Tips, tricks, and meal prep hacks to help you save time and make things easier each week while preparing healthy meals!
After almost three years of the meal prepping basics post being THE number one post on The Live Fit Girls, I’ve finally realized that you ladies really want things all about meal prepping…and I finally hear you loud and clear!
From now on, the recipes I share are going to be focused on meal prepping. Recipes that make enough servings for leftovers, recipes that re-heat easily, and tips on how to prepare, store, and re-heat each and every one.
Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be going over all the older recipes on the blog, and adding tips on how to meal prep each one, and give some facelifts to a few photos around here.
I’m so excited because I finally feel like I have a “direction” when it comes to creating new recipes for you…so get ready for some amazing summer, and grill-friendly meal prep recipes in the next week weeks!
And until then…I wanted to share a few amazing “hacks” to make your meal prepping even easier!
Meal Prep Hacks to Save Time
Use the Slow Cooker – The slow cooker has been my JAM lately working on the Healthy Meal Prep Made Easy Guide! I’ve been prepping at least one meal in the slow cooker every week for the last 6 months or so… and it’s definitely going to be staying that way!
There are an infinite amount of recipes you can make in there, and it makes meal prepping so. much. EASIER. You literally just “set it, and forget it”. A few hours later, you have delicious food ready to be portioned. I recommend starting your prep with your slow cooker meal, and then work on everything else while it’s cooking.
FACT: I’ll actually probably end up buying a second slow cooker so I can do the next meal prep tip at the same time! DOUBLE HACKING LIKE A GIRLBOSS!
Fill your Freezer – Freezer meals can seriously be a life saver — especially for my busy mamas and working ladies! Why not save even more time when meal prepping by making DOUBLE batches of some recipes to fill your freezer and keep a stockpile of healthy meals on hand?
I mean if you’re going to be making a recipe and you’re going to be preparing everything already, take a few more minutes to “batch work” and make a second whole meal. For example, say you’re making a shepherd’s pie, why not cook all your veggies, ground turkey or beef, and mashed potatoes or cauliflower in double and make another whole tray to keep in the freezer? When life gets crazy, just pull one of those babies out and cook it up. EASY.
This works really well for slow cooker meals! Just throw everything in a big freezer zip bag (I like these reusable ones to be more eco-friendly!) and freeze it. When you’re going to cook it, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw for 24 hours, and then cook as you normally would. Or you can make a huge double — or even triple! — batch of soups or stews. Then freeze the cooked soup in individual serving containers for busy weeknight dinners. Healthy casseroles are another great option too.
I usually try to have at least three freezer options in my freezer at all times. It’s great for when I’m traveling and want to make sure Nik has food, or when I just really don’t feel like cooking. It just helps to keep things stress-free.
I love using frozen veggies like green beans, peas, corn, onions, and carrots in meal prep recipes like shepherd’s pie or in soups and stews. Veggies — like frozen broccoli or peppers — are great in stir fry or easy fried rice recipes.
And you can always make your smoothie prep even easier by using frozen fruits and veggies in your smoothie packs. And the best part about frozen produce is that the chopping is already done for you! YASSS! (More on smoothie prepping below!)
Form and Assembly Line – Keep things organized, and get your meal prep containers all ready to go BEFORE you even begin, and create a game plan. Rather than prepping and cooking each meal individually, focus on cooking everything all at once — just do it in stages.
Cook things that require the same sort of prep work together. For example, roast your veggies at the same times that you’re baking chicken or fish. Sauté things while you’re waiting for water to boil on the stove — you get the idea!
Use all of your space, and all of your equipment all at once. Plan and think of how you can save time while prepping. Once everything is all cooked, all you have to do is assemble your actual meals. Mix and match your dishes to keep things interesting!
Make Overnight Oats – Basically the ultimate meal prep breakfast. Literally one minute to prepare, and so many healthy carbs, fats, and protein in one meal. And seriously, the possibilities and combinations are endless. Do yourself a favor and get on the overnight oats train. You’ll love how easy they are, and it will make meal prep and mornings a breeze!
Try these overnight oat recipes to get you started:
You can also use things like single serve Greek yogurts, or even single serve peanut butter packs. Justin’s makes them, and they are BOMB! Or you can stock up on a few healthy snack bars to have as a quick snack. (P.s. If you’re on the Nutrition Program there are a few snack bar recipes in there for you girls!😘)
Prep your Grains in Bulk – This actually coincides really well with filling your freezer. You know I am a HUGE fan of saving time anywhere I can. One way I do that is to prep a TON of grains at once. Did you know you can actually cook and freeze brown rice?? — or really, almost any grain for that matter. YUP!
It’s something I do every few weeks and it saves SO MUCH TIME. It’s super easy, you just prep it as usual, freeze it in measured out portions, and then use it as needed. I actually have a whole post and recipe on how to freeze brown rice and quinoa, too! Check it out, it’s so simple and will be one of your go-to meal prep hacks, for sure!
The second, is to actually make your smoothies on the weekend, and then freeze them in ice cube trays. (I don’t show this in the post, but I will update it soon — promise!) I like this method when I want to have a bunch of different options. I’ll make big batches of two or three different smoothies and then freeze them. That way I can change things up, or even blend different smoothies together if I want.
Do you have any other tips for meal prepping?