Healthy Meal Prep Ideas, A Step By Step Guide With FREE Checklists.
What is healthy meal prep?
Healthy meal prepping is spending some time preparing all the vital ingredients you need, to cook your healthy daily meals, quickly and easily. Meal planning and wise food storage are a critical foundation to meal prep.
In this post, we will talk you through some healthy meal prep ideas.
The benefits of meal prepping are
- Less waste as all food gets eaten rather than sitting in the back of the fridge because you’ve not got time to prepare them after you’ve had a busy day.
- Meals are made in minutes as all food has been prepared in advance.
- Meals and snacks are healthy as fruit and vegetables are easy to grab to add to dinners, sandwiches and to eat as snacks.
We know how difficult it can be getting 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
This month we are taking you step by step through all the stages of meal planning
- Food shopping and pantry staples
- Meal planning
- Meal prep
- Batch cooking
In case you missed my post on pantry staples you can read it here
and to help you with meal planning I have written a post outlining all the stages you need to plan your weekly meals, with free meal planning templates, you can read it here
Which meals can I prep?
Which foods can be prepared in advance for the week?
Which is the best way to prepare food in advance?
When I unpack my food shopping I always chop up my vegetables and fruit for the week ahead, before I put them away. Chopping and preparing food makes it quick to prepare meals, snacks, lunches and sandwiches. It ensures that its easy for you to include fruit and vegetables at every meal.
Preparing for weekly dinners, I will chop
- Onions for cooking
- Peppers for cooking
For salads and sandwiches, I will prepare and chop
- Red onion
- Sweet peppers
For salads and sandwiches, I will usually grate ahead
For the kid’s snacks, I will slice
- carrot batons
- Sweet peppers
For dinners, I freeze
- Stewing steak
- Chicken mini fillets
- Ground beef
- Pork shoulder for pulled pork
- Beef brisket
- Lamb Chops
(All meat is thawed out the night before I need it so it can be prepared before I go to work.)
For morning smoothies I freeze in batches
(these are frozen in any combination in a ziplock bag and thrown in the blender in the morning with some almond milk or coconut water)
Get into a meal prep routine!
- Before bed check your meal planner to see what you are cooking tomorrow.
- Thaw the meat needed for your meal.
- Prepare sandwiches and snacks with prepared veg and fruit and place in refrigerator 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).
- The evening meal can be prepared using all the readily prepared food in the fridge.
For a healthy kids snack bag of trail mix, I prepare
- Dried mango
- Sultanas or raisins
- Dried pineapple
- Banana chips
- Dried apples
- Dried cranberries
- Mixed nuts
- Mixed Seeds
(I use whatever I have in stock in my pantry )
I prepare approximately ten bags of these at a time and put them in the fruit bowl as a healthy grab bag for school or after-school sports; it’s a great way to get a quick burst of energy and protein.
Make all your storage stackable for fridge and pantry preparation, this makes it easy to see what you have and stops things getting pushed to the back of the fridge!
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In my next post we will be discussing batch cooking and how to freeze all your meals in advance, don’t forget to subscribe to our updates and FREE resources.