Last updated on November 6, 2020
What is Meal Prep
Today it is easier for the busy family to go with processed foods or even fast food because of convenience. What if I told you, that you can get healthy quick meals that can be as fast as processed meals. With easy meal prep done on days off, you can get those healthy meals in no time.
Instead of having to go through every step of the meal making process each night, you prep as much as you can beforehand. With these 10 healthy meal prep ideas, you will be off to a good start. With meal prepping there is no one size fits all.
You can go as simple or as detailed as you would like Maybe you only need to prep veggies to help dinners go by faster. Baking foods from scratch in batches can also help with the weekly menu. The most important thing to remember is your meals will be healthy quick meals for your family.’
Easy Meal Prep and Cooking From Scratch
When you think of cooking from scratch, you picture a housewife with time to spend in the kitchen. What if I told you that even with a full time, out of the house job, you could also cook from scratch for you and your family. Blueberry muffins, pancakes, breakfast burritos, even pasta can be done during easy meal prep sessions.
There are quite a few items in the kitchen that can be prepped ahead of time to make life easier. Did you know that most vegetables can be cut up and frozen for future use? This not only saves time in the long run with cooking, but it can also save money and food waste. let’s look at the 10 foods you can prep ahead of time.
freezing vegetables has been a game-changer for me. I keep our most used vegetables like bell peppers and onions not only chopped in the freezer but also sliced. I write the description and date on the back and replace it as we run low.
On average each veggie can last 6 months to a year in the freezer. The best part, if you freeze them on a baking sheet with parchment paper before putting them in the bag they will not freeze in a big ball. Storing vegetables this way fill help healthy meals become a staple in your house.
If you have an instant pot, this just became a lot easier. After grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, I would throw a whole fryer in my instant pot and move along with my day. Once it came out and cooled my husband would shred the meat right off of it and then toss it in the freezer.
This is great for many different meals. Our favorites are Lo miens, BBQ pulled chicken, chicken noodle soup, and chicken enchiladas. This is one is amazing because you kill two birds (pun intended) with one stone.
Once the chicken is shredded, throw the bones back into the instant pot with the liquids from cooking the bird and some veggies, like onion, celery, and carrots. A little apple cider vinegar and seasonings and you have a bone broth.
I cook it for 2 hours in the same setting for chicken. Bone broth is a good replacement for bullion, and it is healthy to drink. I freeze mine in small mason jars. Out of all of the healthy meal prep ideas, this one is my favorite.
I do leftovers for my lunch so I pack one every night. I have seen other people pre-pack lunches in little bento boxes for the week though. You can make this a batch cooking event and make small variations to the sides of each lunch, which is probably easier.
What I like to do, is pre-make sides for my lunches, like cutting up carrots or celery, the hard-boiled mentioned below, and many other options. This makes packing my lunches at night faster.
I grab a serving of the leftovers and then grab a serving of each category (veggie, fruit, nuts/seeds, chips, and so on) that already been split into serving sizes. These easy meal prep steps will help lunches be more healthy.
For a quick and easy breakfast, you can cook bacon and sausage ahead of time. My family loves bacon (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love bacon!) so I can go through 2 to 4 packages a week, if not more. The sausage can be ground, patty, or links; whatever your family prefers.
My husband will grab some of the sausage, frozen onion, and green peppers; and make himself an omelet in no time in the mornings. Reheating the bacon is just like cooking it, in the pan. This will also grease the pan a little for the eggs.
I take about a dozen eggs and hard-boil them on Saturdays. This will make for quick snacks and even breakfasts. We sometimes even have them in our lunches when none of the leftovers sound good. I love them with pistachios. Who can go wrong with a healthy dose of protein and fat!
Double or triple that blueberry muffin recipe, depending on the size of your family. Separate them into individual Ziploc bags or wrap them up and toss them in the freezer. These also make for quick easy breakfast ideas. Thaw a couple out the night before or toss in the microwave for about 20 seconds and your good to go.
Breakfast burritos are my favorite!! They don’t have to be breakfast burritos for this to work. but I wrap them in wax paper and then aluminum foil. Just toss in the microwave for about 1 minute, flip and repeat. You can add the sauce at this point. I love putting ranch or sour cream on mine.
Many baked goods can be made in large batches and frozen. Biscuits, with a little ground sausage, flour, and milk you can have just enough biscuits and gravy for yourself. This will also help eliminate waste. Bread, pizza dough, and dinner rolls can also be made in advance. Making these ahead of time will do wonders for those healthy quick meals.
I recommend a pasta maker and noodle drying racks for this one. It will help make the dough thinner and more uniform along with drying faster. I do not recommend making more than you need for the week. Unless you have figured out how to make it last, mine goes bad by the next week.
How to Get Started With These Healthy Meal Prep Ideas
The first step you need to do is figure out which ones are best for you and your family. It wasn’t easy for me to keep up with baked goods/batch cooking every week, it wasn’t impossible either. I felt that I liked doing those on special occasions rather than regularly. If you want to start slow and only do the basics, that is great!
I started with the basics but didn’t learn about the freezing of veggies until much later. The biggest move you can make to help any meal go by faster is to chose at least one or two off of this list and do it. Find what easy meal prep works best for you to get those healthy quick meals.
Comment below and let me know which of these healthy meal prep ideas you liked! If you are just beginning, what are you going to start with?