Health & Wellness

3 Easy Meal Prep Ideas and 5 Incredible Recipes: Make-Ahead Lunches and More

Are you in need of some great and helpful meal prep ideas? Odds are that’s the case and here’s why: Americans spend an average of 37 minutes a day on meal prep. [1]

Can you believe that we spend more time prepping for meals than actually eating them? There has to be a better way, right? Fortunately, there is! And if you’re looking for meal prep ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s review my top meal prep ideas for easier (and quicker!) cooking as well as some of my favorite recipes that will cut down on your time spent in the kitchen on those busy week nights!

 

Meal prep ideas - Dr. Pingel

 

3 Meal Prep Ideas For Easier Cooking

Previously, we discussed the fact that I have some simple tips and tricks that I use in my kitchen practically every day to provide my family with high-quality, nutrient-rich food.

After years of spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen, I depend on these meal prep ideas to help me get through the busy weeks. After all, between school, work, and unexpected life happenings, I’ll take any help I can get to get dinner on the table.

In addition to my tips linked above, here are a few of my top meal prep ideas to make dinnertime a little easier (and faster!) for us all.

1. Don’t plan too far ahead.

Remember that your food will only stay fresh for a few days, so, each weekend, plan your meals from Monday through Friday.

Your schedule is thrown off a bit on the weekends and sometimes you just need that flexibility in case you decide to dine out and/or socialize with friends or family.

2. Allow for leftovers.

Whether you know your family likes a certain meal or food enough to have it for two nights in a row or you have a great idea for a remix on the second night, doubling a recipe is one of my top easy meal prep ideas that will really cut down on your time spent in the kitchen each week.

3. Incorporate make ahead lunches and breakfasts, too.

We have a tendency to focus all of our meal prep on dinnertime, but by focusing on make ahead lunches and breakfasts, you’re ensuring you and your family are getting optimal nutrition throughout the entire day—not just before bed.

So, what does this look like? Here are a few meal prep ideas for lunch: When you’re roasting veggies for the week, consider how you can use them for lunches throughout the week and roast more than you need for dinner.

You can also utilize leftovers for lunch. Made tacos the night before? Make extra and then pack the ingredients for lunch and assemble when you’re ready to eat.

For breakfast, consider these meal prep ideas: make ahead yogurt parfaits that are perfect for grab-and go, overnight oats, or a slow cooker breakfast casserole. The possibilities are endless!


5 Quick and Easy Recipes

Here are some of my top meal prep ideas incorporated into delicious recipes to give you a place to start as you begin planning your meal prep for the week.

 

Chia Seed Pudding with Strawberry Kiwi Compote - Dr. Tricia Pingel

1. Simple Chia Seed Pudding with Strawberry Kiwi Compote

This recipe is a favorite in my house. In fact, we eat it so often that I just make a batch to prep for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. The best part? You can customize the fruit for the season!

 

Breakfast Cookie Recipe - Dr. Pingel

2. Super Delicious Breakfast Cookies

Here’s a great grab-and-go option for busy mornings or snack time that you can make ahead on the weekend, making it one of my favorite meal prep ideas.

While I wouldn’t normally recommend eating cookies for breakfast, these gluten-free options feature health-promoting ingredients such as quick oats, flaxseeds, chia seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries.

 

Easy homemade hummus - Dr. Pingel

3. Easy Homemade Hummus

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick and healthy snack or you need a little protein for your lunch, having this hummus on hand is a no brainer! I like to make a batch on Sundays and eat it throughout the week.

 

Immune-boosting soup - Dr. Pingel

4. Savory Immune-Boosting Soup

If you’re into batch cooking as part of your top meal prep ideas, consider making this incredible soup. It features ingredients shown to support immune health, such as turmeric.

You can eat it with a salad or sandwich for lunch or dinner, or keep some frozen for nights when you’re really in a pinch!

 

Easy Taco Recipe

5. The Best Easy Taco

Here’s another one of my meal prep ideas brought to fruition: quick and easy tacos! They feature cauliflower, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, asparagus, and spinach. Plus, they’re super easy to put together and even pack deconstructed the following day for lunch!

 

Key Takeaways

  • Americans spend more time on meal prep than actual eating meals!
  • There are some quick and easy meal prep ideas you can incorporate in your weekly routine to help cut down on time spent on meal prep.
  • These include: not planning too far ahead, incorporating leftovers, and planning ahead for lunches and breakfasts.

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