We are nearing the end of month 3 of 2019…how are y’alls new years resolutions coming along? *insert eye emoji* Clean eating/meal prepping on a consistent basis is one of the first things that a lot of people, myself included, tend to lose sight of throughout the year. Falling off track with your healthy eating habits can happen as a result of many things such as getting burnt out on cooking, having one ‘binge weekend’ or meal that just kind of never stopped, needing new ideas or just simply being bored of eating the staple baked chicken, rice and steamed veggies (no shade). None of us are perfect and the best part about a lifestyle change is the fact that every day is a new chance to bounce back and start again! Whether you’re looking into starting meal prep for the first time or you’re a veteran who just needs some new ideas to help recommit yourself back to the routine – fear not, I’ve got you covered!
Today, I am sharing FIFTEEN (not-so-boring) beginner friendly, healthy meal prep recipes!
So, why meal prep??
I’m going to be completely honest with you, I was 100% anti-meal prep when the whole fad began to gain popularity mainly because I couldn’t fathom the idea of eating the exact same thing 5 days in a row. Soon after, I realized that I was basically already doing that, just without each portion perfectly organized into containers. Now that I have been doing it for the better part of the last four years, I honestly cannot imagine my weekday schedule without it. Some of the main benefits of meal prepping are that it is convenient, cost effective and also helpful with portion control when you have healthy meals at your fingertips. As a busy graduate student with long days, one of the best parts about meal prepping is knowing that 1) I only have to cook once a week and; 2) After one day of prepping (usually Saturday or Sunday), for the rest of the week all I have to do is grab and go for lunch and come home and reheat for dinner. It’s that simple! Knowing this alone takes so much stress off of my already stressful load of weekly responsibilities. Another benefit of meal prepping, and just cooking in general, is that it makes it a lot easier to resist the temptation of eating out, when you can honestly be more excited about what you’ve cooked at home which is a win win for your waistline AND your wallet.
Every once in a while, I find myself becoming bored of meal prepping and when I’m bored, that’s when I’m most likely to mess up. While it’s okay to take breaks and indulge, it’s equally as important to get right back on track because real results come with consistency. I encourage you to switch it up in order to keep yourself motivated and excited about your healthy food choices! I hope this post shows all of the beginners that there’s sooo much more to the world of meal prepping than baked chicken, brown rice and broccoli. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this meal and I find that it is a popular, beginner friendly go-to that I even re-visit myself when I’m in the mood for it. However, rest assure that it is not your only option. I have compiled a list of 15 healthy meal prep recipes consisting of chicken, turkey & vegan/vegetarian friendly meals – so there’s something for everyone! Each recipe is linked, so just click on the title to be redirected.
One final, yet vital, key to meal prep success is making sure that you have good quality meal prep containers – preferably ones that are plastic free (e.g. glass). I purchased these glass meal prep containers from Amazon in 2017 and after consistent daily use, they’re still going strong! I recommend glass over plastic because they are more durable, have a longer life and thus are better for the environment. Unlike plastic, glass containers also do not contain harmful chemicals that may leach into your food when heating and they do not stain from colored sauces, dips, etc.
Hopefully the ideas in this post will give you the jumpstart that you’ve been needing or wanting to spice things up in the kitchen! Enjoy!
1. Chicken and Hummus Plate | Project Meal Plan
Save your coins by just saying “no” to the overpriced Starbucks bistro box and try making your own instead. This deliciously portable lunch is only 357 calories per serving and packs a whopping 32g of protein!
2. Buffalo Chicken Ranch Meal Prep | 40 Aprons
A great lunch option that is Whole 30, paleo and keto friendly! Only 287 calories per serving!
3. Italian Chicken Meal Prep Bowls | Eazy Peazy Mealz
This entire recipe comes together on a single sheet pan, making for a lunch/dinner that’s low in mess, but high in flavor!
4. Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Lo Mein Bowls | Life Made Sweeter
Skip the drive thru and opt for a healthier version of this take-out favorite.
5. Jerk Chicken Meal Prep Bowls | Food Lovin’ Family
Sweet, spicy and just all around delicious! Make a week’s worth of this meal in only 30 minutes!
6. Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs | Eat Yourself Skinny
The sweet and spicy flavors of the honey and Sriracha give a really nice twist to traditional meatballs. If you are a Sriracha fan, this is definitely a must try…only 295 calories and 26.9g of protein per five meatballs.
7. 30 Minute Thai Basil Turkey | Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
This flavorful, dairy free dish is packed with veggies and is also Whole 30 and paleo friendly.
8. Turkey Taco Bowls w/ Cauliflower Rice | Kirbie Cravings
Taco Tuesday, meal prep style!
9. Dirty Rice w/ Ground Turkey | My Body My Kitchen
A healthy spin on a classic creole dish. Enjoy this gluten-free dish on its own or accompanied by your favorite veggies.
10. Turkey Meatloaf and Veggies | My Body My Kitchen
Meatloaf tends to get a bad rep, but I beg to differ. The combination of BBQ sauce and fresh thyme makes this recipe a tad different, and better in my opinion, than your traditional meatloaf. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
VEGAN & VEGETARIAN RECIPES
11. Sweet Potato Fajitas Meal Prep | The Fit Kitchen
Sweet potatoes are extremely versatile and one of my favorite subs for meat in Mexican dishes, especially tacos. This recipe is must try for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!
12. Cold Sesame Noodle Meal Prep Bowls | Sweet Peas and Saffron
If you’re looking for a quick, grab-n-go, no heat lunch then this one’s for you! No microwave required (but you will need a spiralizer).
13. Vegan Butternut Squash Casserole | Meal Prep on Fleek
Who doesn’t love a good casserole? This dish combines the delicious Mexican flavors of black beans, salsa, jalapeños and cilantro into a hearty meal made in only 20 minutes!
14. Roasted Broccoli Chickpea Quinoa Bowls | Always Nourished
Never underestimate the power of a good superfood bowl recipe! If you are a fan of Buddha bowls, I highly recommend that you try this.
15. Meal Prep Veggie Stir Fry | Wholefully
A vegetarian friendly rendition of a classic dish. Stir fry is an easy meal to make meatless with minimal effort. Customize it to your liking and enjoy all week long!
Your turn: What are some of your go-to meal prep recipes?
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Until next time,
**DISCLAIMER** Image source credit and ownership for all recipe photos used belong to the respective authors of the original linked recipe post.