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Healthy Meal Prep Ideas: Recipes and Inspiration

Madison Gouza, MS, RDN, CPT

Published in Nutrition

7 min read

February 29, 2024
meal prep tupperware in the fridge
meal prep tupperware in the fridge

In today's fast-paced world, maintaining a commitment to healthy eating can be a challenge. However, by creating a simple meal plan and prepping some ingredients in advance, it's entirely achievable.

In this article, we'll explore 15 simple and nutritious meal prep ideas to help you stay on track with your health goals. From quick breakfast ideas to freezer-friendly meals you can make in big batches, these healthy meal prep recipes are both delicious and convenient, making healthy eating a breeze.

What Foods Can You Meal Prep For a Week?

foods you can meal prep

When meal prepping for a week, focus on versatile foods that can be easily incorporated into various dishes, such as chicken breast, grains like quinoa or rice, and roasted vegetables. Having kitchen staples and pre-cooked ingredients that provide a balance of protein, fiber, carbs, and healthy fats can make it easier to mix and match foods to create unique meals you won’t get tired of.

Additionally, pre-making sauces, dressings, and marinades in advance to add flavor and variety to your meals. Remember to store your prepped foods properly in airtight containers to maintain freshness and maximize shelf life.

Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Meal Prep

If breakfast is one meal that always seems to get away from you, check out these easy meal prep recipes that will make it easier to prioritize your morning nutrition.

healthy meal prep breakfast

1) Chia Pudding with Berries

Chia pudding is a nutritious option for meal prep due to its rich content of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants from the chia seeds and berries. There are no added sugars or artificial sweeteners in this recipe, making it a low-calorie, dairy-free meal that can support healthy glucose levels.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla liquid stevia

2) Make-Ahead Protein Smoothies

Make-ahead protein smoothies are an excellent choice for meal prep as they provide a convenient way to incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich ingredients such as fruits, greens, and protein into your diet. Just prep your smoothie packs in advance and freeze them in Ziploc baggies so they’re always ready!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen berries, pineapple, or fruit of choice
  • 2 cups greens of choice, like spinach, kale
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • Optional: chia seeds 

3) Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are a fun choice for meal prep breakfast, and are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals from the eggs and veggies. By baking these muffins ahead of time, you can effortlessly grab a low-carb, protein-packed breakfast or snack option throughout the week.

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup  spinach
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

4) High Protein Overnight Oats

High protein overnight oats are a nutritious and easy breakfast option. By soaking these ingredients overnight in meal prep containers, you create a convenient grab-and-go breakfast packed with fiber, vitamins, and essential nutrients to fuel your day.

Ingredients  

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Toppings: berries, sliced almonds, almond butter

5) Protein-Packed Breakfast Burrito

The protein-packed breakfast burrito is an ideal choice for meal prep: the combination of lean turkey sausage, eggs, and whole wheat tortillas make a satisfying and balanced morning meal that you can make in advance and freeze!

Ingredients

  • 10 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup yellow onion
  • 1 cup green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pounds turkey breakfast sausage
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salsa (optional)

Meal Prep Lunch and Dinner Recipes

Now let’s get into some hearty meals that you can whip up for your weekly meal prep to make it easier than ever to have a healthy lunch or dinner ready throughout the week.

healthy meal prep meals

6) Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

This teriyaki chicken stir fry is packed with lean protein, colorful vegetables, and a homemade teriyaki sauce without added sugars. By making this in batches ahead of time, you can enjoy a flavorful and delicious meal that's low in carbs and high in essential nutrients—with minimal prep during the week!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/3 cup zero sugar honey substitute
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon monk fruit allulose blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and ginger
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch broccoli florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 pound chicken thighs

7) Quinoa Grain Bowl

A quinoa grain bowl is a healthy option for a weekday lunch as it combines protein-rich quinoa with an abundance of fresh vegetables, providing a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Store it in portions in the fridge for up to four days after prepping!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili flakes
  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • 8 green onions 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 large mango

8) Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies

sheet pan veggies

Sheet pan chicken and veggies is one of the easiest options on this list. Simply chop everything and lay it out on a tray to cook! You’ll have a source of lean protein and nutrient-rich veggies ready to toss with your favorite greens, rice, or noodles!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

9) Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow cooker chicken stew is a wholesome choice for meal prep as it's packed protein, healthy fats, and fiber. By utilizing the slow cooker method, this comfort food recipe allows flavors to meld while ensuring a fuss-free easy dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme and rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup green peas

10) Mason Jar Greek Salad

The Mason Jar Mediterranean Greek Salad offers a healthy option for meal prep if you’re in the mood for a low-carb meal. By layering these components in a portable mason jar with the dressing on the bottom (or stored separately), this salad will be ready for you to enjoy any day of the week!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoons kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken breast diced

11) Fajitas with Mexican Cauliflower Rice

This cauliflower rice bowl is great for healthy meal prep. Cauliflower rice is a low-carb and low-calorie alternative to traditional rice, meaning that this chicken meal prep provides a lighter yet satisfying option that you can cook in advance for convenient, balanced meals throughout the week.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breasts
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice

12) Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs

zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles and meatballs swap traditional pasta for nutrient-rich zucchini, reducing calories while increasing fiber and vitamins. With homemade meatballs for your protein source, this easy weeknight dish offers a balanced meal while also being gluten-free and low in carbs.

Ingredients

  • 8 medium zucchini
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream2 tablespoon onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 3/4 pound ground beef

13) Meal Prep Burrito Bowl

This meal prep burrito bowl is a tasty lunch or dinner option that incorporates a variety of healthy ingredients—from colorful vegetables, to lean protein and nutrient-rich black beans. With flavorful seasonings and the option to customize toppings according to preference, this dish is convenient while also promoting overall health and wellness.

Ingredients

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 1/3 cup cooked corn
  • 1 pound lean ground meat
  • 1 teaspoon each: chili powder, paprika, cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: onion and garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 limes
  • Sea salt and pepper

14) Chopped Chickpea Salad

The chopped chickpea salad provides a healthy meal prep option by incorporating nutrient-rich ingredients like chickpeas, bulgur, and a variety of colorful vegetables, offering a hearty dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Keep all your ingredients prepared and simply add the dressing when you’re ready to enjoy!

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup bulgur
  • 15 ounce can of chickpeas
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ½ cup radish
  • ¼ red onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

15) Asian-Inspired Lettuce Wraps

asian lettuce wraps

These Asian-inspired lettuce wraps are another low-calorie and blood sugar-friendly meal prep option to try out. You can make the protein-packed filling in advance and simply reheat it and enjoy with your lettuce shells for a lighter meal!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 8 ounce can water chestnuts
  • 1 large head butter lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 scallions
  • 1/2 cup each: cilantro and mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
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Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP

Reviewed by: Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP

Victoria began her career in the functional medicine space in 2015. She has extensive experience interpreting labs and supporting weight loss, gut imbalances, and chronic migraines. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from Missouri State University.