However, there is one thing we are dedicated to committing to in 2023, and that is the goal of cooking more at home. This is where these simple meal prep ideas come in. Each of the great tips below will help make the art of home cooking easier than ever, and help you squeeze more protein and heart-healthy fiber into your diet, too. Are you ready to delete Seamless once and for all? Say it with us: we get this.
4 simple meal prep ideas that will simplify the task of preparing healthy meals at home
1. Prepare your ingredients
In restaurant kitchens, one of the life-saving techniques that chefs use to get food on the table quickly and in an orderly manner is known as Maze In Place. The French phrase, which translates to “putting everything in its place,” refers to the simple task of setting up your workstation and assembling your ingredients and tools beforehand (yes, before you actually start making a dish). The key is to read your recipe ahead of time, and make sure the ingredients are washed, trimmed, chopped, measured, or chopped—in short, ready to use—before moving on to the cooking process. This is especially useful for those who like to prep meals ahead of time for the busy week ahead.
Once you’ve worked out your meal plan for the week (check out how the RD recommends doing it here), prepping your ingredients all at once will save you tons of time while preheating the oven. Pre-cutting vegetables, fruits, and the like in all of your recipes in one sitting and portioning them out once you’re ready to use them, for example, is a great way to get started. (Let’s say several of the dishes on your menu include diced onions—getting them all together at the same time is aces when it comes to efficiency.)
You can also parboil, which means partially cook or boil food (usually vegetables) until they’re slightly soft, and then finish cooking them later.
2. Cook breakfast ahead of time
We have learned that breakfast is perhaps the most important meal of the day. This means that ensuring you have plenty of options at the ready—hello, no excuses to skip breakfast any day—is a top priority when it comes to meal prep.
Enter batch cooking. Preparing breakfasts ahead of time can be the answer to your hectic early morning rush. Some of the recipes we love to make in batches include overnight oats (which are full of flavor, fiber, and protein), which you can pre-portion into small containers for easy mealtime. Homemade granola bars, smoothie cups, egg muffins, and yogurt parfaits are delicious and heart-healthy breakfast recipes that you can make ahead of time.
3. Eat meals in the freezer or refrigerator
Frozen meals are nothing to be ashamed of, especially nowadays when so many health-focused food brands offer endless nutritious options to choose from. One of our recent hits is Kevin’s Natural Foods Roasted Garlic Chicken (made without antibiotics, refined sugar, gluten, and soy), which packs 23 grams of protein per serving. This refrigerator-friendly entryway helps ensure we’re getting enough protein for a quiet, cook-free night. And when paired with a side of ready-to-heat or pre-cooked brown rice or frozen peas, it can be a balanced, nutritious dinner that’s ready in a jiffy.
4. Shop in the delicatessen section of your grocery store
Having canned foods, such as tuna and beans, ready to go in your cupboard at all times can help speed up your meal prep routine. They can last for years in your pantry, which means you always have something tasty and nutrient-rich ready to grab when you’re in a pinch. To get started, we highly recommend diving into the canned fish trend: It’s a convenient, heart-healthy, and sustainable way to go (and yes, you can use canned fish to make your own). Many More than just delicious tuna salad sandwiches).
The RD explains how to eat for optimal energy: