lifestyle/ nutrition

How to Meal Prep

*This post may contain affiliate links. The earnings go back to supporting the content created on this site.

When it comes to making lasting changes, the most difficult part seems to be consistency and planning. Most people start out doing well, being committed and organized then one thing happens that throws them off kilter and meal prep is no longer a part of their routine. How do I know this? Been there, done that. 

I get it, a proper meal prep does take time and organization but I think most of it is about mindset. You have to be okay with having to incorporate an extra step into your day. Change, unfortunately will not just show up as if by osmosis. Sure it would be nice, but if you’re set on chaining the way you eat, whether you’re trying to improve your gut health or lose weight, you have to meal prep. 

Why meal prep

In order to successfully change the way you eat, meal prepping is key. Unless you’re extremely organized and have loads of time on your hand every day to prepare meals from scratch, meal prepping is going to ensure that you have ample healthy prepared food on hand during stressful and busy times. You’ll thank yourself.

The basics of meal prep

  1. Pick a few recipes – There are so many options and variations of recipes on the internet but what’s important is that you pick a few meal prep recipes that are easy enough for you to stick with. You can add variations to them but you know that they’re simple for you to put together without overwhelm. More on recipes below.

  2. Choose a day of the week – For me this is usually Sunday. Choosing 2 hours to make everything for the week, will pay off. You won’t be tempted to quickly pick up something when you’ve invested precious time and energy in your meal prep.

  3. Basic ingredients – In order to be prepared and have everything on hand, get your basic ingredients when you grocery shop so you’re less likely to skip the meal prep portion of your day. You can get a free copy of the mostly paleo shopping list when you sign up for the calm eats newsletter.

  4. Don’t look at it as a chore – When you change your mindset from it being a dreaded thing you have to do to this is an investment for your health you will find enjoyment in doing so. While you’re at it, play your favorite music, have a glass of wine or tea or whatever you’re into. Make the experience pleasurable and you’ll associate meal prepping with pleasure every time. (Yes, a little psychology goes a long way)

  5. Have enough containers – This probably seems obvious but again, if you invest in the proper containers, you’re more likely to stick with meal prep. Having the proper tools is key.

  6. Make it exciting – Meal prep does not mean boring. Play around with spices and different flavors and don’t be afraid to experiment. No one wants to eat boiled chicken.

  7. The right gadgets – Most of us have an oven and some of us have grills and if we’re lucky we even own a crock pot or an Instant Pot. These will become your meal prep best friends. Use them often and in creative ways.

  8. Get others involved – If you share your home with someone else and feel like you’ll miss out on stuff while working on your weekly meal prep, get them involved. Whether it’s a partner or children, ask them to pitch in. They can peel vegetables, get containers ready or help you with making one of the dishes. It’s more likely they’ll want to eat better when they’re involved in the process.

  9. Start small – If you’re just starting out, I recommend focusing on one or two recipes and going from there. Starting with vegetables and chicken for lunch or having all your breakfasts made for the week, will ensure that you’re going to stick with it.

  10. Make it routine– you know how you get in the shower, do your thing, dry off, get ready and don’t really invest much mental energy because you know every step of the process as if on autopilot? It’s routine. Incorporating your weekly meal prep in your routine will ensure that it’s something you’re not going to easily abandon as it will be part of your day.

Meal prep foods

Now that we covered some of the basics of meal prep, let’s look at some staple foods you may want to use for your meal prep. These are just suggestions and you can tailor them according to your preference. 

