Evidence suggests that meal planning is associated with a lower risk of obesity.
However, oftentimes, one of the biggest deterrents to sticking with a healthy weight loss diet plan is the time, skill, and energy required to meal prep and cook healthy meals.
So, what are some easy healthy meal prep ideas? What are the best healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss that are simple and not time-consuming?
In this diet guide, we will discuss healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss and easy healthy meal prep ideas for the week to help you stick with your diet and weight loss goals when you are busy, don’t like cooking, or simply want to simplify healthy meal prep so you can have more time to enjoy the other parts of your life.
Let’s jump in!
10 Low-Fuss Tips For Healthy Meal Prep Ideas For The Week
#1: Think Through the Logistics
It is common to hear about people meal prepping over the weekend and setting aside individual, pre-portioned containers for each day of the week.
Similarly, grocery stores are often packed on weekend afternoons as people stock up for the upcoming week with all of the ingredients they will need for the meals they have planned.
However, while the weekends might work well for some people to meal plan, grocery shop, and put together their healthy meal prep ideas for the week, your own personal schedule and logistics may make it so that weekend meal prepping is not ideal.That’s OK; be realistic but deliberate about your own schedule.
Perhaps it works best to set aside one early morning or night during the week to do most of your cooking and/or meal prepping.
Find a time during the week that works best for you so it will be easy to consistently plan for your meal prep days.
#2: Make It Easy for Yourself
One of the common pitfalls of trying to eat healthy or trying to do meal planning and meal prepping for healthy weight loss foods is being overly ambitious in your skills or expectations for meal cooking.
You certainly don’t have to have an elaborate, exotic, or extensive menu of healthy meals and snacks that you eat every week in order to follow a healthy diet or stick with your weight loss goals.
In other words, don’t feel bad if you are not a gourmet chef with the most creative and varied healthy meals every week.
Just master a few basic dishes that you enjoy eating and that work with your budget, cooking skills, and diet goals.
Of course, if you like cooking or want to learn how to make more elaborate dishes, by all means, you should do so. But do not fall prey to feeling pressured or like you don’t know “how to cook“ so there is no point in trying.
Simply master how to batch cook one or two types of protein, a whole grain or starch if your diet allows, and some veggies.
You don’t even have to learn how to make a sauce if you want to buy a healthy pre-made sauce that will go with whatever you are cooking.
#3: Assemble Healthy Meal Prep Ideas For The Week Without Cooking
The easiest way to prep healthy meals quickly is to essentially “assemble“ meals instead of cooking them.
For example, you can put together a nutritious meal that meets various dietary needs, whether keto, low carb, gluten-free, vegan, low salt, etc. by choosing convenience foods or prepared foods that work with your diet and then putting them together.
Basically, you can put together a Bento box, charcuterie board, Poopoo platter, tapas, or any other cuisine’s take on a no-cook appetizer or sampler platter that you turn into a full meal.
Plus, the benefit of this style of eating is that you’re getting a wide range of foods in every “meal,” which gives you a range of nutrients to optimize your health and prevents palate fatigue from eating the same things day after day.
For example, you might use an actual bento box container and then have some hummus, baby carrots, pre-cut crudités, cherry tomatoes, some thawed frozen edamame, a pouch of healthy tuna, a couple of whole grain crackers, a handful of grapes, and some roasted pumpkin seeds in the containers.
#4: Take Advantage of Cooking Equipment
One of the best tips for easy meal prepping or a good hack for putting together healthy meals quickly is to make use of some of the convenience cooking appliances available these days.
You don’t have to shell out tons of money to get high-quality, versatile cooking appliances for healthy meal prepping and hands-free cooking.
An Instapot or electric pressure cooker, food processor, and crockpot can be super helpful for putting together healthy meals and one-pot recipes that you can “sit and forget“ and then go on about your day.
Basically, you just have to throw all of the ingredients into one pot, turn on the machine, and then come back several hours later and you will be able to eat the meal and package up all of the leftovers for other days in the week.
A food processor will allow you to make things like hummus, nut butter, dips, guacamole, salad dressings, and/or chop up veggies for salads, stir-fries, soups, or other healthy meals for the week.
I love some of the newer kitchen appliances that can do multiple things in one so that instead of needing five or six different appliances to prepare different foods, you can save counter space and money with a single device.
For example, the new Gourmia GGA2180 6-in-1 FoodStation isn’t just an air fryer (even though Gourmia is America’s #1 air fryer brand).
The FoodStation can do air frying, smokeless grilling, griddling, baking, roasting, and dehydrating.
What’s great about this is that it adds so much versatility to your meal prepping and you can prepare healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from all different types of cuisines with different proteins, veggies, and flavors to keep healthy meal prepping not only simple but streamlined.
Plus, you won’t get tired of having to eat the same foods over and over every single week; easy meal prepping doesn’t have to be boring when you use these sorts of multi-function cookers.
It’s really cool that you can grill inside with the smokeless grill and the air frying technology lets you do healthy meal prep to make crispy proteins and crispy vegetables with hardly any fat.
This helps cut calories while still giving you the light and crunchy texture most of us have come to crave.
For healthy meal prepping for lunches and dinners, you can use the air fryer mode to prepare chicken, tofu, even crunchy chickpeas, or other proteins that will hold their texture for various meals for the week.
