5 Easy and Healthy Prep Ahead Meal Ideas

Flavia Calina 0
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Eating healthy is difficult enough even when you do have plenty of time. When your schedule is packed and you’re scrambling to get any kind of meal or snack, it can be even more challenging. Fortunately, meal planning is a simple solution that can set you up for culinary success even on your busiest weeks. These recipe ideas are easy to prepare so you can grab what you need in a pinch without having to settle for fast food.

1. Sheet Pan Suppers

Anything that combines your entree and side dishes into one easy recipe is a winner, and sheet pan suppers fit the bill. The formula is completely customizable based on your unique tastes, so you can use this method again and again without getting into a food rut.

Start with your protein of choice. Opt for smaller, leaner cuts that don’t require hours of cooking to be flavorful and tender, including:

  • Boneless skinless chicken
  • Salmon cutlets
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Jumbo shrimp
  • Sirloin steaks

You can sear the meat first or place it directly on the sheet pan to save time. Add your favorite diced potatoes and fresh veggies, such as carrots, green beans, or onions. Toss everything in olive oil, salt, pepper, and the seasonings of your choice. Roast for 20-30 minutes (depending on your ingredients) and enjoy for dinner tonight and leftover throughout the week.

2. Smoothies and Shakes

When you’re really short on time and need to eat on the go, meal replacement shakes are a great choice that you can fix in a flash. You can choose to buy a product that’s ready to go or customize your own instead. Assemble smoothie kits to store in your freezer in individual containers or bags. When you need one, simply dump everything in your blender, add your liquid of choice, and push start. When crafting your own smoothie recipes, try to include plenty of protein and a variety of produce.

3. Salad Jars

With the right strategy, you can make delicious and satisfying salads days in advance without worrying about wilted greens. Use a mason jar and start by placing your dressing of choice on the bottom. Add your proteins and fats next, followed by heartier vegetables. Top it all off with your greens and seal it tight for a salad that’s easy to grab in a hurry. When you’re ready to eat, simply dump the contents of the jar into a bowl, toss to combine, and enjoy.

4. Healthy Soups

For a satisfying meal that will also stock your fridge, make a big batch of nutritious soup. Many recipes come together quickly and they are an easy way to give your body the protein and produce it needs to stay healthy and energized. Classic chicken noodle is a great choice and you can make it even easier by using a store-bought precooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. Simply pull the meat and add it to some low-sodium broth. Don’t skimp on the onions, celery, carrots, and parsley to increase your vegetable intake. You can also opt for whole-grain noodles to add even more protein, plus more fiber, and heart-healthy ingredients.

5. Balanced Burritos

When you have a good assembly line strategy in place, you can make dozens of healthy burritos in no time, so you can stock your fridge or your freezer with this easy handheld meal. Look for whole-grain wrap options and low-fat cheese to cut the calories without sacrificing nutrition and taste. Then add in your protein of choice; eggs or turkey sausage work well for a breakfast version or you can keep things traditional with chicken, ground turkey, or lean ground beef. Wrap them up individually and portion out some tasty salsa in small cups to pair with them. Store them in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for months.

Even when life is chaotic, you can still nourish your body with healthy and satisfying foods. Set aside one day a week to prepare just a few make-ahead meals like these to help you stay fueled.