How to Meal Prep for a Week

01 / 08 / 2024

Summary:

  • Meal prepping saves time and makes it easier to stick to the Eat Clean™ Diet by encouraging you to use groceries efficiently and freeing up time in your schedule. It also reduces food waste, making it good for the planet.
  • I recommend pre-prepping ingredients, cooking meals in batches, and storing what you’ve made in single portions for ease and convenience.
  • The best meals to prep use foods that store well, like root vegetables and lean meats. You can also use equipment like glass meal prep containers and mason jars for effective storage.
  • For extra support with the Eat Clean™ diet, check out my available workout programs. Organized diet and exercise routines lead to lasting positive results.

How to Meal Prep for a Week

Meal prep fills your fridge with ready-made food and cuts down the amount of work you’ll need to do in the kitchen each week—which not only saves you time but makes your health and wellness routines easier to stick to as well. This means that if you’re just starting the Eat Clean™ Diet (or already on it), a little meal prepping can go a long way to making sure you stay on course. But how do you get started if you’ve never prepped before?

Let me show you my favorite meal prep techniques, the equipment I recommend to make things easier, a list of prep-friendly foods, and a few of my go-to recipes. With my help, you’ll find it easier to commit to both a weekly meal prep routine and the long-term changes you want to make in your life.

Meal Prep Basics: What & Why

Meal prep means getting food ready to heat and eat at a moment’s notice. This means get-up-and-go breakfasts, ready-made lunches, and no cooking dinner when you get home after a long day—just heat it and eat it!

View Looking Out From Inside Of Refrigerator As Woman Takes Out Healthy Packed Lunch In Container

The Benefits of Meal Prepping

Getting your meals ready in advance brings a few key advantages, including:

  • Less food waste: You’re more likely to finish food you’ve already prepared, which means less of it ends up in the trash.
  • Healthy habits: Make a week’s worth of healthy meals and you’ll be more likely to stick to your Eat Clean™ goals, since it reduces the risk of breaking your diet because you’re too tired to cook.
  • Saving time and money: Using ingredients more efficiently and doing all your prep at once lowers your grocery bills and opens up time in your schedule, directly improving your quality of life.

Keeping Meal Prep Fresh

A common complaint about meal prepping is that you’re essentially eating leftovers all the time—kissing variety and freshness goodbye. But as you’ll see soon enough, it’s actually easy to set up a diverse rotation of foods that keep well, as long as you follow a few simple steps.

meal prep containers

Top Meal Prep Techniques

The more organized you are about preparing weekly meals, the simpler it gets. Here’s what I do to keep my meal-prepping easy and achievable:

  • Pre-prep ingredients: When recipes call for anything that needs to be peeled, chopped, or sliced, do it ahead of time and store the results in sealable containers so they’ll be ready as soon as you need them. This might seem like an extra step at first, but it actually makes cooking smoother and less stressful in the long run.
  • Cook in batches: Make several portions of each meal at once so that you won’t have to prep again if you want to eat the same thing later in the week. If you’re really partial to a specific recipe, try doubling (or even tripling) it!
  • Store in single portions: Once you’ve made a batch, break it up into individual meals and store them separately. This helps with portion control and ensures that you don’t run out of food you’ve prepped before the week is out.

Essential Meal Prep Equipment

Via Amazon.

UMEIED Glass Meal Prep Containers

Price: $39.99

Buy Here

These sealable glass containers are a great way to store individual portions of food once you’ve made it. They’re dishwasher safe and come in sets of 10.

16 Ounce Glass Mason Jars for Overnight Oats with Lids in Vibrant Colors - Portable Storage 16 Oz Glass Jars with Lids for Oatmeal, Meal Prep, Pudding - Stackable Yogurt Containers with Lids - 6 Pack

Via Amazon.

16 oz Glass Mason Jars

Price: $26.99

Buy Here

Ideal for storing breakfasts like my Overnight Oats (see recipes below) or pre-prepped ingredients, these high-quality glass jars have leak-free lids and are designed to stack easily.

PackIt Mod Lunch Bento Food Storage Container, Steel Gray, Shatterproof Crystal Clear Base, with Leak-resistant Dividers and Lid, Microwavable, Dishwasher Safe, Perfect for Meal Prep

Via Amazon.

PackIt Mod Lunch Bento Food Storage Container

Price: $39.99

Buy Here

These containers make it easy to bring whole meals to work (or anywhere else you need to go) when you’re ready to eat the food you’ve prepared. The dividers inside are adjustable so that you can store multiple items in the same container and adjust portions to your preferences.

Foods to Focus On

Not all foods keep the same, so I recommend recipes that focus on a few specific ingredients. Here’s a list of healthy foods that you can put in the fridge for a week without sacrificing their freshness:

  • Root vegetables: These healthy, filling veggies are easy to roast and store since they don’t wilt like leafy veggies.
  • Crunchy greens: Tough but nutritious veggies like carrots and celery store well and are packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Spinach and kale: Way more resilient than lettuce, these are the leafy greens that you can store reliably for days. Just don’t dress them until you need them, since they can still soak up moisture and get soft.
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, and long-grain brown rice are healthy carb sources that can keep in the fridge all week.
  • Lean meat: Fish and chicken can last for a few days in the fridge once they’re cooked and properly stored—but make sure to cook them within a day or two of buying them.
  • Dairy: Yogurt, kefir, and cheese can all keep for weeks in cold storage.
  • Whole fruits: Most fruits can last a few days in the fridge. They’re good natural sources of sugar and a great way to keep variety in your diet as the seasons change.
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes: Most of these don’t even need to be refrigerated (with beans you’ve already cooked being the exception).

Need more ingredient inspiration? Find more foods that fit on the Eat Clean™ Diet.

tosca reno with an avocado

Recipes for Success

Here are a few different recipes I rely on for effective meal prepping, broken down into different nutritional categories so you can make what you crave and commit to your Eat Clean™ regimen:

Prepare for Cleaner Eating

Doing a little work to stay organized at the start of each week sets you up for stability and success when you’re trying to Eat Clean™ every day. Use the tips, tools, and tasty recipe ideas above to get your ducks (or chickens?) in a row and make sure meal prepping is as easy as possible.

For more support on your Eat Clean™ journey, check out my health and wellness programs, which can provide you with the structure and guidance you need to reach your goals. Together, we’ll help you enjoy a more efficient, vibrant, and rewarding routine so that you can step out of your old habits and into a life you’ll love even more.

Tosca

Tosca Reno

Author, columnist, motivational speaker, reality TV star, radio personality, consultant, mother and wife, Tosca Reno has been inspiring millions with the Eat Clean™️ Diet series and sharing the success she's had with weight loss and Clean Eating.

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