If you haven’t meal prepped at all in your life and dream of reducing your stress and saving money, start with the Meal Prep 101 first. That post will give you a jump start and make sure that you don’t miss a beat to plan, prepare and portion out your food.
Make sure you start with a plan by making a Menu or Meal Plan for the week before you go grocery shopping. Look for your recipes in your Recipe Binder of family favorites or base your week’s prep on what is on sale or what is in season at the grocery store. Always check your Pantry Inventory, Refrigerator and Freezer Inventory before shopping so you don’t overbuy.
🍽️ Why You Will Love These Recipes
- Meal Prep For Busy Mornings to Nights
- Flavorful Dishes
- Takes Minimal Effort
- Family Friendly Recipes
Each set of recipes is focused on meat-free options so it will vary.
Breakfast | The breakfast recipes focus a lot on the use of oats, eggs and vegetables, all prepared in creative ways. Whether you use the Air Fryer to make egg cups or make veggie breakfast bowls, these recipes will satisfy and get you started on your day.
Lunch + Dinner | These recipes are veggie and bean packed to make sure you are left full. If you feel like you need to add a little bit more protein, look at using tofu or eating a ½ of beans with each dish as a meat replacement.
There is no point in spending a lot of time planning and preparing for meals if you don’t have good, long-lasting and economical meal prep containers to keep your food fresh. I put together some of my favorite meal prep containers to make your life a lot easier!
Also, consider using mason jars for storing some foods as well. It is a great affordable and easy washable container.
⏲️ Favorite Tools
This process goes so much more smoothly when you have all the tools at your disposal. To make this speedy and efficient, here are the tools I keep on hand and pull out when I’m ready to prep. You don’t need a lot to make this magic happen.
Vegetable Chopper | This little tool really helps you speed up the chopping that you need to do to prep for the week. To do everything with a knife is cumbersome.
Food Processor | This is a life saver tool when you need to chop fast or mix something up like a sauce or a dough.
Containers | If you plan to chop and prep but not segregate the meals into their own containers, plan on spending a little bit of money to invest in containers to keep the chopped up veggies fresh and not slimy until you use them in 4-5 days. If you plan to use the veggies in two days, a gallon Ziploc will work. If you plan to extend past that, use a Tupperware (yes, like mom had!) or one of the sturdy Rubbermaids, not the disposable varieties.
❗ Expert Tips
- If you plan to make meals to prep for the week or store in the freezer, consider using all of your kitchen tools you have. Pull out that Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Air Fryer – whatever you have that can make the process go more efficiently, grab it to make it easier.
- Allow yourself 1-2 hours to prep uninterrupted. I know that is hard to accomplish with busy families, but you are targeting to get meals on the table for your family later in the week. This allows you to spend more time with your loved ones working on homework or solving school/activity related tasks.
- Don’t over-stretch what you can accomplish. Target for starting with one-two meals per week to start and work up from there. If it doesn’t work, stand back and look to see what fell down and solve that problem. You are a success simply by wanting to meal prep at all. It is hard and it takes time.
- Sneak in an extra 20-30 minutes of prep time wherever you can. Those few minutes alone can prep Frozen Pancakes, 24 Cent Pasta Meals or roll up some bean burritos for the freezer from the Slow Cooker Refried Beans. If you have too much fruit in the house, in under 30 minutes you can whip up a batch of the Oatmeal Cups for the freezer that are great for snacks or breakfast.
- Veggies can stay longer in the refrigerator if you can soak them in ice water first or even wrap them in damp paper towels before putting them into the crisper.
- When looking for meatless meal prep recipes, look at recipes that have meat in it and see if it would be successful without the meat. Chicken Quesadilla is the perfect example of being delicious just as a plain cheese quesadilla or grill up veggies for a fajita quesadilla that is meat free.
Meal Prep FAQs
Meal prepping is when you prep your food in advance so you can reheat or grab and go with food. Whether it be homemade muffins, burritos, or easy lunches or dinners that reheat nicely.
Write out your list of recipes you want to make, shop ingredients and shave out time to meal prep. I like to meal prep for just an hour or two. That way you don’t overwhelmed until you are accustomed to doing it.
