One of the best ways to get started on how to meal prep is by looking into your schedule. How many days do you work this week? Are your work days back to back? Are you self employed? If you are, I’m sure you have a schedule right? Do you have a 9 to 5? No matter what your story, plan ahead. If you’re still not sure, simply cook 1-2 meals. Do your best to predict your schedule. It will save you lots of time, and waste.Do your best to predict your schedule. It will save you lots of time, and waste.… Click To Tweet
What foods should I use?
The ones that can withstand the fridge a couple days when stored properly. There is no such thing as official “meal prep” food but here are some I’ve used for years that hold up well. (again, when stored properly)
- bell peppers
- grape or cherry tomatoes
- green beans
- brussel sprouts (not that often)
- sweet potato
- salads (no dressing, pre washed)
- all citrus fruits
- ground beef (not too often)
- steak (not too often)
- ground turkey (often)
- pork chops
- pork loin
and on, and on, but…
this is just an example of the foods I use regularly. There is no wrong or right. Mix and match. Add, take away. Try new things but most importantly, make something your guaranteed to eat later on. Let’s keep waste to a minimum right?
How long is the food good for?
Ok, let’s get specific.
Veggies like the ones I mentioned above (asparagus, green beans, zucchini, etc), lightly sautéed/cooked have easily lasted me 3-4 days. Keep them crisp. Avoid overcooking.
rice & quiona
Based off of my experience with rice and quinoa, these could easily be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in an air tight container. Keeping the air out is essential to the taste and texture. I normally add a little water when reheating.
Per foodsafety.gov: Raw poultry in the fridge, store no longer than 2 days. Cooked poultry can be stored in the fridge 3-4 days. Chicken stored in the freezer should be used within 9 months raw, or 6 months cooked, for best quality.
Refrigerate fresh seafood no longer than 2 days. Cooked seafood can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Wrap seafood tightly before storing in the freezer and use within 4 months.
Per foodsafety.gov: Cook or freeze your ground beef within 2 days of purchase. If refrigerated, keep below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) or below and use within 2 days. Ground beef is safe indefinitely if kept frozen, but will lose quality over time. Best to use within 4 months. Cooked ground beef can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Raw eggs in their shells last 3 to 5 weeks. Once you remove the shell, use within 4 days.
Products made primarily of eggs, like quiches, can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. If frozen, use within 2 months.
My go to recipe step by step
Here is an example of my simple, delicious, go to or meal prep recipe. Grilled chicken with sweet potato and asparagus. Yes, I’m sure you’ve seen this before.
Learn how to meal prep this chicken, asparagus and sweet potato meal for five days with these 5 easy steps.
First wash the sweet potato, then poke holes around it with a fork. It takes 55 mins in the oven at 400F, so do this first. (To find out how to prep sweet potato in bulk, read here.)
Prepare chicken. In this prep we used black pepper, kosher salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Cook 10-15 mins or until internal temp reads 165F. (To read Top 3 Reasons Your Chicken is Dry, read here.)
Wash and cut asparagus. Pat dry. Spray or use your choice of oil. Sprinkle salt, black pepper and low sodium soy sauce (optional). Cook on medium heat, 1-3 mins. Do not overcook. (For our Garlic Parmesan recipe, read here.)
Prepare snacks of choice. Lean towards whole fruits and/or nuts. We used red delicious apples and a trail mix that contained cashews, almonds, dried fruit and dark chocolate. (To see how to prep for delicious smoothies, read here.)
Prepare your containers. In this example, we used 3/4 cup sweet potato, 5 spears of asparagus, and about 4 oz chicken breast.
- Make sure sweet potatoes go in first. They need time to cool after baking.
- When cooking chicken, cover pan if needed to make sure internal temp reaches 165F. Also keeps chicken moist.
- Don’t overcook asparagus. Make sure they keep some bite.
- Top sweet potato with pecans for some crunch.
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