Meal Prep Benefits and Recipes
Updated: May 26
Eating out is very convenient when you don’t know what to make after a long day at work or you need something quick on your short lunch break. But eating out is actually very detrimental on our health and our wallets.
Eating food away from home is associated with a lower quality diet and a higher BMI while eating more at home increases chances of meeting dietary guidelines, intakes of fruit, veggies, fiber, folate and vitamin A (1). Meal prepping has been shown to be a successful way to maintain weight loss.
See www.bigtimeresults/eating-out-how-does-it-affect-your-wallet-and-your-waistline for a post with more information on eating out vs home meals.
The benefits of meal prepping are numerous and backed by research:
Eating meals at home is associated with improved diets. Meal planners have higher amounts of food variety which is associated with a greater intake of vitamins and minerals. Meal planners also have higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, and fish and less intake of starchy foods (1).
Meal planning is effective in saving time throughout the week! Meal planning has been shown to be a great time management tool.
Meal planning also correlated with a 5% lower risk of being overweight and obese in women and a lower risk of obesity in men (1).
To help yourself in your journey on the way to feeling and moving healthy, try preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them for your entire week!
Some fantastic ways to make nutritious meals when you don’t have a lot of time is with the crockpot! Just throw everything in before work and come home to a tasty meal.
Here are some nutrition packed crock pot recipes. ALWAYS consider adding fruits and/or veggies to your plate. Try to make your plate half fruits and veggies every time you eat.
Crock Pot Chili https://www.tasteandtellblog.com/crock-pot-chili/
Crockpot Pulled Pork https://www.ihearteating.com/crockpot-pulled-pork/ or BBQ Chicken https://www.ihearteating.com/slow-cooker-dr-pepper-bbq-chicken/ (add a big side of veggies and use a whole grain bun!)
Cilantro Lime Chili https://www.tasteandtellblog.com/slow-cooker-cilantro-lime-chicken/ (Use brown rice)
4 Bean Crock Pot Chili https://dietitiandebbie.com/4-bean-vegan-crockpot-chili/ (add a side of veggies!)
Crockpot Minestrone Soup https://dietitiandebbie.com/crockpot-vegan-minestrone-soup/
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon https://www.ihearteating.com/slow-cooker-beef-bourguignon/ (add a side of veggies!)
Slow Cooker Korean Beef https://www.ihearteating.com/slow-cooker-korean-beef/ (add a side of veggies!)
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan https://www.ihearteating.com/slow-cooker-chicken-parmesan/ (Don’t forget those veggies and use whole grain pasta)
Slow Cooker Baked Ziti https://www.ihearteating.com/slow-cooker-baked-ziti/ (Again, veggies and whole grain!)
Slow Cooker Garlic Rosemary Chicken https://www.ihearteating.com/slow-cooker-garlic-rosemary-chicken-2/ (pair this with a toasted sourdough bread and a big bowl of steamed veggies)
What about when you are rushed for time and don’t want to put a lot of effort into a dinner? Well instead of pulling out your phone to order takeout, try these simple recipes first!
FYI- most of the recipes from Dietitian Debbie’s site are crazy high in fiber- which we know helps us to stay fuller for longer.
Easy Black Bean Tostadas https://dietitiandebbie.com/easy-vegan-black-bean-tostadas/ (add a side of veggies!)
Loaded Sweet Potatoes https://dietitiandebbie.com/vegan-loaded-sweet-potatoes/
Healthy One Pot Cauliflower Curry https://dietitiandebbie.com/healthy-one-pot-cauliflower-curry/
Cashew “chicken” Stir Fry https://dietitiandebbie.com/vegan-cashew-chicken-stir-fry/ (you can use chicken instead)
Grilled Tofu Kebabs with Red Pepper Sauce https://dietitiandebbie.com/grilled-tofu-kebabs-with-red-pepper-sauce/ (you can use any type of meat instead of tofu)
Southwest Sheet Pan Dinner https://dietitiandebbie.com/southwest-sheet-pan-dinner/
Sheet Pan Cashew Chicken https://www.ihearteating.com/sheet-pan-cashew-chicken/ (Add in double the veggies and you’ve got a complete meal with the quinoa!)
Teriyaki Tofu Sheet Pan Dinner https://dietitiandebbie.com/teriyaki-tofu-sheet-pan-dinner/ (Use brown rice or quinoa, and substitute the tofu for chicken or pork if you’d like)
Chickpea Taco Salad https://dietitiandebbie.com/chickpea-taco-salad/ (you’ll be amazed at how much this fills you up!)
Chicken Avocado Chilaquiles with Avocado Crema https://loveonetoday.com/recipe/chicken-avocado-chilaquiles-with-avocado-crema/ (Add a big bowl of veggies)
1. Ducrot P, Méjean C, Aroumougame V, et al. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017;14(1):12. Published 2017 Feb 2. doi:10.1186/s12966-017-0461-7