30 Meal Prep Dinner Ideas

Although its a big responsibility, I absolutely love meal planning. I have a meal planning notebook that helps me outline meals for the week and a spreadsheet where I keep a running list of favorite recipes. Every entry is numbered, so when Im feeling uninspired, I use a random number generator to make the decision for me.

I also love grocery shopping and am a huge fan of cookbooks. I joined a cookbook club in September, and my collection is ever-growing.

The kitchen is my haven. As the chief meal planner and cook in the house, I take pride in my organization skills. Im meticulous about my fridge, and I strive to keep things uncluttered. I deep clean it several times a year and avoid overstuffing it I like being able to spot everything on the shelves.

But its not always easy to find the time to plan, shop, and cook, especially for dinner. Meal planning is a consuming household chore. Sometimes, after Ive planned the weeks meals, Im left without the energy to cook every day.

Thats where meal prepping can make a difference.

Meal Prepping Basics

Meal prepping is the process of preparing meals in advance, and it looks different for everyone. For some, it means prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner in separate single-serving containers. For others, it involves preparing snacks and lunches for their kids.

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So good to be back!! And I finally found a way to use up the random amounts of orzo, macaroni elbows and @eatbanza bowties in this easy meal prep. . This Cajun veggie and chicken sausage pasta bake came out sooo good and I cant wait to share the recipe in the WWL Program soon. (Learn more in my bio link about how to get my recipes!) . THE PASTA TRICK: when mixing different pastas in a casserole like this, half cook the pasta to ensure it wont be weird in the final product. Worked like a charm. . This meal will last for 4 days in the fridge and reheats well in the microwave, on the stove or in the oven. Its freezer friendly too. I dont know the calories because I dont count! . After a vacation I like to prep meals with flavors Ive missed and use LOTS of veggies to get my body back to normal (and Im 100% talking about digestion, NOT weight) . Check out my stories today to see the other post-vaca meals I prepped. Hope youre having an awesome Monday!

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Some folks plan their meals because theyre following a strict macronutrient diet in pursuit of fitness. Others merely prefer to pre-chop veggies and other ingredients in advance. Many people meal prep freezer meals that are easy to grab and toss in a pan, instant pot, or slow cooker on busy weeknights.

Meal prepping is also a helpful way to save money on your grocery bill. Planning and prepping prevent impulse buys at the supermarket and reduces food waste. So put aside a bit of time on the weekend to write out the weekly meal plan. Scan your cupboards and fridge to see which ingredients you already have on hand, and shop only for what you need.

Related Post: 27 Cheap Lunch Ideas

However you choose to meal prep, find a routine that suits your lifestyle. Meal prepping shouldnt heighten your stress, it should decrease it.

Most meal prep dinner ideas and recipes provide cooks with all the information they need for storing and planning their weekly meals. If youre ever in doubt about how long a food will last in the fridge, check out the comments section and read reviews, or simply leave a comment/question for the recipe writer.

Here are 30 meal prep dinner ideas to add to your recipe bookmarks folder.

Shrimp Coconut Rice With Mango Meal Prep

I love meal prep recipes that have a rice base. The rice cooker is my best friend. Its so incredibly easy to cook a huge batch and then portion it for whatever recipes I have planned. Fit Men Cook has a wide variety of recipes available via their website or app.

Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Id also recommend the Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole from Fit Men Cook. Its nutritious and tasty, and keeps well in the fridge throughout the week.

Easy Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls

A slow cooker is incredibly convenient when youre running around all day and barely have time to think about cooking when you get home. This recipe takes the concept of burrito bowls and turns it into a slow-cooker friendly recipe.

The Kitchn website also has a ton of other meal prep dinner ideas and tips. They also have a fun newsletter and Facebook group for those interested in getting started with meal prepping. Check out these other Kitchn meal prep dinner ideas:

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Meal Prep

roasted vegetable couscous meal prep
Photo Courtesy of Budget Bytes

BudgetBytes is one of my very favorite recipe websites. Recently, she started introducing meal prep recipes with step by step instructions on how to prep portioned meals for the week. Theyre so well done, and there are many delicious options to choose from.

A lot of the recipe components can be mixed and matched, too, which is helpful if youre the kind of person who tends to get bored eating the same thing over and over again. This couscous meal prep dinner idea is super easy to make and wont involve you slaving over the stove on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Cheeseburger Meatloaf Meal Prep

When you really want to eat comfort food all week and make it nutritious in addition to tasty.

