How to Meal Prep for the Week

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Are you wanting to get started with healthy meal prep for your family? Meal prep can make healthy eating with a family so much easier. This healthy meal prep for a week lays out how to make ahead food so that you can have clean eating meals all week long!

The plan includes clean eating meal prep ideas and recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks to last for 7 days.

Meal prepping a week’s worth of meals can:

  • Save you a ton of time in the kitchen
  • Make it easier to prepare healthy meals for your family
  • Help save money by eating out less and only buying what you need

As a busy mom this can be a real life saver! It may take a little getting use to, but once you get good at meal prep you can do it relatively quickly, especially if you have a collection of healthy recipes that work well for making ahead.

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Planning out Healthy Meal Prep for a Week

The goal here is to show you how to healthy meal prep and share some useful tips so that you can make a plan that works for you and your family. I even have a clean eating meal planner for you to download below to help with the planning process.

Step 1 – Start with this clean eating grocery list. Print a copy and go through and cross off any foods you already have and any you don’t like.

Step 2 – Check out the sales at your grocery store. When eating healthy on a budget it’s a good idea to focus on sales and seasonal items and then base your meals around those items. Add the best items to your list.

Step 3 – Choose recipes based off the grocery items.

You want to make sure that you have options for every meal. Also take into account your schedule and plan meals that make sense depending on how much time you have to devoted to cooking that day.

This easy meal prep for the week includes:

  • 3 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • 1 -2 make ahead snacks
  • 1 drink in bulk (so gallon of tea, multiple jars of fruit infused water, or smoothie packs)

If you need ideas for what to make, scroll down. I’ve also included some of my favorite meal prep recipes for the week.

Step 4 – Grocery shop!

Now that you’ve planned out what you’ll be eating, let’s move on to how to prep for a week of healthy eating.

Download a copy of our healthy eating meal planner below to help work out your plan for the week.

Weekly Meal Prep

I’ve found it’s advantageous to prep for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and healthy drinks – this way you’ll have an easier time putting together every meal during the week.

For each meal, you’ll prep as much as necessary to make the recipe easy for you to make the day of.

This may mean chopping vegetables and marinating/seasoning meat for some recipes. While for others, it may mean making the recipe and storing, or dividing into portions for later.

Remember meal prep is very flexible! You can prep ahead everything you need for the week, some of the components, or just a few major things that will save time. Either way you will be ahead of the game when it comes time to cook and eat.

How much time does meal prep take?

Look to set aside 1-2 hours to prep for a week of healthy eating. But, even in just an hour you can get a lot done.

And often as a busy mom, you can effectively meal prep in small pockets of time over a few day period. So don’t feel like you can’t meal prep if you don’t have a lot of time.

Here’s how to do it.

Breakfast meal prep

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day to make ahead. Yet, it is often over looked when it comes to meal prep.

Try some of these healthy make ahead breakfast ideas, so that no matter how rushed your mornings (or how exhausted you are), everyone can still eat a good meal.

This is an easy breakfast bento box to make for a no cook breakfast with overnight oats, boiled egg, raspberries, and an energy bite.

Here are some more healthy breakfast meal prep ideas:

Pick 3 recipes to make this week and double each.

It can be helpful to pick recipes with similar ingredients.

For example – make blueberry baked oatmeal, a breakfast meal prep box with blueberries, the sweet potato breakfast bowls and a smoothie pack with blueberries.

Double and triple recipes to make the most out of your time. Then freeze the extra batches.

The homemade oatmeal packs are one of my favorites to prep ahead for breakfast. It’s so fast to throw together a bunch of these packs in different combinations.

Breakfast taquitos with eggs and spinach is another favorite to make. Get the full recipe for this one in my Busy Mom Meal Prep Plan. You make a big batch of eggs, roll, bake and freeze. Then pop in the toaster oven to reheat.

Ready to get prepping?

Breakfast Prep Checklist

  • Boil a dozen eggs for on the go boxes (and to use for snacks + lunches!)
  • Make oatmeal packs or overnight oats
  • Make smoothie packs
  • Make ahead 1 baked recipe – egg muffins, baked oatmeal or breakfast taquitos
  • Put together breakfast boxes

Lunch meal prep

Lunch is great to prep ahead whether you eat at home, or on the go.

I like to make a big batch of salad, then eat it over a few days. You can divide into meal prep boxes like these, or into small containers.

A good way to do it is to pick 2-3 recipes and alternate, that way you’re not eating the same thing every day.

Here are some healthy meal prep lunches:

  • Chicken salad
  • Egg salad
  • Easy Greek salad – with/without chicken
  • Tuna pasta salad
  • Avocado egg salad from Busy Mom Meal Prep
  • Chicken, veggie quesadillas
  • Grilled chicken thighs (this is my favorite meal prep chicken recipe!)
  • Turkey wraps (very easy)

A big batch salad is easy to make and convenient at lunch time. If you make a green salad, it can also be served as a dinner side.