  1. Roasted vegetables
    – sweet potatoes
    – carrots
    – broccoli
    – beets
    – bell peppers
    – zucchini
    – sweet onion
    – brussels sprouts
    – butternut squash
    – fennel
    – asparagus

  2. Grains
    – quinoa
    – wild rice
    – white rice
    – brown rice
    – millet
    – if strict paleo, use cauliflower rice instead (recipe below)

  3. Grilled or baked meat/seafood
    – chicken
    – steak
    – pork
    – shrimp
    – salmon
    – tuna steak

  4. Canned
    – tuna
    – salmon
    – vegetables
    – beans of your choice (skip if strict Paleo or Whole 30)

  5. Eggs
    – egg salad
    – hard boiled eggs
    – mini frittatas

  6. Raw food
    – cucumber
    – avocado
    – carrots
    – celery
    – bell peppers
    – radishes
    – romaine lettuce
    – spinach
    – mixed greens
    – tomatoes

  7. Nuts, seeds and nut butters
    – almonds
    – walnuts
    – cashews
    – peanuts (skip if Paleo or Whole 30)
    – macadamia nuts
    – pumpkin seeds
    – sunflower seeds
    – almond butter
    – cashew butter
    – peanut butter (skip if Paleo or Whole 30)

Meal prep recipes

The great thing about meal prep is that you can get creative and do what works for you. These are my go to recipes for meal prep. Links are in the titles. 

Roasted vegetables

Grilled chicken

Cauliflower rice

Egg salad

Coconut chocolate pancakes 

Paleo granola

Mini frittatas

These are just some suggestions for getting you off to a good start with your meal prep. And again, start with one or two recipes, focus on those and expand from there. Good luck and let me know how it goes! 

 When it comes to eating well, meal prepping is the only way to create lasting change. This post includes everything you need to know to successfully meal prep week after week without stressing yourself out. #mealprep #calmeats #mostlypaleo #paleolifestyle #paleo #whole30 #paleomealprep #whole30mealprep #eatrealfood #realfood #intuiitiveeating #calmeats

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    linda spiker
    June 11, 2018 at 2:40 am

    These are great tips. Meal prep makes all the difference!

  • Reply
    theresa
    June 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    meal prepping is so very important. thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Shelby
    June 14, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I’m a crazy person about immediately washing fruits and veg when they come in- makes life so much easier!

  • Reply
    Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica
    June 15, 2018 at 2:58 am

    Fabulous tips and as always, your pics are tantalizing!
    When I am organized, I do meal prep.. and it makes such a difference in both what we enjoy that week!!

  • Leave a Reply

    Sides

    How to Meal Prep Vegetables

    *This post may contain affiliate links. The earnings go back to supporting the content created on this site.

    One thing that helps me eat well all week long is meal prepping vegetables. This can look different from week to week and I mix and match the vegetables but the general idea stays the same. Starchy and non starchy vegetables are roasted and stored for the week. It’s my favorite meal perp strategy.

     vegetables for meal prep

     cut up meal prep veggies

     broccoli

    When people ask how I’ve changed my diet and am able to consistently stick to eating fresh, whole food, the answer is always the same: “by meal prepping”. It’s the deciding factor between making it long term and giving up after one or two weeks. I’ve made the decision to change my lifestyle and diet well over 6 months ago and never looked back. 

    The truth is, you have to be organized and plan accordingly without becoming neurotic about it. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or extensive but it does have to be consistent. The trap many people fall into is simply saying that it’s too hard and they don’t know where to start or what to do.  So here are some very basic guides on how to meal prep vegetables.

    On Sundays I normally set aside an hour or two and plan for the week ahead. I don’t have to organize every detail of every meal but I take care of some basics so I’m covered when the “I don’t know what to eat” thought pops into my head. 

    Tips meal prepping vegetables

    You can basically use any vegetables you like for your individual meal prep. Also, if you’ve been sitting on some vegetables in your crisper and they’re a tad soft, they’ll be perfect roasted and you won’t have any food waste. Win-win! 

    Cut all vegetables the same size

    Cutting all the vegetables the same size will ensure that they roast evenly. If you have varying sizes you may end up with undercooked vegetables and that’s not much of a problem for broccoli, zucchini and cauliflower, but root vegetables generally taste best when fully roasted.

