If you’re trying to stick to your diet, but would much rather order dinner instead of cooking after a long day of work, meal prep might be the perfect answer for you. Instead of cooking every night, just whip out a week’s worth of healthy meals on a Sunday and never deal with dirty dishes for the rest of the week. These foods are perfect for your next prepped meal and will keep your figure slim, so make sure you add these essentials to your Tupperware dishes.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods and they’re also low-calorie. At only 78 calories per serving, a hard-boiled egg is a great topping or side for just about any dish: slice it on top of your avocado toast, or just eat it with some cheese and veggies in a homemade protein bento box. Either way, eggs are on the top of our healthy breakfast ideas list, so make sure you put them on your meal prep to-do list.
Just half a cup of quinoa has 12 grams of protein, and its also loaded with amino acids and fiber. It’s fairly simple to make, so meal prep a big batch of it and enjoy servings all week long.
Brown rice is another nutritious grain that you can add to your weekly meal prep menu. It has all of the vitamins and nutrients that white rice doesn’t have after it’s bleaching process, and this hearty whole grain has been proven to be a weight loss-inducing alternative to white rice, according to a study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Oatmeal is a tasty way to start your mornings without all of the empty calories of refined carb cereals. Oats are packed with fiber and will keep you feeling full and satisfied for much longer throughout the day. You can prep oats easily overnight by adding half a cup of raw oats into mason jars, topping with the milk of your choosing, and letting sit overnight in the fridge.
Instead of roasting your favorite veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts after coming home every night, try roasting a week’s worth on Sunday night and re-heating them. This is a quick and tasty alternative to heavier sides like mashed potatoes and they’re so simple to make: chop your veggies and drizzle with some olive oil and your favorite spices, then pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Ditch the bottled iced teas filled with sugar and syrup and make your own healthy version at home instead. Green tea is filled with antioxidants and is known to aid digestion, so making a jug of unsweetened green tea for the week is a great substitute for soda or other sugary drink you would normally have with dinner. Making homemade iced tea is pretty simple: just boil eight cups of water, remove from heat, and add six tea bags of your choosing and let it steep for at least four minutes or until it’s at the strength of your liking. Then, let it cool and refrigerate in a pitcher for eight servings of delicious iced tea.
Lean ground beef or turkey is a great source of protein and you can add it to just about any meal prep dish. Whether you make some burger patties or add it to a pasta dish, ground meat is an easy way to get some protein in your favorite meals.
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Grilled chicken is a lean meat, so it gives you a high source of protein without all the saturated fat of some red meat. And going for grilled chicken breasts over fried chicken is definitely the healthier choice that’s easier to prep. Cook enough breasts to last you for four days, either on the grill or in the oven. You can keep it simple throughout the week with some steamed veggies or add it to some whole wheat pasta for some nutritious and delicious flavor.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Choosing whole grains are always better than refined carbs when it comes to cutting calories and getting a more nutritional bang for your buck. Whole grains have a higher nutritional profile in comparison to refined grains, and they promote weight loss and lower your BMI, according to the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Boil a big pot’s worth on Sunday to last you for meals throughout the week.
Roasted chickpeas are a great snack or side to meal prep. These beans are high in fiber and protein, and according to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, they have been proven to lower blood sugar levels. Wash and drain chickpeas from a can and season with your favorite spices such as curry or a ranch seasoning packet and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees.
Sliced Veggies and Hummus
Raw veggies are probably the healthiest snack you can munch on, especially if you are looking for something crunchy. If you’re not a fan of raw veggies by themselves, then try dipping them! Instead of using ranch dressing, which can be high in fat and calories, try hummus. Slice up a few bell peppers and cucumbers and store in little reusable containers to snack on throughout the week. You can even make pre-portioned mason jars with hummus on the bottom and layered with your favorite raw veggies for a grab-and-go snack.
Meal prepping steak saves you tons of time while supplying a boost of protein and iron into your diet. Try adding a side of roasted or steamed vegetables to kick up the nutritional value of your meal prep dish. Opt for grass-fed beef for a healthier option.
For vegetarians (or people who just aren’t fans of meat), lentils are a great source of protein; ¼ cup of raw lentils has a whopping 12 grams of protein. They also supply a hefty dose of fiber (5 grams per 1/4 cup raw) to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and vitamin A (which aids immune function vision, reproduction, and cellular communication). Bake a few in aluminum foil and store them in your fridge for later.
Instead of mashed potatoes, which have more carbohydrates and can be made with fattening cream, try making cauliflower mash. They taste similar to mashed potatoes and are easy to make: chop a head of cauliflower and steam it, then add to a food processor with cooked garlic and olive oil, and blend in cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. It’s much lower in calories and carbs, and cauliflower is a great addition to your plate for some extra vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins B6, C, and K.
Sauteed kale (or other leafy greens like spinach) are an excellent source of vitamins while staying low-calorie. Leafy greens are also a good source of fiber, so munch on these for the week. Since these leafy greens wilt when you cook them, you can throw huge bundles of spinach and kale on the stovetop and enjoy them as a side dish to your meals.
Instead of ingesting empty calories and refined carbs from regular spaghetti, try making some delicious spaghetti squash. It’s very simple to make: just slice a spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, and scrape out the insides. You’ll notice that the inside comes out in a spaghetti-like texture, so no need to pull out a spiralizer! Squash also has much more nutritional value than regular pasta, since it’s low-carb and packed with potassium and vitamin B6.
Salmon is a healthy dinner option, especially if you can get your hands on wild-caught salmon (it has more healthy omega-3 fats than it’s farm-raised counterpart). Add this lean seafood to any of your next meal prep dishes, such as pasta or salads, or make it the star of your plate with steamed veggies and brown rice on the side. But be sure to save it for dinner; your coworkers probably won’t appreciate you heating up salmon in the work microwave.
Grilled shrimp is an excellent source of protein without all of the saturated fat of other meat options. This low-fat and low-calorie option (only 120 calories per serving) is great for your next meal prep: you can add it to some spaghetti squash or eat it on its own with a side of steamed veggies.
Trail mix is another great snack you can prep for the week. But, you should be careful with how many sugary additives you put into your homemade trail mix. Try sticking to a medley of nuts and seeds, and add only one or two sweet ingredients (like dark chocolate chips or raisins) to keep your snack low in the calorie and sugar departments.