Planning your meals using meal prep bags
- Chop food in advance
After unpacking my grocery shopping, I always prep my vegetables and fruit for the week ahead. Chopping and preparing food makes it quick to prepare meals, snacks, lunches, and sandwiches. It ensures that it’s easy for you to include plenty of fruit and vegetables at every meal.
My kids love smoothies. They would have them for breakfast, dinner, and lunch!
Smoothies are a fantastic way to get more fruit and vegetables into your kids without a huge fight!
To freeze individual smoothie portions.
✔️ Grab some meal prep bags like these ones and add a handful of baby spinach to each one. ✔️ Then add a combination of 2-3 other fruits from the list below.
✔️ You can add a blob of peanut butter as an optional extra for protein.
When you want a smoothie there is no need to thaw these bags.
✔️ For a healthy, delicious breakfast, you can throw the contents into the blender, add some chocolate soya milk, almond milk, or coconut water! You can even add some seeds on top for an extra protein punch!
✔️ Add ginger and lime juice to taste for an extra vitamin C shot
✔️ Pour into an insulated stainless shaker cup like this one for a healthy smoothie on the go!
- Salads and sandwiches
If you have to pack lunches it’s better to have all the ingredients ready to grab.
If you can prepare everything you need for the week, sandwich making will take you seconds, and you’ll be less likely to grab a takeout!
Likewise, if you have kids who have a packed lunch at school, meal prep bags are a game-changer!
here is a list of all the fillings you can prepare in advance in your meal prep bags to stay organized and save oodles of time.
✔️ Red onion
✔️ Sweet peppers
✔️ Grated cheese
✔️ Grated carrot
✔️ Carrot batons
✔️ Eggs boiled and mashed or sliced
- Evening meals
There are many ways you can speed up your evening meal preparation by prepping and chopping vegetables to add to sauces, stews, salad, soups, and for use as a side dish. Once you get into the habit of meal prepping your vegetables, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can knock up a quick and healthy meal!
Here are some ideas of food to prepare in advance:
✔️ Onions – slice, dice or grate then freeze
✔️ Broccoli – chop into florettes
✔️ Lettuce – chop or shred
✔️ Cauliflower – chop into florets or grate for rice
✔️ Carrots – chop into batons/slice or grate
✔️ Peppers – slice or dice
✔️ Tomatoes – slice or dice
✔️ Leeks – slice
✔️ Courgette – slice
✔️ Butternut squash – chop
✔️ Cucumber – slice
✔️ Potatoes – cook then mash and freeze
- Kids snacks.
If your kids are like mine, they are always looking for food, and want it when you are majorly busy.
I always have little meal prep bags of healthy food chopped up, ready for my kids to grab out of the fridge.
✔️ Cucumber sticks
✔️ Carrot batons
✔️ Sweet peppers
- On the go snack bags
I make my kids little bags to help me control and reduce the amount of sugary and salty snacks my kids eat when we go out. The price of kids’ healthy shop-bought snacks is astronomical, so this is an excellent way to save money too!
I usually add a mix of anything I’ve got in the cupboards.
✔️ Dried mango
✔️ Sultanas or raisins
✔️ Dried pineapple
✔️ Banana chips
✔️ Dried apples
✔️ Dried cranberries
✔️ Mixed nuts
✔️ Mixed Seeds
✔️ Fresh fruit
✔️ Carrot sticks
I prepare approximately ten bags at a time and put them in the fruit bowl as a healthy grab bag for school or after-school sports; it’s an excellent way for your kids to get a quick burst of energy and protein and is also easy to grab for days out.
For advice on kid’s recommended portion sizes click here
- Freezing foods.
Freeze bags of meat ready to thaw each morning for your evening meals.
Try to freeze your meat as flat as you can in your meal prep bags. This will speed up thawing time the night before you need it and will help if you want to bung it in the slow cooker before you go to work!
✔️ Stewing steak
✔️ Chicken mini fillets
✔️ Ground beef
✔️ Pork shoulder for pulled pork
✔️ Beef brisket
✔️ Lamb Chops
✔️ Diced lamb
✔️ Minced lamb
Meal prep containers
If you prefer using sturdy storage containers, sure they are stackable for the fridge and pantry. This makes it easy to see what you have and stops things from getting pushed to the back of the fridge! Here are some of my favorite stackable, dishwasher-safe containers to make meal prepping a breeze!
Frequently asked Q&A
Firstly plan your meals, then make sure you have sufficient containers or bags for meal prep. Then follow our meal prep guide to get you started!
Any bag which is sturdy, reusable, and easy to fill makes the best meal prep bag.
If you are meal prepping a lunch bag, buy stackable meal boxes to store in the fridge, these are also useful to freeze any leftovers, to defrost, and microwave at work.
Dressing free salads, rice, and chicken are easy to meal prep, and I also like to meal prep soup for a healthy lunch. Just remember to carry it in a leakproof container to avoid spillages!
Meal prep is perfect for people who are looking to improve their diet. You can pack your lunch in portion-control containers, which will help to allow you to stay on track.
Salad works perfectly well in meal prep bags or boxes, as long as they remain dry and undressed. It is best carried in insulated lunch boxes or with ice packs to help keep it stay crisp and cool. Some dressing may be transported in a small leakproof jar.