We all know the feeling. The clock strikes noon and your stomach starts to grumble. You’re knee-deep in work, and the last thing on your mind is what you’re going to eat for lunch. But then you remember: you didn’t have time to prepare any meal at all.
So, what do you do? Probably grab yet another sandwich or order takeout and promise to do better tomorrow, right?
Well, I’ve got good news!
Even the busiest of people can find ways to keep their meals healthy and satisfying. And yes, that includes you, the workaholic with barely any time to breathe!
All you need are just some clever meal and food-prepping hacks to make it work. And that’s exactly what we’re here to share with you.
With these 12 genius hacks, meal prepping will no longer be a time-consuming chore. Instead, it’ll become a seamless part of your routine.
Say goodbye to unhealthy takeouts and hello to nutritious meals that keep you fueled all day long!
Cut Up Smoothie Ingredients in Bulk & Bag Them
Smoothies are a great way to get in a quick and healthy meal, especially when you don’t have a lot of time in the mornings. But making them can be a hassle, right?
Well, not anymore!
Here’s a good meal prep hack:
Cut up your favorite fruits and veggies in bulk and bag them.
Spend a little time one day of the week to prep, and you’ll have perfectly portioned smoothie packs ready to go. Just grab a bag from the freezer, pop the contents into your blender, and voila! A delicious, healthy smoothie in no time.
Or Freeze Blended Smoothies in Muffin Tins
Want to save even more time? Try this:
Blend your smoothies and freeze them in muffin tins.
This way, you have ready-to-blend smoothie portions whenever you need them. Just pop a couple out of the tin, let them thaw a bit, and mix them in your blender with a splash of water.
It’s a quick, easy breakfast option that’s perfect for those busy mornings. And the best part? You’re not sacrificing health for convenience!
Season and Cook Meat Multiple Ways Using Just One Pan
Most meal prep guides recommend making a large quantity of the same food that you can then eat all throughout the week. But eating the same thing for days on end can get pretty boring.
If you want to add variety to your meals without the extra work, you could try cooking the same meat in a couple of different seasonings.
Here’s the trick:
Use aluminum foil to divide your pan into multiple sections to cook different flavors of chicken or turkey at once. Season each section according to your liking, and you’ve got two or three meals with just one cooking session!
Roast Different Vegetables with the Same Cooking Time
When it comes to roasting, a smart food prep hack is to pair vegetables that have a similar cooking time, even if you don’t plan to eat them as part of the same meal.
This way, you’ll have a couple of different healthy options ready for the week and you don’t have to wait for each pan to cook.
Fast-cooking veggies include mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus. Slow-roasting veggies are potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and parsnips.
Prepare Meat Marinades in Bulk
This hack is one I use often and it’s super simple:
Just mix your favorite spices, herbs, and liquids together in a large bowl, then portion them out into individual bags or containers. Store these in the fridge, and you’ve got ready-to-use marinades at your fingertips!
Prepping your marinades in advance means you can easily mix them with your favorite meats in the morning and cook your meal when you’re ready, putting lunch or dinner on the table in half the time.
And the longer your meat marinates, the more flavorful it will be!
Turn Leftovers into Wraps
One way to make healthy eating easier is to get creative with leftovers.
Instead of reheating them for the umpteenth time, why not turn them into wraps or nacho toppings?
Just grab some tortillas or chips, add your leftovers, and top with your favorite condiments.
It’s a quick, easy, and delicious way to repurpose your meals. Plus, it’s a great way to reduce food waste.
Make Seasoning Mixes Ahead of Time
Speaking of flavors, here’s another smart hack: make your seasoning mixes in advance.
Whether it’s your secret taco seasoning or a special blend for your grilled veggies, having these mixes ready to go can simplify your cooking process.
Just store them in airtight containers in your pantry, and you’ll always have your favorite flavors on hand.
Try Sheet pan or One-Pot Meals
One-pot and sheet pan meals are lifesavers when you’re short on time. Just toss your protein, veggies, and seasonings together, and let the oven or stove do the rest.
The best part? Minimal cleanup!
Need some inspiration?
Choose a Few Main Dishes to Use Throughout the Week
One of the smartest meal prep hacks is to choose a few dishes (main or side) that you can use in multiple ways throughout the week.
Think versatile – like a hearty roasted chicken, a batch of quinoa, or a pot of chili. These can easily be repurposed into different meals, giving you variety without extra cooking.
For example, your roasted chicken can be used in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or even as a pizza topping. Quinoa will taste equally well in a salad and in a stew, etc.
The idea here is to maximize your cooking efforts and minimize your kitchen time.
Do Your Shopping All at Once
Doing all your grocery shopping in one trip is a huge time-saver and it can also help reduce food waste.
Start by planning your meals for the week, make a list of all the ingredients you need, and then hit the supermarket. This way, you’ll avoid multiple trips to the store and you’ll only buy what you need.
Plus, having all your ingredients on hand makes the actual meal prep process a breeze.
Prep Foods Immediately After You Shop
Here’s another pro tip:
Prep your foods as soon as you get home from the store.
It may not always be possible, but it’s something you should aim for each time.
If you meal or food prep immediately after shopping, you’re already in the right mindset. You don’t have to spend time putting away groceries that you’ll eventually need to take out again, plus you’ll know exactly what you bought, so you won’t forget anything in the fridge.
So, wash and chop your veggies, marinate your meats, and store everything in clear containers. It’s much easier to start cooking when most of the prep work is already done!
Weigh Out Your Portions in Advance
An easy way to maintain control over your diet and what you eat is to weigh out your portions in advance. This is especially helpful for snacks – think nuts, seeds, or dried fruits.
Pre-portion them into individual containers or bags, and you’ll have ready-to-go snacks that won’t lead to overeating. Plus, this can help you avoid the dreaded afternoon slump by keeping your energy levels steady.