How To Meal Prep

A Start-to-Finish Guide to Meal Prep for Beginners

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: September 7, 2023

Are you tired of constantly thinking about what to cook for your next meal? Do you find yourself making impulsive food choices or resorting to unhealthy fast food? Meal prepping might just be the solution to your problems.

Not only does it save you time throughout the week, but it also helps you make healthier choices and saves you money in the long run.

In this beginner’s guide on how to meal prep, I will walk you through the basics of meal prepping, including how to meal prep for one day or a whole week. So, let’s get started!

How to Meal Prep

What Is Meal Prep?

Meal prep is the process of planning and preparing your meals in advance, typically for the week ahead. It involves cooking and portioning out meals, often in Tupperware containers so they can be easily reheated during the week.

This can be a great way to save time, money, and effort while ensuring that you eat healthy and nutritious meals. For someone just getting into cooking and eating healthy, meal prep can be a helpful tool to stay on track with your goals.

Start by choosing simple recipes that you enjoy, and that can be easily prepared in advance, and gradually build up your skills and repertoire over time.

How to Start Meal Prep

To start meal prepping, you’ll need a few basic things in your kitchen. First, invest in some quality food storage containers in various sizes. We prefer glass containers at home, but plastic containers work better on the go.

You’ll also need a set of measuring cups and spoons to ensure accurate portion sizes. Additionally, a basic kitchen scale is sometimes needed for weighing ingredients before or after cooking.

Once you have the necessary tools, the next step is to plan out your meals for the week. Decide the types of meals you want to prepare and make a grocery list of the ingredients you’ll need. This will help you stay organized and focused when you go grocery shopping.

Remember to start small, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Sometimes, it’s better to begin by meal prepping one day at a time and gradually increase to a whole week as you become more comfortable with the process.

How to Meal Prep for Beginners

If you are new to meal prepping, it can seem overwhelming at first. But with a little bit of planning, it can become a simple and efficient way to ensure that you have healthy and delicious meals ready to go throughout the week.

In this section, I will walk you through the basics of meal prep, including how to prep meals for 1 or 2 days, as well as for the whole week. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be a meal prep pro in no time!

How to Meal Prep for a Day

Meal prepping for one day at a time can be a great way to ease into the habit of meal prepping. It allows you to start small and get comfortable with the process without feeling overwhelmed.

Additionally, prepping for just one day can help you avoid food waste and ensure that your meals stay fresh and delicious. Plus, it can be a great way to save time and reduce stress throughout the day by having one less thing to worry about.

Preparing daily meals usually involves cooking once a day or once every other day. For instance, you can prepare all your meals for the day in the morning before going to work or cook in the evening to have meals ready for the next day.

How to Meal Prep for Beginners

How to Meal Prep for the Week

Meal prepping for the week can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. Instead of having to cook every day, you can prepare your meals in advance and have them ready to go when you need them.

This can be particularly helpful for busy individuals who don’t have a lot of time to spare during the week. And it can help you save money on groceries by allowing you to plan your meals in advance and buy ingredients in bulk.

To get started with weekly meal prepping, you’ll want to choose a day of the week to set aside some time for cooking and prepping. You can start by planning out your meals for the week and making a grocery list of everything you’ll need.

Then, you can spend a few hours cooking, portioning out your meals, and storing them in the fridge or freezer. You can also invest in some meal prep containers to make storing and transporting your meals even easier.

How to Meal Prep for the Week

How to Meal Prep Specific Foods

Once you have your meal prep schedule planned out, you’ll need to learn how to cook and store specific foods. In this section, I’ll teach you how to meal prep specific foods, including chicken breast, rice, vegetables, and salads.

How to Meal Prep Chicken

Meal-prepping chicken can be a delicate process, as it has a tendency to dry out easily. This is especially true for grilled or baked chicken breasts that have been in the fridge for a few days.

However, there are several ways to prevent chicken from getting dry during meal prep. One of the best ways is to marinate or brine the chicken before cooking. This involves soaking the chicken in a mixture of water and salt for a few hours, which helps to lock in moisture.

Another method is basting the chicken with butter or oil during cooking can also help to keep it moist. Additionally, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature without overcooking it.

