Okay, let’s talk about food prep for healthy meals.
When my fellow Pinterest junkies and I think of weekly meal prepping, we think of cute, glass rectangular containers with snap-on lids and neat rows of fitness-friendly clean eating food, like rice, diced sweet potatoes, perfectly sliced chicken breast, and steamed vegetables.
While this is a super fun way to eat, and I will never hate those of us organized enough to pull off cute meal prepping, for most of us, this isn’t practical.
First, we’re feeding a lot of people, and at least some of them are picky eaters (or selective eaters, as Katie likes to say!) who make meal prepping extra exciting (which is a nice way of saying more complicated).
Next, sometimes (most of the time?) we’re just not organized enough to do this on a weekly basis. Between work and school and errands and activities, putting real food on the table, and trying to make smart decisions for our stress levels, we know we can’t do it all.
And that’s okay.
So today I want to share with you 5 really easy foods you can prep every week in order to make weekly food prep so much easier.
Meal Planning Resources
Here are the meal planning services (in no particular order) that I endorse for you to pick based on you and your family’s needs!
- 30 Minute Dinners from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
- Cooksmarts (great community of people to learn from)
- Real Plans (organizer to add your OWN recipes and replicate plans)
- PrepDish (prep ahead, easy meals all week)
- Kitchen & Meal Planning Binder by Nourishing Joy
- Customizable Low Fodmap Meal Plans
- Health Home and Happiness Grain-Free Meal Plans for GAPS Diet
Try out their freebies (some even have free trials) to see what fits your personality and preferences!
Make Real Food Easy with Weekly Food Prep
Real food is a lot. We cook way more than we used to – especially when we’re on a budget and trying to be good stewards of the money and resources we’ve been given.
So it’s important to find simple ways we can fit real food into our routine while saving money and making choices that help our planet.
Weekly food prep is a simple way to do this. You don’t have to use extra freezer bags or plastic wrap like your classic freezer cooking methods.
If you make these foods at the beginning of the week, you have all of the elements you need to make real food meals quickly and easily in the evenings after work.
You will save money by not being tempted to run through the drive-through or buy expensive “healthy” convenience food.
Simple Food Prep for Healthy Meals
The key here is to make food prep simple.
If you’re like me, you love spending time with your family or friends on the weekend. While you want to be diligent and think ahead, you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen and miss out on hanging with your favorite people – even if your favorite people are right there in the kitchen helping you!
So the foods that I prepare are extremely simple.
But they make a huge difference in the week ahead.
5 Foods to Prep for Healthy Meals All Week
Because more than that gets to be too much. If I just stick to these 5 foods, I can fit my weekly food prep into an hour or two on the weekends.
Often, once I get rolling, I’ll throw in a few more meal prep recipes. But I only commit to 5.
Start a Weekly Food Prep Habit
Once you try this once a week for a few weeks, you’ll see how big a difference it makes.
Try to make it a weekly habit. Just prepping these 5 simple foods will help you eat real food all week long.
Can’t see the video? Watch my weekly food prep here on YouTube.
Weekly Food Prep Made Simple
Are you ready for the 5 foods you can prep for simple real food meal prepping? Here they are!
5 Foods to Prep Every Week for Easy Simple, Real Food Meals:
Shredded chicken is especially versatile throughout the week, or cook a whole chicken, a sheet pan of thighs, whatever will fit into your meal plan for the week.
Brown some ground beef or cook a roast (or try ground turkey!)
RELATED: Save money on grass-fed meat.
Cumin beans are our favorite, but you can make whatever kinds you like! Here’s a recipe that shows you how to cook dry beans with either the slow cooker, instant pot, or stovetop.
4. Baked Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
I use this method for deeply flavorful baked potatoes.
Even though salad only lasts a few days in the fridge, I found that keeping a big container of it makes dinners and lunches so much simpler. My tween son will even make a salad for a snack if it’s prepped and in the fridge.
- This is our family’s favorite salad
- Mexican coleslaw
- Asian chopped salad
- Broccoli salad
- Kid-friendly salad bar
- Take it to the next step by mixing up your own salad dressings:
What You Can Make with These 5 Foods:
- BBQ chicken stuffed potatoes
- Burrito bowls
- And any other combination or taco-style foods – tacos, taco dip, quesadillas (We love the taco casserole in Chef Junior!)
- Potato nachos
- Hamburger salad
- Shepherds pie
- Taco stuffed potatoes
- Roast/chicken with mashed potatoes and salad
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Big salads with a baked potato bar
- Chicken bbq sandwiches and salad
- Greek salad with chicken and pan-fried potatoes
- Taco soup
- White bean chili
- Twice-baked potatoes
- Bean soup (instead of cumin beans)
- Taco salad
- Hamburger soup
Whether you need simple real food meal ideas or you’re trying to make meal prepping work for you in your real life, I challenge you to try making these 5 foods for a couple of weeks in a row. See how simple real food meal prepping can help you save money, eat healthily, and stay sane.