Time-saving, delicious ideas for beginners and meal-prep pros.

By Anthea Levi
August 08, 2018

If Instagram isn't your go-to site for meal prep yet, you don't know what you're missing. Tasty ideas and genius tips abound, all designed to help you eat nutritiously, hone your chef skills, and free up more time on Sunday so you aren't stuck in the kitchen all day cooking and storing meals for the upcoming week. These 7 tips from our favorite Instagram meal preppers will show you how it's done.

RELATED: 9 Meal Prep Ideas for the Week That Are Super Popular on Pinterest

Prep simple ingredients you can mix and match all week

If creating big batches of meals feels too overwhelming, just prep some basic proteins, greens, and healthy carbs—you'll have enough ready-to-eat food on hand to turn into many healthy meals. Check out @shutterbean, which has the right idea: precut, washed, and prepped roasted tomatoes, orzo salad, hard-boiled eggs, cooked spaghetti, and more. 

RELATED: 10 Ingredients Meal Prep Pros Always Have in Their Kitchen

Today I’m sharing with all of you my favorite Meal Prep Tips & Tricks. • Make time: 1 large batch once a week or 2 smaller batches broken up. Don’t not meal prep just because you think it’s overwhelming and time consuming. Make it fit your schedule. • Double recipes: if you’re a family of 2, cook like there’s 4 of you. This will ensure that you have leftovers for future dinners and lunches. • Find ingredients that overlap: spend your money wisely and make sure you can use ingredients in multiple recipes. If you’re making a stir fry with peppers, then maybe find another recipe for stuffed peppers, or use them raw on salads or in frittatas. • Use seasonings/compliant sauces to keep it flavorful. Don’t just use salt and pepper on everything. Experiment with spices like paprika and cayenne, oregano and parsley, or even adding cinnamon to balance out the spice. My favorite spices are from @primalpalate And my favorite dressings/marinades are @primalkitchenfoods / @thenewprimal. • Use all tools, gadgets and counter space. Get as many baking sheets as you can in your oven, use your slow cooker, instant pot and stove top as well. Cook as much as you can at once to save a lot of time. • Cook what takes the longest first. Get those recipes started first so by the end of a couple of hours when you’re feeling tired and antsy to be done, you’ll just have a few quick items left to cook. • Reheat how it was cooked. If it was baked, reheat in the oven. If you made a soup, reheat on the stove. This will make sure the flavors stay intact and don’t burn in the microwave. If you slow cooked something, reheat on the stove or oven. You can undercook your food slightly so it doesn’t overcook when you reheat it.

A post shared by Leslie McDonald (@balanced_life_leslie) on

Use a small number of versatile foods

Cook with ingredients that can be used in multiple ways, so it feels like you're making a huge variety of meals but you're only relying on a handful of staples. Shopping and prepping will be so much more manageable. “If you’re making a stir fry with peppers, then maybe find another recipe for stuffed peppers, or use them raw on salads or in frittatas,” said Leslie McDonald of @balanced_life_leslie.

RELATED: 3 Easy Salad Dressings You Can Make at Home

Make smoothie freezer bags

Are smoothies your breakfast of choice—yet you never have time to measure out ingredients in the morning? Just toss your favorite produce (like spinach, banana, berries) into single-serving plastic bags and stash them in the freezer, as shown above on @shakeology. In the a.m., they can be thrown into the blender with a scoop of protein powder or nut butter. You’ll shave minutes off of breakfast and leave the house without a cutting board to clean. 

RELATED: 4 Kitchen Hacks That Make Healthy Meal Prep a Breeze

Don’t forget snacks

Meal prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner is admirable—but don't forget to pre-make healthy snacks too, so you have nutritious bites at the ready when munchies strike. Check out Meowmeix's sweet and sour snack box. 

Go with the best containers

Leave it to @how2mealprep to point out the best types of containers for make-ahead meals, like this one that comes with neat sections for each of your lunch items. A smartly designed container will make it easier (and cleaner!) to store and transport the foods you expertly prepped at the start of the week.

Shop the grocery store right

Ever wondered what a health pro puts in her grocery cart? Now you'll know, thanks to influencers who share their weekly market hauls on Insta. Search hashtags like #inmycart and #traderjoeshaul to get ideas for the healthiest items to add to your basket at the store. 

Challenge yourself to meatless Mondays (or any day) 

Skipping animal products when you meal prep isn't as hard as it sounds. Scroll @thefeedfeed.vegan for endless plant-based ideas, and you'll see just how versatile veggies can be. The account serves up weekly meal plans and daily posts that are all linked to original recipes, so you can test them out stat.