1. Choose your meal prep style
Decide which meal prep style is best for you, knowing you can always change the approach or choose multiple styles. See food examples for each category and check out our recipe library for inspiration.
Meal prep styles:
Method: Choose 1 day a week to meal prep. Prepare all of your meals for the week. Store meals in containers or in the freezer and thaw later in the week.
Best for: People who don’t mind leftovers and are willing to dedicate a good portion of 1 day each week to meal prep.
Twice Weekly Prep
Method: Choose 2 days a week to meal prep, for example, Sunday and Wednesday. Prepare all of your meals and store them in containers to last 3-4 days at a time.
Best for: People who don’t mind leftovers for a few days and are willing to prep 2 times a week.
Method: This prep style applies mostly to lunch and dinner. Pick which nights you will make dinner. Cook a larger portion for your dinners. Save leftovers in a container for lunch the next day.
Best for: People who only like leftovers once and who don’t mind cooking daily.
2. Strategies that can help you reach your goals
Batch cooking: Making large batches of a specific recipe, then splitting it into individual portions to be frozen and eaten over the next few months. These make for popular warm lunch or dinner options, grains, legumes or other items that hold well in the freezer.
Ready-to-cook ingredients: Buying prepared ingredients required for specific meals as a way to cut down on cooking time in the kitchen. These include items like pre-cooked grains, cooked and seasoned proteins, and pre-chopped fruits and vegetables.
3. Planning the prep
Consider what your average week looks like.
Is there a day you have less commitments? This could be a good prep or grocery day. What are your busiest days of the week? Give yourself the least amount of work possible on this day.
Know your nutrition goals.
Prioritize your goals by planning what steps you will take to meet them. For example, if you want to include a vegetable with each dinner, be sure to buy enough vegetables for the week and have an idea of how you will be preparing them.Know your nutrition goals.
Plan the menu.
Use the Weekly Meal Planner to plan out your meals for the week. Follow the plate method of portioning to create balanced, filling meals. Remember: progress not perfection.
*Tip: Start a "meal inventory" of recipes that you've enjoyed. This can look like a physical binder, a digital folder, or an excel spreadsheet. Your inventory of meals will help streamline planning going forward.
Create your grocery list from your planned meals. Use the Grocery Planner as a guide.
Grocery shop: go in person, arrange for a pick up or schedule a delivery.
Storage and prep: clean/cut any produce to make it more accessible throughout the week. Marinate your proteins, soak any dried beans, or pre-portion snacks.
See our 7 Tips for Meal Prepping for more ideas!
Learn the steps to meal prepping with this guide