More than 60 SUPER EASY ways to squeeze in meal prep when you are short on time! Lots of ideas that take under 15 minutes of effort.
Hi friends! I know that some weekends, it's just HARD to fit meal prep in. I struggle with this myself, so I know you must as well!
Today I'm sharing more than 60 ideas that are going to help you squeeze it in, even when life gets super busy and hectic.
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Some prep is better than none
This is my mantra when I start to talk myself out of doing my meal prep. I am ALWAYS so happy when I spend even just 10 minutes prepping something.
It helps me eat healthier. It reduces my stress. And it saves me money!
So let's talk 60 ways to meal prep when you don't have time! Criteria: easy, effective, and under 15 minutes of prep time.
Watch the video below to hear me describe the four strategies I use to squeeze in meal prep when I'm short on time. You can find more meal prep videos on my YouTube channel!
1. Portion things out
This might sound silly, but portioning things out is a super important step of meal prep, and when I find myself short on time, I will just focus on portioning ingredients out. It's such an easy win!
Here are some recipes you can portion out for meal prep:
- veggies & hummus (find 7 Amazing Hummus Recipes here if you have a little extra time to make your own from scratch!)
- fruit & Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip
- fruit & yogurt parfaits (and quinoa if you want a boost of protein!)
- trail mix
- make a bento snack box (like this Vegan Bento Snack Box!)
- portion out ingredients for overnight oats (like these Fruit on the Bottom Overnight Oats or these Overnight Steel Cut Oats)
- make some Frozen Smoothie Packs
- make a batch of salad dressing (here are 7 Basic Vinaigrette Recipes)
2. Wash & chop stuff
When you have pre-washed & chopped veggies waiting for you in the freezer, you are SO much more likely to actually eat them! Pro-tip: store them in clear storage containers so you can see exactly what you have. You are much more likely to eat them!
- Rice cauliflower (see my tutorial + video on how to make cauliflower rice)
- chop & peel veggies for veggies & dip
- wash & shred kale and/or romaine
- give your berries a quick vinegar wash
- chop up salad components like cucumber (lasts 2-3 days), bell peppers (last 4-5 days), onions (lasts up to 4 days)
- cut up veggies for roasting like zucchini (lasts up to 4 days), green onions (lasts up to 1 week depending on freshness), brussels sprouts (up to 4 days), broccoli & cauliflower (great for 1 week), and so many more!
- spiralize zucchini, carrots, cabbage, butternut squash and more! (note- sweet potato cannot be pre-spiralized as it hardens)
3. Assemble but don't cook
Aka: freezer packs! I love love LOVE portioning out some chicken into a marinade or into freezer crockpot or instant pot meals, and you can find a TON of these recipes on my site!
Here are some 'assemble but don't cook' meals
- portion chicken into marinades (here are 7 marinades and here are 7 more!)
- make some freezer crockpot chicken packs (here are 7 Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes you can freeze)
- here are some other freezer crockpot recipes that take under 15 minutes to assemble:
- African Peanut Stew
- Freezer Asian Peanut Chicken
- Crockpot Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew
- Slow Cooker Black Bean, Quinoa Sweet Potato Stew
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Lentil Curry
- Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Stew
- Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken
- Slow Cooker Honey Lime Chicken
- Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken
- make some freezer Instant Pot chicken packs (here are 7 Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipes you can freeze)
- here are some other freezer Instant Pot recipes that take under 15 minutes to assemble:
- portion out some meals that you can cook up in a skillet or in the oven:
- Vegan Moroccan Chickpea Skillet
- Baked Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Hoisin Turkey Meatloaf
- Portuguese Freezer Chicken Bake (may take closer to 20 min to prep)
4. Cook a big batch
Have a slow cooker, an Instant Pot or even a rice cooker? You can spend 10 minutes prepping a simple recipe, and let your appliances do the hard work.
- Easy big batch slow cooker recipes:
- Easy big batch Instant Pot recipes:
- any of these 7 Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipes (double the recipe and keep the cook time the same)
- Instant Pot Chickpeas
- Perfect Black Beans
- Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats
- Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
- Perfect Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
- Easy big batch oven recipes:
- Easy Baked Tofu (double or triple this recipe for max efficiency)
- Simple Baked Apples (super easy to scale up)
- Herb Zucchini Egg Bake (double it!)
- Peach Baked Oatmeal
- Sheet Pan Eggs
- Sheet Pan Pancakes
- How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
- Rock your rice cooker (or stove top!) and cook some grains up:
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