Another good tip for easy high-protein breakfast meal prepping is to prepare a large batch of high-protein pancakes with egg whites, flour or almond flour, a little bit of vanilla extract, some cinnamon, and if you aren’t on the keto diet, you can add a little bit of mashed banana.
The batter can sit in your fridge for several days and then in the morning, you just heat up the griddle and pour a couple of 1/3-cup servings of batter onto the griddle top as you get ready for work and even temperature regulation cooks the protein pancakes.
You can do a quick flip to cook the other side and then have ready-to-go, high-protein pancakes whipped up quickly. You can even take them on the go with a little bit of nut butter spread on top.
You can also make a large omelet or crustless quiche on the griddle top or a big egg white, whole egg, or tofu scramble for easy breakfast meal prepping for the week.
Or if you have a large family, you can prep everyone’s breakfast as if you are your own short-order line cook at a healthy breakfast diner.
If you like turkey legs, pork chops, steak, burgers, fish filets, salmon cakes, or other grilled meats, you can use the smokeless grill inside once or twice a week and cook up an array of proteins on the large top and then have your meals all ready to go for the rest of the week.
All you have to do is heat up the container and you have a healthy dinner or lunch ready in a matter of minutes during a busy week.
#5: Use Large Cookware for Batch Cooking
Another good tip for meal prepping to help you with batch cooking is to get large cookware like a Dutch oven and larger casserole pan, large saucepan, and large baking sheet pan.
Then, you can cook the entire week’s worth of lunches or dinners in one batch and then portion out each day in separate containers once the cooking is over.
Plus, if you use large pots and cooking vessels, there will be fewer dishes to clean, which will make meal prepping that much easier and less time-consuming.
#6: Learn Portion Sizes
One of the best tips for healthy meal prepping is to learn appropriate portion sizes.
This will help you when deciding how much of each ingredient you need to buy for the week as well as how much to make when putting together a recipe based on your caloric needs and diet goals.
#7: Consider Getting a Chest Freezer
Depending on how much space you have and your budget, it can be really helpful to invest in a chest freezer.
You can usually buy a good quality chest freezer for about $200 dollars.
The benefits of a chest freezer for eating healthy on the go is that when you have ample time to do meal prepping, you can batch cook a lot of food and then proportion leftovers in containers that you can freeze.
A lot of people get sick of eating the same food for an entire week, particularly if they are meal-prepping for one.
Instead of having to have the same split pea soup all week, you can make a large batch and then freeze most of it and just keep some in the fridge for a few days.
Then, you can rotate out more after a few weeks so that you don’t get bored of the same meal.
Additionally, you can use the chest freezer to “stockpile” healthy grab-and-go meals that you will have at the ready when you have a busy week and don’t have time to do a lot of cooking, meal planning, or grocery shopping.
You can then take out some of the pre-portioned containers of healthy meals you have prepared previously when you had more time and have them in the refrigerator and ready to go for the week.
#8: Use a Meal Planning App
Sometimes, one of the biggest hurdles to eating healthy is having ideas of what to eat.
There are various meal planning apps and recipe sites that will give you ideas of easy recipe ideas or meal ideas based on whatever type of diet you are following.
#9: Try a Meal Kit Delivery Service
In general, meal kit delivery boxes aren’t great for meal prepping in large batches; rather, you have to prepare and cook each individual meal.
However, there are some great ways to work around this if you like the benefits of meal subscription boxes.
For example, if you live by yourself, you can order a “family plan“ or four servings of each meal and then meal prep the recipes that arrive as your weekly lunches and dinners.
Alternatively, you can order multiple of the same meal choice each week and then prepare them all at the same time.
This can streamline healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss because you can choose meals that match your particular dietary needs with a rotating menu of recipes, and then take care of all of the meal prep at the same time.
Basically, the benefit of the meal kit delivery boxes is that most of the meal prepping is already done for you and that the vegetables are chopped and things are pre-portioned out; all you have to do is cook.
Therefore, if you want to do easy meal prepping for a weight loss diet for the week, you can order a bunch of the same meals or multiple servings and then cook all of the ingredients together as if it was “one portion.“
Then portion out servings into individual containers that you will just heat and eat during the week.
#10: Use Convenience Foods
In general, it is certainly cheaper to cook all of your foods from scratch, but if you have the financial means and the priority is meal prepping as quickly and easily as possible, one of the best tips for easy meal prepping is to use partially prepared foods in your recipes.
For example, you can buy pre-washed salad greens, pre-chopped veggies, even pre-cooked proteins like frozen or refrigerated cooked chicken breast or turkey meatballs, frozen cauliflower rice, and premade sauces so that you really have to do just some meal assembly rather than meal cooking.
It will still be cheaper and healthier to assemble meals using these meal starters rather than eating out or buying a premade meal, but the time and effort to cook and meal prep nutritious meals will be that much easier.
Depending on your budget, time constraints, and aspects of cooking you detest most or simply don’t like to be bothered with, you can pick and choose which types of meal starters you use.
For example, if you just hate cutting up vegetables, buy pre-washed and pre-cut veggies in the grocery store or frozen vegetables so that you don’t have to spend time doing that.
If you are uncomfortable handling raw chicken, buy the frozen pre-grilled chicken breast or the refrigerated pre-seasoned tofu cubes that you just need to divvy up into your meal prep containers after you have prepared whatever greens, veggies, or other ingredients you are putting into the meal.
For some ideas on healthy convenience snacks for weight loss to supplement your healthy meal prep ideas for the week, check out our guide here.