It’s time to say goodbye to lazy Sundays — or, at least, a portion of them. The last day of the weekend is the perfect time to prepare your meals for the rest of the week. And doing so is more than just a convenience to you — it helps you save money and eat healthier when you have hearty, balanced lunches and dinners at the ready.
Once you’re on board with the idea, you’ll need an arsenal of recipes to pull from each week. Get started here with our 10 favorite meal prep ideas for quick, healthy plates.
There’s nothing more comforting on a chilly day than a tasty bowl of soup. And, soup makes for the perfect meal prep because most require only one pot, which means you can prep it and another dish for the week ahead — multi-tasking is the name of the game.
So, try this protein-rich soup with chicken and chickpeas. You’ll get enough flavor from the added coconut milk and peanut butter to get you through the week, we promise.
Here’s another great lunch option — a Mediterranean pasta salad packed with fresh veggies. In fact, if you’ve ever had a Greek salad, you can probably guess all that goes into this delicious dish. Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, feta cheese and an herb vinaigrette make the perfect combo that you’ll look forward to eating at noon for the next week.
Paleo meal preppers, listen up — these meatballs will soon become one of your go-to recipes. Whip up a batch at the start of the week, and you’ll have a lean protein to go with your nightly dinners. If you want, you can freshly roast veggies or make mashed potatoes each night, a quick side to go with your pre-made main.
Spicy sausage links are tasty enough to fuel you through the workday — or inspire you to get finished, go home and eat. This hearty bowl incorporates Premio chicken sausage, as well as a slew of spices that bring out all of its intricate flavors. You’ll feel satiated after eating this, too, since it also includes a scoop of quinoa, leafy greens and fresh tomatoes.
This tasty recipe has all of the warm, hearty goodness you could want from a weekday meal. Plus, its creator has come up with the perfect way to store it — keeping the noodles sans broth will ensure they stay firm for a week’s worth of eating. And they suggest pouring in some broth if you serve this as dinner so that it’s extra filling. For lunch, though, you can just create layers of salmon, sweet potato and soba noodles in grab-and-go containers.
The great thing about chili is that it’s so customizable. You can throw in lingering veggies or cans of beans, and they won’t change the flavor — they’ll just add to the heartiness. We love this recipe because it all goes into a slow cooker, which means it’s a pretty hands-off prep process. In other words, if you make this taco chili, you can resume your scheduled lazy Sunday activities as soon as everything’s cooking.
Need to incorporate more veggies into your daily diet? If so, this meal prep option is perfect to fold into your rotation. It features broccolini, red onion and kale. Plus, you get some added vitamins and minerals from sweet potatoes — and who doesn’t love a bit of starch with every meal? Top it all off with perfectly roasted chickpeas and a delectable tahini sauce and you’ve got yourself a dinner.
This recipe is the second on this list to incorporate southern European flavors, and for good reason — they taste fresh all week long. This time, though, you’ll skip the pasta for quinoa and add some grilled chicken on top. And the addition of cool hummus makes it even more flavorful and fun — pack a pita if you want extra dipping power.
The title’s a mouthful, but you won’t mind once you dig into this hearty lunch or dinner option. It gets a ton of flavor from the added pesto, which is good news if you don’t love eating veggies plain. Again, a hearty helping of quinoa will fill you up, but you can get creative and try other grains here, too.
These lentil burgers make for the best kind of meal prep. You can freeze them and pluck them out whenever you need a burger fix. They last for about a month in the freezer, so add lentil burgers to your Sunday prep once every four weeks or so. That way, you have an option when you can’t be bothered to cook — which is what this is all about.
Now, you have the tools to revolutionize your weekly cooking schedule. Make Sunday into your prep day and piece together the hearty meals that’ll get you through the week. You never know — you might just start to look forward to your weekly cooking session. We certainly know you’ll look forward to cracking into those containers and enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and the founder of Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys yoga, red wine, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @ JenniferELandis.
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