40+ Best Meal Prep Ideas and Recipes

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Get organized for the week with these easy and healthy meal prep recipes! I’ll give you tips to strategize your meal plans, and help you choose which recipes to batch cook or freeze. And don’t forget my seasonal meal prep plans, which give you tasty ideas to enjoy year-round.

Several plates of meal prepped food on a table.

LET’S MAKE MEAL PLANNING EASY

I know the thought of planning out a week’s worth of healthy meals can be daunting. But after years of perfecting my meal prep ideas and strategy, I can tell you this – it all starts with meal planning. So how does one do that? Well, the best way to approach this is to ask yourself a few questions…

  • How many people do I need to prep for? Are you just one person? A family of four? Keep in mind how many servings you’ll need to make of each recipe to get you through the week. Then jot that down.
  • What’s in season? Try to center your meals around in-season produce. Not only is it fresh and tasty, it’ll challenge you to be creative and add variety throughout the year. Bonus – seasonal produce is usually cheaper and often on sale!
  • What types of meals do I want to prep? There’s two ways to look at this. You can create building blocks (separate ingredients) to get creative throughout the week or make fully cooked meals that you can easily reheat. Your schedule for the week might lead you one way or the other. There’s no right or wrong choice, meal prep is meant to suit you and your schedule! 

From there, you can jot down your grocery list (after double checking what’s already in your fridge, freezer, and pantry), and head to the market!

DO YOU HAVE MEAL PREP CONTAINERS?

Now that your meal plan is out of the way, it’s time to think about how you’re going to organize all the food. I recommend keeping a selection of small, medium, and large containers, to accommodate everything from a large batch of zucchini lasagna to a small jar of lemon vinaigrette.

You can read all about my favorite meal prep containers, but here’s a quick glance at my top choices:

  • Weck Jars: These rounded glass jars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, are 100% airtight and freezer-safe.
  • Le Parfait Jars: They’re very similar to Weck jars and are great for canning or preserving ingredients.
  • Glasslock Containers: These are your typical meal prep containers that’s great for larger food items. But the best part is that they’re durable in the fridge, freezer, and microwave.
  • Stasher Bags: For sustainable reusable ziplock bags, opt for these silicone ones!
Meal prep recipes for breakfast.

Easy Breakfast Ideas to Have on Repeat

For those early mornings when you need something quick and easy, grab n’ go breakfasts will be your savior. Choose from a variety of sweet and savory breakfast ideas to keep you fueled throughout the week!

  • Overnight Oats: The champion of breakfast meal prep recipes! Just mix the night before, place in the fridge, and enjoy the next morning.
  • Loaded Breakfast Casserole: An egg casserole loaded with the most scrumptious flavors. Bonus – it’s freezer friendly!
  • Oatmeal: Pre-make a batch of oatmeal to enjoy through the week with different sweet and savory toppings.
  • Sweet Potato Toast: This is the perfect way to start your day with extra veggies. Layer it with spinach and a poached egg for a quick and easy healthy eggs benedict!
  • Breakfast Egg Muffins: These are the perfect grab n’ go option. And feel free to get creative with filling flavors.
  • Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash: Can’t beat this veggie-heavy hash that reheats beautifully.
  • Paleo Pancakes: Did you know you can freeze these pancakes? Just pop them in a toaster, drizzle with maple syrup, and you’re done!
  • Paleo Banana Nut Muffins: Sometimes, a warm muffin is just what we need in the morning. This one’s perfectly sweet and freezes well.
Healthy snack meal prep recipes.

Meal Prep Snacks and Munchies

Avoid buying processed snacks with these healthy snack ideas. These options are so easy to make, and will give you that extra boost of energy when you hit your mid-day slump.

Salad meal prep recipes.

Durable Salads that Stay Good for Days

The key to meal prep salads that last is avoiding lettuce and leafy greens. These salads are tossed with colorful vegetables, pantry staples, an array of proteins. But the best part? They last for about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Best chicken meal prep recipes.

Best Chicken Meal Prep Ideas

Chicken is a key ingredient for many meal prep lovers. But it’s time to look past those boring, dry chicken breasts which unfortunately appear way too often in meal prep. Give your chicken a little extra oomph with marinades and seasonings for a restaurant-quality experience right at home.

  • Greek Sheet Pan Chicken: Juicy chicken thighs are coated in the best Greek flavors, and roasted with bright, caramelized veggies.
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken: This vibrant flavor combo never fails. Plus, leftovers work well in tacos, salads, or wraps.
  • Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs: Crispy baked thighs are my weakness, and this homemade version is ridiculously easy to make thanks to my special seasoning.
  • Roasted Balsamic Chicken: If you love easy sheet pan recipes, you’ll love this sticky sweet balsamic chicken.
  • Herbed Honey Mustard Chicken: A little bit sweet, and a little bit savory, this honey mustard chicken never fails.

Pro tip: try these freezer-friendly chicken marinade recipes! Then all you need to do is follow my baked chicken recipe for a quick, 20-minute cooking time for juicy chicken ready at your fingertips.

Big batch cooking meal prep recipes.

Big-Batch Cooking Recipes

Have a big crowd to feed or planning for leftovers? Say no more. These big batch recipes are quick and easy, and packed with layers of flavor.

  • Chicken Fajitas: A batch of these fajitas only takes 30 minutes to make!
  • One Pan Chicken and Rice: A complete meal with chicken and rice. You’ll be happy to have leftovers of this one.
  • Baked Tuna Meatballs: These do double duty as a snack and complete meal when served with veggie sides. Plan ahead and make a double batch!
  • Very Best Lentil Soup: When it comes to batch cooking, having a soup recipe on hand is a must. And this one’s loaded with good-for-you ingredients.
  • Chicken Stir-Fry: This stir-fry is perfect for enjoying throughout the week. And if you’ve got a bigger family to feed, just double the recipe!
  • Pork and Fennel Meatballs: Just like the tuna meatballs, you’ll want to make two batches for tasty leftovers.