Eggs are great for meal prepping. Whether you do a classic hard boiled egg or opt for baked eggs. I share some recipes for a few of these tasty egg versions to try.
It depends on the recipe. You will find some of these meal prep recipes do freeze really well. While others you can only refrigerate. Each recipe should specify. The things that don’t freeze well are lettuce, cream based foods, eggs, overcooked pasta and cucumbers.
Side note: Eggs can freeze in the breakfast egg sandwiches so it is not a hard and fast rule.
Use sealed containers and place single servings in each container. That way when you reach for a yogurt or salad, you literally grab and go. Whether you use plastic containers or glass containers.
Breakfast Meatless Meal Prep Ideas
Breakfast Meatless Meal Prep Ideas to help you stay on track for eating healthy without the stress. Grab and reheat or go recipes to fuel you till lunchtime. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
These healthy overnight oat recipes are so darned easy to put together, that I had to include them here too. I made five different recipes from berries to tropical and nutty. I use small mason jars, secure the lids, and set them in the fridge until we use them. Jason grabs one on the way to work in the morning and loves them for his breakfast.
These make ahead breakfast bowls are one of my favorite vegetarian meal prep ideas ever! It’s super flavorful and hearty enough to keep you full for hours. It’s basically like eating a burrito bowl, but because there’s a base of eggs and potatoes instead of rice, we’re calling it breakfast.
Grab your air fryer and make delicious flavorful egs in minutes. A hearty breakfast you can meal prep in advance to reheat and enjoy the morning of.
These scrambled salsa egg cups are super simple to make and are packed with flavor from the salsa and parmesan cheese. It’s an easy grab and go breakfast to have on-hand and you can just eat one as is, or if you have a little more time pair it with an english muffin. Honestly, I have also just mashed them up and had some with some rice for lunch (eggs + rice are one of my favorite unfussy frugal staple meals!).
I liked the freezer oatmeal cups from Trader Joe’s, but knew I could make them myself for less. And it was really simple! Honestly, if you tend to have oatmeal fairly regularly, you don’t even have to set aside time to make these. Just make extra when you’re preparing some steel cut oats for breakfast, and freeze the leftovers. That way you can always have some on-hand!
These are SO CHEAP to make and the base cost of each oatmeal pack is only $0.15. They’re super easy to customize in your favorite flavors and since each bag is made individually, you can make a different flavor for each person, so everyone is happy.
Here is a great one to meal prep if you are a fan of yogurt, this is great. The ways to pair with your yogurt are endless, and great for a grab and enjoy healthy breakfast.
Meatless break burritos that you can store in the fridge or freezer for a nice reheat and devour meatless burrito! So easy, and kid friendly.
Here are even more easy breakfast freezer meals for you to try out. Stock that freezer and make breakfast time a whole lot easier for you to try.
Meatless Meal Prep Ideas
Meatless Meal Prep Ideas for lunches or dinners. These recipes here are full of flavor, and will fuel your body to help you get through the day. Whip up one or more of these meatless lunch and dinner recipes.
So these aren’t conventional burrito bowls by any means, but they were awesome. I made rice, a few variations of potatoes, a bean salad and some tzatziki sauce and these were my favorite for quite a while!
Here is a great hearty soup you can whip up and use for lunches or dinners for the week. Pair with rice for a satisfying dinner.
Stuffed peppers are a great one. Make these up and then just reheat in the microwave or oven for a simple dinner the whole family can enjoy.
This harvest rice is so good. Place in plastic containers and store in the fridge and just microwave and enjoy a tasty dinner or lunch in minutes. So easy, and a great meatless meal prep recipe.
Here is another vegetarian meal prep idea for you to whip up for simplifying meal time.
Here is a vegetarian pasta my family enjoys. Tons of flavor from all the veggies used. Just place in your containers, and grab and take for lunch.
If you love taco soup, you might really enjoy this slow cooker dish. You can use what you have to stock your freezer or fridge.
This quiche is great leftover. Eat it cold or warm it up for a satisfying meal anytime of the day.
Fried rice that tastes better than ordering from takeout. This is a vegetarian version so it is great for packing for lunches or dinners for the week.
Stuffed sweet potatoes are a tasty one for making for lunch. I like to make these and then reheat, and then add your fresh toppings like guacamole, sour cream, etc.
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