When it comes to planning a busy week, meal prep is a great way to ensure you have healthy dinners on the table without much effort. Check out these easy meal prep ideas to get you started!
Some of these recipes can even be frozen for easy meals later. They’re also budget-friendly and can be made with a few simple ingredients.
Make a big batch of soup
Soup might sound like an intimidating meal to make, but a big batch can actually be a simple and inexpensive way to save time on busy weeknights. Plus, you can always freeze it for a quick and healthy meal at a later date.
This hearty soup recipe is sure to warm you from the inside out on cold fall nights. It’s full of fresh basil, canned tomatoes and pasta to keep you nourished while your body is fighting off the chill.
This vegetarian-friendly soup is made with a base that’s easy to freeze in half-cup portions, and is versatile enough to be reconstituted in water or stock for a variety of different recipes. You can also omit the cheese for vegans or serve it with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan for extra flavor.
Make a salad
Salads are a great meal prep idea because they make a quick and easy lunch or dinner. They’re also a great way to get in more veggies!
A balanced salad can be made with just about any combination of greens, fruit, and protein. You can also add grains or starchy vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes to help fill you up.
Toss in herbs, vegetables, and a delicious dressing to make a meal that is truly balanced. Try adding healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado oil to make it even more nutritious and tasty!
Make a pot of rice
Rice is a great ingredient to keep in your pantry and cook up a pot of for quick meals. Whether you make a simple white rice recipe or something with added vegetables, this grain is sure to please the family and help get dinner on the table.
When cooking rice on the stove, make sure you follow a correct ratio of water to rice. For a cup of white or long-grain rice, add two cups of water.
Avoid adding too much water – the excess moisture will cause the rice to become sticky. And don’t stir the rice as you cook it or the grains may break up. Also, ensure your pot has a lid that fits tightly to stop steam from escaping while the rice cooks.
Make a smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to get some extra nutrients into your diet. They also make a convenient snack or meal replacement when you don’t have time to sit down and eat.
You can use a variety of fruits and vegetables in a smoothie. Start with a liquid base (such as water, coconut water, or dairy-free milk) and add your favorite fruit.
Protein is another key ingredient to keep your smoothie balanced. Adding protein to your smoothie will slow down your digestion, which helps you feel fuller longer.
For a boost of flavor, mix in spices or herbs. You can try cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, or cardamom.
Make a slow cooker meal
If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal prep idea, try making a slow cooker meal. These dishes are comforting and nutritious, and they’re perfect for busy weeknights!
If your slow cooker is in the freezer, you can make a whole bunch of meals ahead of time and have them ready to go. These recipes can be cooked on a Sunday and then served throughout the week, or frozen and heated whenever you’re in need of a quick dinner.
Keep in mind that you should always thaw any meat or poultry before using it in the slow cooker. This is because frozen meat can be susceptible to bacteria that grow at a high temperature for too long, and it may not cook properly.