You might want to prep some healthy food to save time during the week and avoid the drive-thru. But, setting out portioned containers and all of that chopping seems daunting.
Meal prep doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen every weekend and not have time for relaxation or fun. With lazy meal prep, you can prepare the foods you need quickly and easily, and shave hours off of your cooking all week or even month long!
Here, we’ve put together some easy ways to meal prep your proteins and veggies to make meal prep easy and fun. You can use the ideas as they are below or customize them to your family’s needs, making meal prep work for you.
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Use the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot for Chicken
Having ready-made chicken is a great way to add protein to just about any meal, and with it’s neutral flavor, it’s incredibly versatile.
Once a week or even once a month, prep chicken in the crock pot or instant pot. All you have to do is drop in boneless chicken with a small amount of water, and once it’s cooked, shred for future meals.
Pro tip: Using a hand mixer to shred chicken takes only a few seconds to finely shred 2-3 lbs of chicken at a time.
Next, portion the chicken into large silicone freezer cubes or large ice cube trays. This way, you have portions individually frozen and can thaw them as needed.
Some great ways to use shredded chicken breast include:
- Use as your protein in soups
- Sprinkle on salads for lunch or dinner
- Toss with a little seasoning for an easy taco or fajita night
- Add to sandwiches or wraps
- Toss with BBQ sauce for pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches
- Stack your favorite Mex-inspired ingredients for burrito bowls
Prep Ground Beef
Cooking ground beef doesn’t take long and can carry you through many different meals. Simply take a few pounds of ground beef and cook it on the stovetop without adding any seasonings.
Freeze it in individual portions, then when you’re ready to use it, thaw the meat, and cook it on the stovetop for a few minutes with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder and oregano for Italian meals, cumin for Mexican meals, and chili seasoning for chili.
Ground beef is a protein-packed addition to:
- Pasta and pasta sauce
- Burrito bowls
- Stuffed peppers
Beans are a staple and work great in place of meat protein or in addition to it. They are fantastic fillers when you need to spread your meal further or want something filling without too many calories.
Before cooking your beans, soak them according to the package directions (sometimes they require an overnight soak). Then, cook them by boiling them or using your pressure cooker.
Freeze them in individual portions and add them to:
- Rice dishes
Finally, you can do some of your weekly meal prep ahead of time by chopping veggies. Some veggies can be frozen if you like steamed veggies as a side or if you want prepared veggies for soups. Otherwise, chop your veggies for the week, and store them in an airtight container.
Common veggies to chop and store include:
- Bell peppers
You can freeze sturdier vegetables, like onions, celery, and bell peppers. Chop your vegetables and arrange them on a single layer on a baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet into the freezer for a few hours or overnight, then transfer into a zip bag to toss into recipes, soups, or straight into a sauté pan later.
Hard Boil Eggs
If you’re looking for a great and easy source of protein, consider hard-boiling eggs for the week. If you store them in an airtight container, they’ll last up to seven days in the refrigerator. You can also peel them and store them with a damp paper towel on top and bottom to keep them moist.
You can eat hard-boiled eggs on their own as a snack or add them to the following for filling meals:
You might have thought about meal prep as eliminating your need to cook, but that makes the task seem more daunting than it needs to be. Meal prep doesn’t have to be difficult! In fact, the easier you make it, the more likely you are to do it.
The key is to have proteins and veggies handy, so all you have to do is some basic assembly and round out your meal. Cooking the protein and chopping the veggies usually takes the most time, so when you can do that ahead of time, you’ll have most of the work done.
Meal prepping ensures you’ll have healthy meals ready fast and may help reduce the number of times you eat out in a week, or at least reduce the stress around the house!