Bookmark this page of easy, healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss, including my favorite tips and 23 healthy meal prep recipes!
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Losing weight can be challenging, but meal-prepping can make it a lot easier, especially when it’s a busy week (aren’t they always?!) Meal prepping involves preparing your meals OR ingredients in advance, which saves you time and helps you avoid making unhealthy food choices when hunger strikes (or is it hanger-LOL!).
Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss Tips
The first step to successful meal prepping is planning your meals. Decide what you want for the week’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Make sure to choose primarily healthy foods that will help you reach your weight loss goals. Of course, I always like to include some wiggle room for my favorite treats and eating out!
Make a weekly shopping list & stock your kitchen well
Once you’ve planned your meals, make a grocery list of all the ingredients you will need. Then, stick to the list when you go to the grocery store to avoid impulse buys that can sabotage your weight loss efforts. A few of my favorite kitchen staples include:
- Beans & Legumes: Black beans, beans and lentil-based pasta, garbanzo beans, lentils, low-fat refried beans
- Gluten-Free Whole Grains: Buckwheat, brown rice, oats, polenta, sorghum
- Nut Butter: Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
- Broth: Vegetable and chicken broth
- Healthy Fats and Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, expeller pressed high oleic sunflower oil, light coconut milk
- Potatoes: Sweet potatoes and white potatoes (Related: 6 Health Benefits of Potatoes + 3 Delicious Ways to Eat Them )
- Fresh Veggies: bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, fresh herbs, mushrooms, leafy greens, & more.
- Fresh Fruit: apples, berries,
- Eggs: including pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs
- Dairy: 2% milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese
- Lean protein: chicken breast, wild salmon, ground turkey, skinless chicken thighs
- Frozen veggies: cauliflower rice, corn, peas, butternut squash
- Frozen Fruit: berries, cherries, mango, pineapple
- Nuts & Seeds: All kinds of varieties!
You may also like: 30+ Healthy Freezer Meals to Help You Reclaim Dinner Time
Cook in bulk
Cooking in bulk can save you time and ensure you always have healthy meals. However, if you prefer not to prep entire meals every week (not my thing), you can still prep a big batch of protein, vegetables, or grains that you can use for multiple meals throughout the week. This is the method I usually use, especially when cooking lentils.
Invest in quality meal prep containers
Investing in quality airtight containers makes meal prepping a lot easier. Look for microwave and dishwasher-safe containers, like these glass food storage containers from Amazon.
Mason jars are excellent airtight containers that store salad dressings and make-ahead salads for healthy lunches. Tip! I recommend avoiding plastic containers as they may leach chemicals into the food.
Keep it simple
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple by choosing recipes with a few ingredients that are easy to prepare. Don’t be afraid to use pre-cut vegetables, canned beans, or frozen fruits to save time.
Consistency is key when it comes to implementing these meal prep ideas for weight loss. First, set aside a specific weekly day and time to plan and prepare meals. Then, stick to your schedule to make meal prepping a habit.
Choose healthy snacks wisely
Snacking is an individual choice. I typically enjoy three meals daily, but many of my clients enjoy snacks. If this is you, planning your snacks ahead of time is essential for weight loss.
If you don’t schedule your snacks, you’ll likely reach for chips and cookies instead of nourishing snacks. Choose healthy snacks high in protein and fiber to satisfy you. Some great options include:
Manage your macros
I’m a big fan of balanced meals to keep my energy up, minimize blood sugar swings, and boost my mood. If you’re new to managing your macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), you may want to experiment with a tracker like My Fitness Pal or Chronometer for a few weeks.
It will help you figure out your optimal macronutrient balance. If you’re starting out, try 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat, and adjust up or down, depending on how you feel.
Practice portion control
Portion control is key when it comes to weight loss. When first starting, measuring cups and a digital food scale (I use this Oxo Food Scale almost daily) will help ensure you eat the right amount. Depending on your daily caloric needs, dividing meals in half is an excellent way to practice portion control and have leftovers for your next meal.