To store cooked chicken, it’s important to let it cool down to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container with a small amount of liquid. When reheating the chicken, be sure to do so gently and slowly to avoid further drying it out.

With these simple tips and tricks, anyone can learn how to meal prep chicken that is juicy and delicious every time.

How to Meal Prep Chicken

How to Meal Prep Rice

To meal prep rice, you need to follow a few simple steps to make sure it stays nice and fluffy when reheated later.

First, rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking to remove any excess starch. Then, use slightly more water when boiling rice or placing it in a rice cooker.

Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and let it cool completely before portioning it out into storage containers. When reheating, add a small amount of water to the rice and heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Another trick for softer rice is using bone broth in place of water. The natural oils in the broth help lock in moisture and ensure that your rice stays moist and fluffy for days to come!

Try This Simple Bone Broth Rice Recipe

Finally, consider meal-prepping rice more frequently so it doesn’t dry out and get hard in the fridge. Investing in an inexpensive rice cooker takes almost all the effort out of meal-prepping rice, so you can make it fresh daily.

How to Meal Prep Rice

How to Meal Prep Vegetables

It can be challenging to meal prep fresh vegetables as they have a short shelf life. However, there are several ways to prep veggies without wasting produce or money.

One of our favorite ways to prep large quantities of vegetables is by grilling them. We wrap peppers, onions, squash, or green beans in foil, drizzle with olive oil, and dust with seasoning.

Then, we roast the vegetables on the top rack while cooking our meat on the bottom rack. This method produces smoky and savory vegetables we can enjoy throughout the week.

Another option is to buy frozen veggies such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or stir-fry blends, which can quickly be sauteed or microwaved. We always keep some on hand if we run out of fresh vegetables.

How to Meal Prep Vegetables

How to Meal Prep Salads

One of the biggest challenges with meal-prepping salads is keeping them fresh in the fridge. However, there are several ways to help you keep your salads fresh for a longer time.

First, remove any excess moisture from your greens before storing them in an airtight container. You can use a salad spinner if you have one, or simply dab the lettuce with a paper towel to absorb any moisture and keep the greens dry.

To avoid a soggy salad, store your dressing separately and add it to the salad just before serving. This will help prevent the greens from getting too wet and wilted.

Related: Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe

How to Meal Prep Salad

How to Finish Meal Prep

To complete the process of meal prepping once the food is cooked, you need to measure out portions, put them in containers, and store them in a way that keeps them fresh. Start by deciding on the portion sizes that work best for you.

Then, divide the cooked food into individual portions using a food scale or measuring cups. Next, place each portion into a container that is the appropriate size for the amount of food you’ve measured out.

Be sure to choose containers that are airtight and can be easily sealed. Finally, store the containers in a refrigerator or freezer, depending on how soon you plan to eat the food.

Finally, when you’re ready to eat, pull your meal out of the fridge, reheat, and enjoy!

Meal Prep Delivery Services

Meal prep delivery services have become increasingly popular over the last decade, and for good reason. They offer pre-cooked healthy meals that are shipped directly to your doorstep or pretty much anywhere with an address. 

The benefits of meal prep services are numerous. They save time and energy by eliminating the need for grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking. This is especially useful for busy individuals who don’t have the time or energy to cook every meal from scratch.

In addition, meal prep services offer a level of convenience that traditional meal prep methods can’t match. And they make it easy to stay on track with your healthy eating habits even while traveling.

Of the many services available, Icon Meals is the one I recommend because their meals are tailored to your needs. Icon Meals is the most customizable option, allowing you to choose your meal’s ingredients and amounts to hit your macros.

Get 10% off sitewide on Icon Meals with code NUTRITIONEERING.

More Meal Prep Info

Now you know everything you need to know about how to meal prep from beginner to advanced. And I hope this information has helped you feel more confident in beginning your meal prep journey.

If you still need a little inspiration, here are some additional meal prep articles to get you going.

3 Ingredient Kodiak Pancake Recipe

75+ Meal Prep Memes to Make You Laugh

Easy Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Recipe

Intermittent Fasting Pros & Cons

Simple 3-Minute Proats Recipe

How to Meal Prep for Muscle Gain

With this information, you’re well on your way to eating like a champ at home or on the road. For more fitness tips, check out my related articles below.

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By |September 7, 2023|Nutrition|0 Comments
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