Salads can be stored in individual portions in containers, in jars, or just in one big bowl like this to graze off all week.

I like to make a big batch of chicken just for lunches that can then be used for wraps, sandwiches, bento lunch boxes, taco bowls, or quesadillas.

Cooking food in big batches really helps save time in the kitchen later in the week. Learn more about batch cooking here.

Lunch Prep Check List

  • Grill (or bake) a big batch of chicken
  • Chop veggies for a big batch salad of your choice
  • Make big jar of homemade dressing
  • Shred cheese, chop veggies for wraps or sandwiches
  • Make bento lunch boxes, or store in containers for later

Dinner Meal Prep

Having dinner meal prepped can be a life saver when you lead a busy life.

The easiest thing to do is pick recipes that require minimal effort and can be made in the slow cooker, instant pot, or oven. This will really cut down on the time you spending actually cooking.

Find more kitchen tips for busy moms here.

I like to make freezer meals for later in the week and then just prep everything else for simple 30 minute (or less!!) meals which are stored in the fridge.

Easy Healthy Dinners to Meal Prep:

Pick 5 dinners and plan to have leftovers at least 2 nights.

For Sunday prep, I’ll make taco chicken for dinner. Then while it’s cooking, and I already have the chopping board out, I chop the veggies for black beans, tortilla soup, and shrimp alfredo.

The soup gets made into a freezer meal, and the rest goes into the fridge.

And then, I season and pack the meat into portions for later. It’s so much easier and saves a bunch of time to season everything all at once.

Any meat not being eaten within 2 days goes in the freezer. You just have to remember to take it out the night before you want to eat it.

Check out more healthy dinner ideas for families here.

Sides can also be prepped ahead and then served with multiple meals:

  • Sheet pan Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus and mushrooms
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Big batch salad
  • Instant pot “baked” potatoes (my favorite easy side dish!)

Dinner Prep Checklist

  • Chop all veggies ahead
  • Make freezer meals for soups and stews.
  • Store rest of pre chopped veggies in containers ready to go in the fridge.
  • Prepare meat packs of pre seasoned, or pre marinated meat for the fridge (early in the week) and freezer (later in the week).
  • Prep 1-2 sides

Snack Meal Prep

Making ahead snacks is a must for weekly meal prep. When you have healthy snacks on hand, you are so much less likely to opt for junk food.

Healthy Snacks Prep Ideas:

I like to make a few snack boxes and 1-2 snack recipes. Energy balls, granola bars and muffins are some my favorites. All go into the fridge divided in containers for later for quick grabbing.

Snack Prep Checklist

  • Wash and chop fruit and veggies
  • Make dip for snack boxes
  • Make into snack boxes
  • Make energy bites, fudge, granola bars or muffins
  • Divide and store in the fridge or freezer for later

Drink Meal Prep

Drinks are one area that rarely gets mentioned for meal prepping. Having healthy hydration options can be really helpful when you are trying to eat healthier. Prepping healthy drinks is super simple too.

Healthy drink meal prep ideas:

You can make these healthy drinks in 32 oz mason jars, small pitchers, or gallon containers. The smoothie packs store well in sandwich bags, or silicon packs like these.

Above is pictured, my apple cider hydration drink for pregnancy and breastfeeding (which originally appeared here on Instagram) that is easy to prep in multiple jars.

  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • a big chunk of fresh ginger root- chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • juice of 1 large lime (or 2 little ones)
  • 1/2 cup of mixed berries ( I used frozen)

Add everything to a big mason jar and just cover with warm water (About 2/3 cup). Mix to dissolve honey. Next, top off the jar with cold water and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hrs). Keeps in the fridge up to 6 days.

Drink Meal Prep Checklist

  • Wash and chop fruit, herbs and ginger
  • Add to jars
  • Make an assembly line and fill smoothie packs
  • Store in the fridge, or freezer for later

Whether you have 2 hours or just a 15-20 minutes here and there, it is possible to make ahead healthy food for a week of clean eating for the whole family.

So what do you think about this prep plan? Share with us in the comments below!

Healthy Meal Prep with Grocery List

Are you are looking a complete meal prep plan with grocery list?

We’ve got you covered with our Busy Mom Meal Prep Plan – includes 15 easy healthy recipes, grocery list and step by step meal prep instructions so you can make it happen!

You’ll get recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks + smoothie packs. Including many of the meal prep recipes from above.

More on Healthy Eating from Birth Eat Love

Clean Eating Weekly Meal Plan

Fall Meal Plan for a Week of Clean Eating

Meal Planning Ideas for Busy Families

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