Meal planning that incorporates healthy meal prep recipes helps support nutrition-focused goals
Focus on healthy foods such as whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy
Start with one day’s worth of nutritious meals to ease into healthier eating
Like many people, you may have set a goal to eat better, exercise more, and lose weight in the new year. After all, the new year provides a fresh opportunity to break bad habits (like eating too much junk food) and start new ones (such as eating more plant-based meals). One of the best ways to support your wellness resolutions? Devote time to weekly meal planning that incorporates healthy meal prep recipes.
When pulling the day’s menu together, choose a balanced mix of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. If you’re following a specific diet (such as keto, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or whole30), you might want healthy meal prep ideas for weight management. If you’re just looking to eat healthier, you might want to cut out processed foods, cook from scratch more often, and focus on plant-based meals. Regardless of your new eating plan, you’ll need some healthy meal prep ideas to help you stick to your wellness resolutions.
Need some inspiration? Use these recipes as a starting point for a day’s worth of nutritious meals.
Start your day with this nutritious fruit smoothie that requires just a handful of ingredients—perfect on a busy weekday morning. Use your favorite milk substitute and this is a great vegan meal prep recipe!
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
¾ cup to 1 cup reduced-fat milk (or coconut milk or almond milk)
1 banana (optional)
1 tablespoon almond butter
In a blender, combine fruit, milk, and almond butter.
Mix until smooth and creamy.
Nutrition Spotlight: Loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and thiamin.
Healthy Meal Prep Tip: Keep cut-up fresh fruit on hand so you can whip up this quick breakfast smoothie in minutes.
Lunch Meal Prep Recipe: DIY Power Grain Bowl
Take this build-your-own-bowl approach to healthy eating that will please everyone’s palate, including finicky eaters. If you’re looking for a healthy vegan meal prep option, simply substitute the meat for some grilled tofu!
4-6 cups cooked brown rice (or try substituting farro, bulgur, or quinoa)
2-4 cups thinly sliced, shredded, or matchstick raw vegetables (such as baby bok choy, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, scallions, zucchini)
Low-fat/low-sodium condiment such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, Asian sesame dressing, toasted sesame oil or even fresh lime juice.
Divide grain evenly among four bowls.
Top with leafy green of choice.
Layer favorite vegetables on top of greens.
Top with chicken or other protein.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Drizzle each bowl with your favorite low-fat/low-sodium condiment such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, Asian sesame dressing, or toasted sesame oil.
Nutrition Spotlight: It depends on the ingredients you choose, but generally, you’ll get a healthy dose of fiber from the grains, protein from the chicken, Vitamins A & C and iron from the spinach, and Vitamin K1 from the broccoli.
Healthy Meal Prep Tip: This recipe offers a terrific way to use up leftovers, so plan this meal for later in the week.
Dinner Meal Prep Recipe: Caprese Chicken
Who can resist the tempting tangy goodness of a caprese salad — a delicious blend of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil. Build on this idea by adding a grilled chicken breast as the base to get more protein. Substitute balsamic vinegar for the balsamic glaze and you’ve got a great keto meal prep option!
4 chicken breasts
1 Tbs. olive oil
2½ tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
Pound chicken to even thickness (roughly 3/4”).
In a small bowl, combine dried seasonings.
Coat chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning mixture.
Turn grill on high heat and add seasoned chicken to grill. Cook until internal temperature reaches 155°F using meat thermometer (roughly 5-6 minutes on each side).
Place 1-2 slices fresh mozzarella on each chicken breast. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165°F and cheese is melted (roughly 2-3 minutes).
Remove from heat, put on serving platter, and add 1-2 tomato slices to each piece of chicken. Add a few fresh basil leaves on top and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Nutrition Spotlight: Packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, protein.
Healthy Meal Prep Tip: Grill extra chicken and store in freezer for a quick, healthy lunch or dinner when you’re pressed for time.
The Bottom Line
To stick to your goals, spend time planning out your weekly meals relying on healthy meal prep recipes. Focusing on healthy foods such as whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy will help you stay on track with your wellness resolutions. Need more recipes? Try 3 Healthy Grill Recipes & Cookout Sides To Enjoy With Your Family.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.