The 5 Essential Components of Meal Prep

Only have an hour to meal prep? Not sure where to start when planning your meals for the week, or how to use meal prep to streamline your family's meals? Start here. The 5 essential components of meal prep will give you a head start at making quick, delicious and nutritious meals for your family, all week long.

healthy morning glory muffins

Cassava Flour Muffins 3 ways

Essential Component #1: Something for breakfast.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day (who is they, really?!); and I tend to agree; only because what you eat FIRST during the day sets you up for the rest of the day’s eating. If you’re in a hurry and rushed to get out of the door like many of us are; it’s easy to grab something quick like a bagel or a muffin to get us through the morning. But high-sugar foods like these will send our blood sugar on a roller coaster throughout the morning, leaving us hungry, irritable and low-energy. Not a recipe for a good day! So ensuring you have a healthy, protein-packed breakfast first thing is an essential first component to meal prep.

Beef and Butternut Squash Chili

Essential Component #2: A big soup or stew.

This is one of my favorite tips- an “aha” moment that dawned on me a few years ago and is now a staple in my weekly meal prep, no matter what the season. Prep a BIG- and I mean BIG- double the amount your family will eat at a meal, or better yet- even more. Setting a big pot of soup or stew on FIRST- especially if it’s in the crock pot, not only provides you an easy dinner when you’re done prepping (no one wants to cook after cooking!) but it provides quick lunches and dinners for those inevitably harried first few days of the week. It’s an essential! Try it and see how much easier it makes the start of the week.

Salted Caramel Energy Balls

Essential Component #3: Something to snack on.

Snacks are a HUGE downfall for so many people— I know! When we get hungry, we get HANGRY- and it’s important to have healthy snacks for in-between meals to tide us over and avoid that dreaded vending-machine run.

Essential Component #4: Easy-grab veggies + fruit.

Likely the simplest component listed, I always start my prep by ensuring I have all my produce washed, chopped and packed up for easy grab and go snacks and parts of meals. Dinner comes together in a flash when you can throw a handful of this-or-that in a pan and make a delicious, nourishing meal packed with nutrients!

White Chicken Chili

Essential Component #5: Pre-prepped protein.

Along a similar line as having veggies ready to go, having at least one protein prepped and ready to go- whether it be chicken breast, ground turkey, salmon filets or black beans- that you can use in more than one meal, lunches and dinners come together in NO time. As proteins are both versatile and tend to take longer in the moment, this simple preparation saves a TON of time on a day-by-day basis in our meal preparation.

It’s starting to sound do-able now, isn’t it? I hope so! With these five components, you are sure to enjoy a smoother, healthier week.

Learn more about how to simplify meal planning and meal prep with my best-selling course, Healthy Mama Meal Prep

meal prep course

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Kristin Dovbniak


I'm Kris! Founder of Healthy Balanced Mama, I'm a holistic health coach, certified intuitive eating counselor, trained chef, and mama of two, and I'm here to guide busy moms like you in stressing less and finding freedom with food through balanced eating and simplified routines around meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and cooking with confidence.


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© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Balanced Mama