7 Recipes Perfect for Meal Prep

quinoa black bean salad

Don't let a lack of planning derail your food plans for the week. By prepping, making and storing your meals ahead of time, you can save time, money, calories and stress. If you're new to meal prep, the whole process might seem a bit overwhelming. The good news? With a few recipes from the experts and a little practice, you'll be planning, prepping and creating weekly meals in no time. Plus, choose snacks that can be bought in bulk to save yourself time and money.

Still short on time? Check out our article on best meal prep services.

Monica Auslander Moreno's Protein Pumpkin Muffins

These protein pumpkin muffins from Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, are great to batch prep and then freeze for an easy, quick breakfast or snack.

Protein Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 organic eggs
1.5 scoops of vanilla protein powder  
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (look for 85% cacao content or higher)

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl except for chocolate. 
2. Fold in egg and pumpkin puree, then add chocolate chips. 
3. Lightly oil a muffin tin with avocado oil and preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
4. Fill muffin cups evenly and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins come out clean.

Recipe courtesy of RSP Nutrition

Abbie Gellman's Go-To's for Lunch and Dinner

Abbie Gellman, MS RD CDN, a NYC-based chef and registered dietitian, likes to make a pot of brown rice, quinoa, farro (or whatever grain you like), and keep it in the fridge for up to five days. "That way, you can take out the appropriate portion as the week goes on," she says. Plus, any one of those grain pairs perfectly with her two chicken recipes.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast and/or thighs
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Place all ingredients into Instant Pot.
2. Close lid, make sure valve is closed and press Manual for high pressure.
3. Set for 20 minutes. Once done, quick-release pressure.
4. Remove chicken from Instant Pot. Shred chicken with two forks and place back in Instant Pot with liquid. Serve. 

Southwest Quinoa Black Bean Salad
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 can 15 ounces black beans, low or no sodium, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
¼ cup cilantro chopped
¼ cup scallions sliced

Smoky Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
1 teaspoon maple sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. In a large bowl, combine the rice, beans, tomatoes, and pepper.
2. In a small bowl or jam jar, mix together the vinegar, oil, lime juice, cumin, maple sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Allow to sit for 15 minutes so flavors can meld.
3. Pour half the vinaigrette (approximately 8-9 tablespoons) over the beans and quinoa. Toss well. 
4. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.

Liz Wyosnick's Pot of Goodness

Chili, stews and soup are perfect bulk meals to make one time and eat throughout the week. Best part? Liz Wyosnick MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and owner of Equilibriyum, says this one is made in the crock pot, which means only about 10 minutes of active time on your part, and let the crock pot do the rest!

White Bean Chili
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion diced
5 cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon jalapeno chopped
4,15.8 ounce cans of white beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cans green chiles undrained
16 ounces frozen corn
6 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro
Greek yogurt to serve

1. In the pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes
2. Add softened onion, garlic, and jalapeno mixture to a crock pot and add all remaining ingredients (beans through broth) to the crockpot. 
3. Use a potato masher to semi-mash some of the beans to create a creamy final product.
4. Set crockpot on low and cook for at least 6 hours. 
5. When chili is done cooking, finish with a squeeze of fresh lime and garnish with fresh cilantro, and Greek yogurt.

Summer Yule's Festive Shrimp Bowl

Summer Yule, MS, RDN, says to save the meal prep recipes you love so that you can return to them again and again. "I like to use Pinterest to save my favorite recipes since it makes putting together a meal plan and grocery list easy," she says.

Easy Shrimp Fajita Bowl Meal Prep
1 cup brown rice, dry
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 pound raw tail-on peeled shrimp, thawed
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 medium bell peppers, sliced (one of each color: red, orange, yellow, green)
1 large onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, juiced
4 tablespoons sour cream

1. Cook the brown rice according to the directions on the package. While the rice cooks, prepare the rest of the meal.
2. Sprinkle the lime juice over the avocado to prevent browning.
3. Mix the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, and black pepper together.
4. Heat the avocado oil in a pan. Add the shrimp and spice mixture.
5. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are cooked through, stirring often. This will take 5-10 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan.
6. Add the bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno to the pan you cooked the shrimp in. 
7. Add ¼ cup water to the pan to help steam the veggies and to pick up some of the seasonings. 
8. Stir often until cooked (takes about 10 minutes).
When the peppers and onions have finished cooking, stir the shrimp in to fully distribute the seasonings.
Distribute the rice and the shrimp mixture evenly between four food containers. 
9. Add ¼ of the avocado and 1 T of sour cream to each container. (Keep these items separate if you will be reheating them later.)
Put the lids on the containers and refrigerate.

Leah Forristall's Favorite Meal Prep Chicken Dishes

One of the best meal prep tips, according to Leah Forristall, RD, LDN, owner of Simply Nutrition, is to follow one dish recipes. "This can be anything from a sheet pan meal where you're roasting vegetables and protein on the same pan, or even cooking a crockpot dish. You're saving time by cooking your items together," she says.

Honey Garlic Chicken
4 raw chicken breasts
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
Dash of pepper flakes

1. Place chicken breasts in the crockpot with all of the ingredients.
2. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.
3. Take the chicken out and shred with a fork, then place shredded chicken back into the crockpot. 
4. Store in one container in the fridge or separate into single-serving meal containers with a whole grain and vegetable of your choice. 

Salsa Chicken 
4 raw chicken breasts
1 jar of salsa
1 four-ounce can of green chilis
1 packet of taco seasoning
Dash of red pepper flakes

1. Place raw chicken breasts in the crockpot with all of the other ingredients. 
2. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.
3. Take the chicken out and shred with a fork, then place back into the crockpot. Store in one container in the fridge or separate into single-serving meal containers with a whole grain and vegetable of your choice! 
4. You can also use this chicken for tacos, placing in a tortilla with black beans.

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