Meal Prep Made Easy
What once began as a trend for athletes and gym-goers has become a staple for people from all walks of life. Whether you want to save time, eat healthier or save money, meal prepping is an excellent way to meet your goals. Cooking meals once or twice throughout the week allows you to grab a dish out of the fridge and enjoy a balanced, delicious meal in just a few minutes, leaving you to enjoy the rest of your day.
Meal prep won't add any dishes, take up a lot of time or leave you grabbing unhealthy and expensive takeout because it's convenient. Still, meal prep recipes can range from simple to overwhelmingly complex. The easier it is, the more likely you are to stick to it, so we put together a guide on how to meal prep, complete with some easy meal prep ideas to keep you cooking without much hassle.
How to Meal Prep for the Week
Some people think you can only meal prep if you're making ultra-healthy dishes, but you can prep almost anything, like fajitas, stir fry and pasta. As long as it's easy to grab and eat and you prepared it ahead of time, you're in the spirit of meal prep. No matter what you cook, making these foods at home is usually much healthier and cheaper than buying from a restaurant, and prepping saves you a lot of time and stress associated with cooking dinner every night.
If your goal is to make meal prep as easy as possible, try these tips:
- Use pre-cooked meats: With pre-cooked meats, you don't need to worry about proper preparation and can focus on making tasty meals. You also get to use fewer dishes and reduce the time it takes to cook your meal prep. You can grab some simply seasoned meats like steak strips or oven-roasted chicken to fit into any recipe or use our pre-seasoned and breaded meats for specific dishes, like steak fajitas and orange chicken.
- Use convenience foods: Meat isn't the only way to save time, and you don't need to make everything from scratch. Consider grabbing frozen veggies, canned sauces and other pre-made foods to help you along.
- Grab some good containers: Meal prep dishes can come in any shape or size, but investing in some good, reusable dishes can be a big help. The need to spoon out your portion from a large bowl can sometimes be enough to send you to a pre-portioned TV dinner, so have your dishes ready to grab and go.
- Focus on balance: Think about balancing your meals during prep so you won't need to do it later. Follow the Healthy Eating Plate guidelines and aim to fill about 50% of your plate with fruits and vegetables and 25% each of whole grains and proteins. Remember to factor in fiber and some healthy fats to keep you full throughout the day.
- Start simple: If you head to social media, you might see people meal prepping every single meal for the week. That can be tough, so smart small, perhaps by prepping dinner for the next two or three days. An approach like this can help make meal prepping more sustainable and less intimidating.
Easy Meal Prep Ideas
With those tips in mind, let's dive into a few easy meal prep ideas that you can use to eat healthy and save time.
1. Chicken, Beef or Steak Fajitas
For some south-of-the-border flavor, try these fajita tacos made with our pre-seasoned fajita meat in chicken, steak or Angus beef varieties. You'll need some flour tortillas, a few bell peppers, red onion and your favorite toppings, such as cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocados and cilantro. To make prep even easier, you can also find pre-cut and frozen fajita vegetables in most grocery stores.
Making this tasty Chicken Fajita Taco recipe meal-prep friendly is as easy as holding off on the toppings. Fill your tortillas with the vegetable and meat mixture, and keep your toppings off to the side so they stay cold. Heat the tacos in the microwave, then add your refreshing toppings before you dig in.
2. Grape and Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich
This Grape and Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich recipe requires no cooking when it's time to eat, so it's perfect for microwave-free lunches. It uses a bag of our Oven Roasted Diced Chicken, mayonnaise, croissants and whatever ingredients you want. We've included red grapes, chopped pecans, red onions and celery in our recipe.
After mixing all the ingredients together, you'll stack the mixture between two halves of a sliced croissant. Wrap up the sandwich or put it in a sealed container, and you're ready to go!
3. Pepper Steak Stir Fry
Bell peppers, fluffy rice and John Soules Foods Steak Strips come together in this tangy stir fry. You can simplify this easy meal prep even further with pre-cut veggies, microwavable rice and pre-packaged stir-fry sauce. Cook the recipe according to the instructions and separate portions into your containers. Then, heat in the microwave and enjoy!
4. Chicken Nugget Mashed Potato Bowl
Craving chicken nuggets but want something a little more well-rounded? Try this delightful homestyle Chicken Nugget Mashed Potato Bowl recipe that adds hearty potatoes, cheese, corn and gravy. Our pre-cooked chicken nuggets make it especially easy. You can find most other ingredients already made, too, for even faster meal prep. Swap in our Jurassic World Dominion Chicken Nuggets for a kid-friendly twist. John Soules Foods Spicy Chicken Strips are also a great adjustment if you like a little spice.
Meal prepping this recipe is as easy as following the instructions, portioning out your servings and reheating them when you're ready to eat.
Make Meal Prep Simple With John Soules Foods
Pre-cooked foods are one of the best ways to make meal prep fit into a busy schedule and minimize stress around mealtime. When it comes to meat, fully cooked frozen or refrigerated products allow you to eliminate concerns about proper preparation while drastically reducing your time in the kitchen. We offer a wide range of versatile and great-tasting beef and chicken products to fit into your favorite meal prep ideas.
Find our products at a store near you to enjoy these simple, healthy meals any day of the week!