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.