Your Crockpot or slow cooker is also an essential meal prep kitchen tool! Check out these amazing slow cooker recipes for even more big batch cooking inspiration.

Freezer meal prep recipes

Freezer Meal Prep Favorites

No meal prep list is complete without freezer-friendly meals. And trust me, having healthy meals prepped in your freezer is a gold mine for those extra busy days. Just reheat and enjoy!

  • Best Ever Chili Recipe: Whip up this warming and comforting chili for those cold, wintery days.
  • Stuffed Peppers: This family favorite is healthy, filling, and makes for great leftovers.
  • Zucchini Lasagna: I love finding a batch of zucchini lasagna in my freezer, it’s like finding a golden ticket!
  • Taco Soup: Enjoy the best taco flavors conveniently in one tasty soup.
  • Whole30 Chicken Broccoli Casserole: Casseroles are always welcome in the freezer, and this one is chicken broccoli heaven.
  • Salmon Patties: A fun and delicious way to enjoy frozen salmon (or even tuna).
  • Zucchini Fritters: Summer calls for these crisp, golden patties. So make sure to cook up a second batch to save in your freezer.
Meal prepped individual ingredients in containers.

Mix & Match Ingredient Meal Prep

Aside from making full meals, my seasonal meal prep ideas are always reader favorites. Why? Because prepping individual ingredients allows you to get creative with quick mix and match meals during the week. All you need to do is plan easy, adaptable, in-season ingredients that keep well in the fridge (think grains, sauces, veggies, and protein). Then make unique texture and flavor combinations everyday that will get you excited about meal time.

Below you’ll find each of my seasonal meal preps, along with a quick guideline to inspire your ingredient choices. Happy meal prepping!

  • Winter Meal Prep: Meals that are hearty and filling with shredded pulled pork, lentils, sweet potato noodles, and vibrant winter vegetables.
  • Spring Meal Prep: Fresh and light meals with shrimp spring rolls, shrimp salads, and a batch of chia pudding.
  • Summer Meal Prep: It’s all about incorporating fresh fruit, lettuce wraps, salads, zucchini bread, and sweet refreshing desserts into your meals.
  • Fall Meal Prep: Cozy meals with ingredients like roasted sweet potatoes and kale to create a hash, a versatile hummus spread, and paleo apple pancakes for breakfast.
Ingredient meal prep recipes with rice and spiralized vegetables.

Staple Bases

Best dressings and dips for meal prep recipes.

Versatile Spreads And Sauces

Vegetable ingredients for meal prep recipes.

Fresh and Roasted Vegetables

Protein ingredients for meal prep recipes.

Protein Options

If you make any of these meal prep recipes, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

40+ Best Meal Prep Ideas and Recipes

5 from 9 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Easy and healthy meal prep recipes that will keep you fueled throughout week. Plus, mix-and-match ideas! Enjoy this Mediterranean chickpea salad.

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • lemon vinaigrette, you can use as much or as little as you'd like

Instructions 

  • Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl.
    Ingredients for a Mediterranean chickpea salad in a glass bowl next to a small bowl of lemon vinaigrette on a table.
  • Pour the lemon vinaigrette into the salad and give it all a stir until combined.
    Mediterranean chickpea salad ingredients tossed together in a glass bowl on a table.
  • Transfer the salad to a large bowl and serve it right away or store in the fridge for meal prep.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 499mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 921IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: healthy meal prep, meal prep ideas, meal prep recipes
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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25 Comments

  1. What is the best way to find out which recipes are meal prep freezer meals (other than reading each one)? I typed “Freezer” into the search box but it didn’t narrow down the results.

  2. These look really tasty, and while they’re sacrificing the fillers and processed additives, they don’t look like they’re going to sacrifice enjoying eating!

    Especially the sweet potato toast.5 stars

  3. Hi Lisa, I love everything you do and send you a huge thank you for including so many vegetarian meals.  Cheers, Donna 

  4. Good morning, Lisa

    I am experimenting on some variation of your recipes and I just want to let you know that this morning I made a spread using asparagus, I took fresh asparagus and put it in my nutribullet, then added water and olive oil, but I put too much liquid in it, so I took that and put in miracle whip to make it thicker then I put it on toast and soft boiled and egg just like your post, and it was perfect. So I made asparagus toast instead of avocado toast. Just thought I’d share that.5 stars

  5. I can’t wait for your cookbook! I’ve tried many of your recipes and all of them were easy and delicious. It took me a few tries to do the week’s worth of meal planning and it’s paid off. I find I’m wasting less food too. And my fridge stays cleaner! So thanks and happy new year to everyone.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Nancy! I’m happy you’re enjoying my recipes and I can’t wait to share my cookbook later this year as well. :)

  6. so many great ideas – i have got to make a batch of the cilantro lime rice and have some homemade chipotle5 stars

  7. There are so many great recipes in this post! I love meal-prepping, so I’ll be bookmarking for future perusing. :)5 stars

  8. Such great ideas! I definitely need to do better about meal prepping. Have been feeling stuck lately. Especially need to try the Herbed Honey Mustard Chicken and Trail Mix Granola Bars.5 stars

    1. Can’t wait for you to try these Tara! It will make you feel like your on top of your meal prep game :)

  9. I am truly awful at food prep, so this came at the best time. Especially since I will be going back to my classroom in person tomorrow! Bookmarked to make one (or more!!) of these this weekend, thank you so much for this roundup!5 stars