8 Quick Meal Prep Ideas for the New Week

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Want to make meal times easier this week? Check out these quick meal prep helps that will take you just an hour.

8 Quick Meal Prep Ideas - Want to make meal times easier this week? Check out these quick meal prep helps that will take you just an hour.

It’s Sunday afternoon. I know that we have a busy week ahead. What can I do now to make the rest of the week easier? I can spend an hour in the kitchen.

Say what?

Yes, really. You’ll be amazed at what an hour of meal prep in the kitchen can do for the rest of the week. Consider this list:

1. Clean out the fridge.

You have to know what you have before you plan meals or shop for the week. Spend ten minutes dumping the science projects, wiping down shelves and reorganizing what’s in there. Start out the week with a clean fridge and you will be so much happier to cook! You’ll save some money, too.

2. Boil some eggs.

In my fridge clean-out today I found three cartons of eggs. Those go fast around here. I’ll need to buy more, but I might as well hardcook the eggs I have on hand. They make great snacks and lunches during the week. FishPapa takes a half dozen to leave in the fridge at work. From start to finish, the process takes about 15 minutes.

8 Quick Meal Prep Ideas - Want to make meal times easier this week? Check out these quick meal prep helps that will take you just an hour.

3. Simmer a pot of sauce.

We’re big pasta and lasagne fans. Both are on my list of go-to budget-friendly suppers. I found a plethora of zucchini and squash in my fridge. Time to use them up! I’m making a big pot of sauce to use in meals and to freeze. I can get a pot of my go-to sauce going in about five or ten minutes. Adding roasted vegetable puree takes a little more time, but is totally worth it.

4. Make some salsa.

Homemade salsa truly can make a great meal. Beans and rice taste like something out of this world with homemade salsa — and it only takes about five or ten minutes. If you have garden tomatoes, make this recipe. If not, go this route for homemade salsa with canned tomatoes.

5. Cut, shred, or slice cheese.

My kids are definitely cheesivores. If I already have cheese sliced, cut into sticks, or shredded, meal prep goes much more quickly throughout the week. Cutting up a large block of cheese takes less than five minutes. Package it in an airtight container and you’re good to go.

8 Quick Meal Prep Ideas - Want to make meal times easier this week? Check out these quick meal prep helps that will take you just an hour.

6. Make a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea.

It’s so nice to have a cool drink waiting in the fridge. Often I do it only for a special occasion. But, if you do it at the beginning of the week, any day can be a special occasion. My guess is that it takes about five minutes to make homemade lemonade, sweet tea, or iced coffee.

7. Prep a veggie tray or salad bar.

We all want to eat more healthfully. I know few people who don’t. It’s a matter of making it easy to do. You’ll do things that are easy. Spend twenty minutes washing and chopping vegetables for salads and for snacking. Store them in the fridge so that they’re ready when you are. Bonus points for making hummus or homemade ranch dip.

8. Make some Mamabars.

If you’ve got ten minutes left in your hour, whip up some Mamabars. If you don’t have the time, enlist an older child to do it. That’s what I did. My 12yo and the food processor got a batch of these healthy snacks into the freezer lickety-split.

Now you are ready to take on the week, knowing that healthy and delicious, pre-prepped ingredients are just waiting for you in the fridge.

What will you do to prep ahead this week?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. I have a weekend checklist that if I complete makes my week in the kitchen so much easier. First, I go to the grocery store on Saturday. Second, I prep all my fresh fruits and vegetables. Third, I make a couple of items for breakfasts. This week I made two loaves of carrot bread (1 will go in the freezer for another week), I made two dozen muffins and a large batch of waffles. Fourth, I prep a few proteins. Today, I browned up 2 pounds of ground beef with onions, garlic and seasonings for meat sauce and chili later this week. I also poached 2 pounds of chicken breasts for enchiladas, chicken noodle soup and fried rice later this week. At our house the refrigerator gets cleaned out on Wednesday nights in advance of Thursday morning trash pickup.

    • You seem to have the BEST self-discipline of anyone I’ve ever met. How do you do it? Any tricks?

      • LOL please note I said “if” I complete my checklist. Also, I pick my battles. I make healthy eating a family priority; dusting and vacuuming not so much 😉

  2. This is exactly what I’ve been doing each Sunday afternoon for the past month! I’ve been working full time hours at work and taking an hour or two on Sunday to prep some food for the week has been super helpful.

    Having produce washed and cut with some portioned out for packing my lunch helps me to feel a couple steps ahead of the game. I do veggies and fruit, hard boiled eggs, some kind of breakfast item and then get meats/freezer meals out to thaw if needed.

    This has been so helpful that I plan to continue this habit even after I go back to my part time hours!

  3. I boil eggs every couple of days. My husband has taken to eating two hard boiled eggs everyday for breakfast. In the last two months he has lost 10 pounds.

  4. Great tips! I, too, have learned that an hour in the kitchen helps tremendously during a busy week. Menu planning is a big help to me. That way, I can look ahead to the little things like preparing spice mixes, making salad dressing, chopping veggies, etc. I know what meats need to be defrosted and if I need to do something like make bread or anything else that takes time. Thanks for the post.

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