Mix it up
Eating the same thing every day can get boring quickly. So instead, mix things up by trying new recipes each week or adding different spices and herbs to your meals. This will keep things interesting and help you stick to your meal-prepping routine.
Looking to add more variety to your diet? You’ll love my Eat More Plants Challenge!
Hydration is essential for weight loss and overall health. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and bring a reusable water bottle wherever you go. In addition, you can add flavor to your water by infusing it with fresh Fruit, herbs, or cucumber. Need inspiration to drink more water? Check out my Five in 45 Challenge!
Listen to your body
Everyone’s body is different, so listening to yours is crucial. For example, if you are still hungry after a meal, add more protein or fiber to keep you feeling full. On the flip side, don’t force yourself to eat more if you feel full halfway through your meal.
Attention to your body’s signals can help you make healthier choices and reach your weight loss goals.
Learn to cook
If you are uncomfortable in the kitchen, now is the time to learn. Cooking your meals gives you control over the ingredients and can help you make healthier choices. Start with simple recipes and work your way up to more complex dishes.
Easy meals should make up the bulk of your meal prepping. I also recommend Sunbasket Meal Kits to help with your weekly meal planning. My husband and I typically enjoy two Sunbasket meals each week. As a bonus, he even does some of the cooking 🙂
Weight loss can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. Get support from family, friends, a support group, or myself to help you stay motivated and accountable. Share your meal-prepping success stories and challenges with others on the same journey.
Find healthy substitutes
Finding healthy substitutes for your favorite foods can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. For example, try using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or lettuce leaves instead of tortillas for wraps.
Be in it for the long haul
Weight loss is a journey; seeing results takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Stay consistent with meal-prepping and healthy habits, and you will eventually reach your goals.
Meal Prepping for Weight Loss Summary
Meal prepping for weight loss can be a great way to help you reach your health goals. Not only will you make healthier food choices, but you’ll also save money AND time by meal or ingredient prepping.
Remember, though; it’s ONE tool in your toolbox to help you on your weight loss journey. And, like all other food and lifestyle weight loss recommendations, consistency is key. So try it and let me know if meal-prepping works for you!
23 Easy Meal Prep Recipes for Weight Loss
All of these meal prep recipes for weight loss are gluten-free. And most take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Make a note of the serving sizes for each recipe and adjust according to how many servings you want to prep ahead of time. Enjoy! P.S. Scroll to the end of this list and get all the recipes in a free PDF cookbook!
- Make Ahead Vegan Tortilla Soup with All the Toppings
- Maple Dijon Chicken, Mushroom Quinoa, & Zucchini
- Spaghetti with Chicken, Spinach, & Tomatoes
- Garlic Beef Stir Fry with Quinoa & Peas
- Tandoori Cauliflower & Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burritos
- Crunchy Asian Chopped Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Meal Prep Taco Bowl
- Meal Prep Veggie Bowls
- Crispy Tofu Meal Prep Bowls
- Cajun Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- Eat the Rainbow Black Beans & Quinoa Salad
- Meal Prep Beef Fajitas
- Meal Prep Mixed Greens Salad
- Italian Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- Healthy Mediterranean Grain Bowls
- Southwest Chicken Bowl
- Za’atar Spiced Beef Bowl
- Chicken & Cilantro Lime Quinoa
- Meal Prep Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, & Beef
- Cilantro Lime Beef & Romaine Salad
- Greek Chicken Bowls
- Miso Broccoli Quinoa Salad
More Resources, Recipes, and Tools for Healthy Weight Loss
- How to Meal Plan the Easy Way
- 40 500-Calorie Meals That Are Healthy Satisfying, and Delicious
- Free Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
- DASH Diet Printable & Meal Plan
- 40+ MIND Diet Recipes for Better Brain Health
- Healthy Lifestyle Habits for a Happy Life
- 7-Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan
- 30-40+ Plants per Week Challenge
Let’s Chat! Which of these meal prep ideas for weight loss will you try? Are you a seasoned meal prepper? If so, what tips would you add? And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. Thank you so much for your support!