    Best vegetables for meal prep  

    This may seem obvious but pairing non starchy vegetables with other non starchy vegetables will yield the best flavor combination and you can assemble and mix and match later on.

    • Bell peppers of your choice, onion, summer squash and zucchini. Roast in about 15-20 minutes tossing once half way. 

    • Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower together. Roast for about 20-25 minutes tossing once half way.

    • Sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets. Roast for about 25-30 minutes tossing once half way.

    Use an oil that can stand high heat

    When roasting vegetables at higher heat, a good option is avocado oil and make sure you use enough as some vegetables in particular require a lot in order to not dry out. If you’re roasting the vegetables at temperatures under 400 degrees, using extra virgin olive oil is perfectly fine too.

    Season your vegetables

    Salt and pepper are a must when it comes to roasting vegetables but feel free to play around with other herbs and spices too. Some good options are cumin, paprika, thyme, oregano, coriander or any other herbs and spices you like.

    How to use meal prep vegetables

    Once vegetables are roasted you can use them in a variety of ways. You can drizzle them with additional avocado or olive oil and reheat them, toss them with balsamic vinegar, use them as sides to any meat, add them to any salad. The possibilities are endless. 

    The vegetables will last up to a week stroked in the refrigerator.

     easy roasted vegetables

     roasted broccoli

     finished roasted vegetables


    Print Friendly and PDF

    how to meal prep vegetables

    • prep time: 10 minutes

    • cooking time: 25-30 minutes

    • makes: 10 servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 large summer squash or 2 medium cut into 1″ cubes

    • 1 large zucchini or 2 medium cut into 1″ cubes

    • 2 red bell peppers cut into 1″ cubes

    • 1 head broccoli, florets only

    • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes

    • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes

    • 4-6 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil, divided

    • 1 1/2 tsp of salt divided

    • 3/4 tsp pepper

    Equipment

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the largest roasting sheet with parchment paper or foil. Add zucchini, summer squash and peppers with 2 tbsp avocado oil, 1/2 salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss to combine. (Feel free to use more salt and pepper if you’d like). Roast for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Toss once halfway. 

    On a separate sheet, line with parchment paper or foil and add broccoli, 1-2 tbsp avocado or olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 pepper. Massage the oil into broccoli and roast for 10-15 minutes or longer if you wish the broccoli to be softer. Toss once half way.

    And on the last roasting sheet, line with parchment paper or foil and add sweet potatoes and butternut squash, toss with oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and roast for 30 minutes, tossing once halfway.

    *Tip – place the heartiest vegetables on the lowest oven rack. In this case the sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

    Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 


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     When it comes to meal prepping, consistency is key but so are basic, trusty recipes you can use over and over. This basic meal prep guide to vegetables will give you tips and ideas for creating a foolproof meal prep week after week. #calmeats, #mealprep, #vegetables, #vegan, #paleo, #whole30, #veganmealprep, #whole30mealprep, #lunch, #mealpreplunch.

     When it comes to meal prepping, consistency is key but so are basic, trusty recipes you can use over and over. This basic meal prep guide to vegetables will give you tips and ideas for creating a foolproof meal prep week after week. #calmeats, #mealprep, #vegetables, #vegan, #paleo, #whole30, #veganmealprep, #whole30mealprep, #lunch, #mealpreplunch.

     When it comes to meal prepping, consistency is key but so are basic, trusty recipes you can use over and over. This basic meal prep guide to vegetables will give you tips and ideas for creating a foolproof meal prep week after week. #calmeats, #mealprep, #vegetables, #vegan, #paleo, #whole30, #veganmealprep, #whole30mealprep, #lunch, #mealpreplunch.


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    2 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa Griffiths
    October 22, 2017 at 12:11 am

    You’re totally right – the planning is absolutely essential to eating well! Love your photos of those beautiful veggies!

  • Reply
    Daniela Modesto
    October 22, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Thank you so much, Melissa! That’s very kind of you! 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

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