Meal Prep Tips with a Dietitian

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Make Meal Prep a Simple Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle

The secret to meal prep is that it needs to work for your lifestyle, or it won’t work at all.

I have worked with now thousands of clients on this topic, 1 on 1 and through group workshops. The thing I most commonly see is unrealistic expectations for what meal prep should be. There is no one way to meal prep. In reality, there are many ways to make this work. The most important thing is deciding how this needs to work for you and your family.

Here are a few go-to meal prep routines for different lifestyle needs.

Option 1

Bulk Meal Prep

If you work Monday to Friday and you want to do a large meal prep over the weekend. This could looke like grocery shopping Saturday morning, and cooking/prepping Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Here you might make 1-2 breakfast options, say a large egg casserole, and 2-4 jars of overnight oats. You might make 2-3 lunch options, say chicken salad, turkey cheese wraps, and a large Greek pasta salad. You could make 2-3 recipes for dinner that store well if you are not able to cook dinners at home. You might also have several snacks like trail mix, apples, nuts, granola bars, yogurt cups, cheese sticks, and any of your other favorites. This method could take ~2-4+ hours in total but allows you maximum convenience during the week.

Option 2

Mini Meal Prep

If you feel meal prepping over the weekend won’t work for your family, that’s just fine! Maybe you have a few short time blocks during the week you can cook and prep. This is a great option. Find two or three 30-60-minute time blocks during the weekdays. In these blocks, you can cook 1-2 recipes at a time or chop veggies, wash fruit and get ready for another 1-3 days of eating at a time. Your weekends are more free and you have more food variety, but you will have some meal prep work to do during the week.

Option 3

Food Prep

Different from options 1 and 2, with a food prep routine you aren’t focused on making actual meals, but meal components to put a la carte staples in the fridge. Here’s how this can work. Cook 1-3 protein sources, maybe ground turkey, 1 batch of hard-boiled eggs, and 3-4 chicken breasts in the crockpot. Do the same for carbs, fat, and fruits and vegetables.


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Happy Meal Prepping!

-Dietitian Ellen

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