This practical advice will set you up for success.
Consider Your Preferences
If you could happily eat the same thing for dinner every night for a week, by all means, whip up a giant casserole or stew. If, on the other hand, you like to choose from a variety of veggies, grains, proteins, and dressings, you’ll need to prepare an array of basics for a sort of weekly meal-prep smorgasboard. If the latter is your jam, check out our two-hour meal-prep plan for a week of meals. If the former is your style, make big-batch main or two and grab some salad greens and healthy snacks or granola bars. You got this.
Pay Attention to Ingredient Overlap
When selecting your weekly recipes, look for overlapping ingredients and prioritize making those in the same week. For example, if two recipes use quinoa, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you make one larger batch. Here’s a trick: search one ingredient, like “sweet potato” on our site, and filter by "recipes."
Embrace the Bowl
Want a template for meal prep success? Opt for one or two veggies, plus one starchy carb, plus one protein. This combo will not only keep your blood sugar and energy stable, it makes for endlessly delicious grain bowls. Add an irresistible sauce or dressing, and you’re set!
Create Time For Prep
Not only do you need to make room on your calendar for meal prep, you need to look at the week ahead to figure out what and how much to make. Going out for a birthday dinner on Tuesday, and a business lunch on Thursday? Factor in these meals when you're determining your shopping list.
Make a List
Once you’ve selected your recipes, put together a detailed shopping list. And before you head to the store, don’t forget to check your fridge and pantry to see if you already have some of the things you’ll need.
Invest in Quality Storage Containers
Glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic with locking lids are all great options for storing food. Mason jars are great for salads and soups, too. Just be sure the containers you’re using are functional and nice to look at. You’ll have more fun meal prepping and eating if your food looks beautiful.
Organize Your Fridge
Produce to the front, protein to the back! With all of your prepped food, you’re going to need to create a system. Move the foods you’ll eat first towards the front, along with fresh and roasted veggies. Foods you’ll eat later in the week, as well as proteins, go towards the back of the fridge. Separate ethylene producing fruits and veggies (bananas, apples, avocados) from ethylene-sensitive produce (eggplants, carrots, yams) to keep your groceries from ripening too quickly. And clean your fridge weekly—you'll be grateful for the fresh start.