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9 Meal Prep Ideas to Save Time in the Kitchen

With just 1-2 hours of meal prep every weekend you can save countless hours in the kitchen during the week (and have less dirty dishes). Today, I’m showing you 9 ingredients that I’ve prepped and several meal prep ideas. It’s easy to combine these ingredients for healthy recipes that take less than 5 minutes to make.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

Meal Prep Ideas & Planning Ahead

When it comes to healthy eating, there’s one strategy that works time and again – planning ahead. Because when do we most often throw our healthy eating goals out the window? When we’re busy, right? And when that cookie, cupcake, slice of pizza or burger sounds easy, cheap and well….easy (it bears repeating).

But what if I were to tell you that you could meal prep several healthy ingredients in 1-2 hours on Sunday to save time in the kitchen all week long? Yep, that’s the beauty of meal prep.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

The way I do meal prep may be different from most meal prep advice that you see or read about. Most website will have you preparing the same meal over-and-over for 5 days of same same. For instance, chicken with white rice and veggies.

Don’t get me wrong, I like chicken with white rice and veggies (in fact, you’ll see it below). But I don’t want that exact same meal five nights in a row. Because let’s be honest, palate fatigue is real my friends.

And if the meals you prepped on Sunday start to sound boring, unappetizing or less than desirable by Thursday or Friday, that’s when you make those previously mentioned poor food choices. Yep, even when you have a healthy meal sitting right there in your fridge.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

Meal Prep Tips: Prep Ingredients Over Full Meals

Instead of prepping the same meal over and over, I recommend prepping ingredients over full meals. Sure, you’ll have to do a little more work than popping something in the oven or microwave. But in most cases we’re talking less than 5 minutes. And that’s just for a little last-minute slicing and assembling, to maintain the flavor and freshness of certain produce items.

The three main benefits of meal prepping ingredients:

  1. You’ll save time in the kitchen
  2. You’ll have far greater food variety
  3. You’ll reduce the stress of “what should I make?”

With plenty of ingredients prepped in your fridge, all it takes is a little creativity to combine them (along with other items you have on hand) in delicious, innovative ways.

The end result: you’ll have greater nutrient variety throughout the week, your tummy will be happy and you’ll spend far less time cooking. A winning combo.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

Healthy Meal Prep: My Favorite Ingredients

My meal prep changes weekly and based on the seasons (again, food variety). But there’s 5 things I prep every week:

  1. Protein: this could be roasted chicken, baked salmon, slow cooker pulled pork, baked halibut, etc.
  2. Veggies: this could be a sheet pan of roasted veggies, spiralized veggies, fresh veggies or any combination of those.
  3. Starch: this could be rice, sweet potato, quinoa, lentils, fingerling potatoes and many other things.
  4. Snacks: this could be hummus, spinach artichoke dip, trail mix, crisp vegetable sticks, etc.
  5. Breakfast: this could be egg muffins, sweet potato toast, hard or soft boiled eggs, chia pudding, homemade yogurt, almond butter, homemade granola, etc.

Of course, I’m not prepping all of those items, but maybe just a couple from each category, depending on what I’m craving in any particular week.

Again, the goal is not to have all meals set and done, but to have enough healthy ingredients prepped that we can assemble most of our meals quickly. And leave room for that unexpected dinner date, lunch with a girlfriend or afternoon matcha latte break. Because, that’s life, right?

In addition to the ingredients I prep, I always have a few key items in my fridge that can easily be combined with virtually any meal. That includes avocado, fresh garlic, tomatoes, baby spinach, fresh fruit and other produce and a variety of nuts and seeds.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

Meal prep and save time in the kitchen. Here are 9 ingredients to meal prep and several meal prep ideas for healthy recipes.

How To Meal Prep

As I mentioned, I usually spend 1-2 hours every Sunday which saves me several hours later in the week. Peeling and slicing 10 carrots at once is far easier and takes less time than doing it five times throughout the week. And there’s less dirty dishes – always a bonus.

But instead of me telling you how I meal prep, I thought it would be better to show you how I meal prep. So here’s a little video that walks you through my process step-by-step and the 9 ingredients I meal prepped this week.

Watch How I Meal Prep for the Week:

And subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly cooking videos!

I hope you guys enjoyed the video and if you’d like to see more meal prep ideas, let me know in the comments below. You can also join my email subscriber list and receive a handy PDF guide of this weekly meal prep, with tips for prep time and storage. Subscribers are always the first to be notified of new recipes, videos, giveaways and other goodies.

Lastly, my favorite meal prep containers are these Glasslock Containers, Le Parfait Jars, Weck Jars, and Stasher Bags.

With all this food prepped and ready to go, you should have a healthy, happy week with very little time spent in the kitchen! Enjoy!

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117 comments on “9 Meal Prep Ideas to Save Time in the Kitchen”

  1. I am excited to try your version of baked chicken breasts. I often have difficulty eating white chicken meat if it is even a little dry. However, I watched meal prep video twice and searched through site for this recipe. I just am looking for temp, oven time, and removal temp. Is there somewhere else I need to look. BTW, I truly enjoyed your cookware favorites video. Have a great day! Brenda

    • Hi Brenda – I have a few chicken recipes on my website such as my crispy baked chicken thighs or shredded chicken. You can find these under my recipes – and then the ingredients section: Chicken. If you have trouble finding them, let me know!

  2. Loving you meal prep videos I first found you when my nutritionist suggested I do Whole 30. I am curious what is the average cost to a meal prep week shop?

  3. hi where i can find grocery list thanks

  4. I went to put a meal prep video on in the background while I worked so my toddler would have something to watch and realized after clicking your video that I DEFINITELY needed to look into your content more. I’m not a subscriber, just got my meal plan PDF’s, and am currently working on a grocery list for tonight’s shopping! I am SO excited about how easy and simple you make all of this seem despite clearly focusing on healthy foods in a variety of ways. My family is going to be thrilled… and this mama of 2 under 2 is going to be SO happy to regain some time in her day (and stop UberEat ordering because I’m too overwhelmed to cook). Consider me one happy follower who will be raving about you from here on out!

    • Hi Alexis – I am so happy you’re getting onto this meal prep! It really is a timesaver for later in the week as these meals come together in just a few minutes with all these ingredients :) I hope you and your family enjoy the recipes!

  5. On my third set of glass storage containers.  I really like these and the company offers free replacement plastic lids for the life of the product.  Where else do you find that?

  6. I cant wait for more lol… More Please XOXOXO

  7. I have my PDF Im so happy…. Best Blog and Channel ever.. Thanks for share with us all..

    • Hi Beatriz – I’m so happy to hear you loved my Meal Preps! Stay tuned for a Fall Meal prep coming next week :)

  8. I’m loving your channel. I’m wondering how I can do something like this for a family of 7. Cooking healthy meals for this many people 3 times a day is overwhelming, and I’ve been eating healthy for many many years. Thanks for amazing delicious recipe ideas. I’m loving your blog.

    • Hi Hope – Thanks for following along with Downshiftology! Wow, a family of 7 is a lot of people, but still doable! Just make sure you double the serving for each ingredient, or depending how much each person eats.

  9. Hi Lisa,

    I subscribed but can’t download the PDF recipes for the meal prep guides. Is this something that will be automatically sent?