Mediterranean Hummus Bowls

This meal prep dinner idea is a simple one, but sometimes its hard to think up the obvious when youve been prepping for weeks, and youre sick of wondering what to cook.

Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Bowls

Her regular chicken salsa bowls are THE BEST. The recipe is easy, and as long as you choose to make it with your favorite salsa, youre golden. These bowls are delicious and straightforward to prep.

Chicken Salad Mason Jar Salads With Creamy No-Mayo Dressing

chicken salad in a jar
Photo courtesy of Kristines Kitchen

A salad in a jar is a smart idea, isnt it? And salad doesnt have to be boring. Just choose your favorite dressing, and add a bunch of yummy goodies for texture and added flavor.

If salads appeal to you check out these additional salad meal prep ideas.

Meal Prep Almond Flour Pancakes

almond flour pancake prep
Photo Courtesy of Skinny Fitalicious

I hate making breakfast. I put all my energy into making dinner and saving enough leftovers for lunch, but I cant be bothered to put effort into breakfast. If youre the same, why not prepare a batch of make-ahead pancakes?

Related Post: Plant-Based Protein: The Definitive Guide

These pancakes from Skinny Fitalicious are low carb and paleo-friendly, but theres no reason you cant prepare a batch of regular pancakes to enjoy throughout the month. Make a huge batch and stick them in your freezer. You can pop them in your toaster to reheat. And of course, who doesnt love breakfast for dinner?

Slow Cooker And Instant Pot General Tsos Chicken

Make a big batch of this chicken at the start of the week, cook the rice in your rice cooker, and voila! You have several dinners ready. With a scrumptious recipe like this one, you wont have to throw away money on takeout.

Meatball Meal Prep

meatball on top of an arugula salad
Emiliano Vittoriosi / Unsplash

I think meatballs are one of the most meal-prep friendly foods. Theyre super easy to make, customizable, and they taste great even when prepped in advance. You can also freeze a batch for cooking later. Here are a few meatball centric meal-prep friendly ideas.

Mexican Food Meal Prep

Mexican food is a cuisine that works well for meal prepping. If you love Mexican herbs and spices, try one of these meal-prep friendly recipes.

Meal Prep Soups

Cayla1 / Unsplash

In the fall and winter, a cozy bowl of soup is the perfect complement to the cold weather. Whip up a big batch of soup and divide it into containers for the week. It freezes well, too. Here are a few soupy ideas for your next meal-prep session.

Vegan Meal Prep Dinner Ideas

vegan meal prep
Ella Olsson / Unsplash

And for our vegan friends and readers, here are a few vegan-friendly prep ideas.

Meal Prepping Tips

Here are a few tips to help you get started with meal prepping.

Invest In A Quality Set Of Containers

Choose sturdy glass containers with airtight lids. Glass containers allow you to see your food and easily spot what you need when looking through the fridge. They also dont hold odors and wont stain like other types of containers.

Label Your Meals

Whether youre neatly stacking containers in the fridge or stocking up the freezer, labels are incredibly useful. When youre busy, its easy to forget what might be in that big freezer bag. Is it chili or soup?

Do It All In One Shot

If youre making meals for the week, choose a day thats most convenient for you and take the time to cook everything.

You Dont Need To Cook Everything In Advance

Some foods are better cooked right before eating but if possible, precut ingredients to simplify daily meal prep.

Plan It Out

Reserve a time to outline your meal plan for the week (or two weeks whatever works for you). Then arrange a grocery list after looking through your fridge and pantry. Dont head to the grocery store without a plan.

Stock Your Pantry

Always have the basics on hand. A well-stocked pantry makes planning and prepping infinitely easier. Its also handy for times when you dont have time to plan or prep and need to cook something in a pinch.

Save Your Favorite Recipes

Keep them in a binder, save them to a folder in your bookmarks, or use notecards. Whatever the method, have your favs on hand.

You dont want to spend extra time Googling when its time to meal plan. If you try a new recipe, use a sticky note to jot down thoughts and adjustments for next time.

Join A Meal Prep Group

Whether with a few friends or a huge group on Facebook, its helpful to have others to go to for help and inspiration.

Prep Foods When You Get Home From The Store

Wash and cut produce (with the exception of foods like bananas and apples that will spoil quickly once cut) to save yourself time down the road.

Keep Things Interesting

Change up your routine once in a while. Eating the same foods every week can quickly become a slog, and a varied intake is key to a nutritious diet.

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