Meal Prep in Minutes

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Meal prep doesn’t have to be long, hard, or crazy. Here are all my best tips for making it fast, easy, and delicious in partnership with Kohl’s!

Meal prep in just MINUTES every week. These tips make things so easy!

This post is written in partnership with Kohl’s. I love their selection of fitness gear, workout clothes, and kitchen wares that make healthy living a breeze!  

Big batch meal prep is really popular right now and for good reason. It’s easy to eat healthfully during the week when you’ve done all the work ahead of time!

My only complaint is that often this involves several hours of prep over the weekend or during the week, and I just don’t really have big long stretches of time like that to get it done.

If (like me), you don’t have 2-3 hours to devote to prepping, you can STILL get a lot done and make your life easier with a slightly different approach to meal prep. Here’s how I get it done in small bursts of time to simplify my entire week.

My BEST tips for meal prepping without a lot of time or effort!

1. Re-Think the Time Commitment.

It doesn’t need to take long and you don’t even need to do it all at once! Even if you don’t have 2-3 hours to devote to meal prep in a single burst, I bet you’ve got 5 minutes here, 10-20 minutes there, etc. There are a TON of simple meal-prep recipes you can get done with just a few minutes of work. 

  • Make a quick dip, dressing, or hummus in 5 minutes or less, which you could use for veggies, wraps, salad dressing, sandwiches, burgers, and more!
  • Wash some grapes and cut them into small bunches (5 minutes)
  • Assemble a box of washed and cut veggies (5-10 minutes)
  • Cook a batch of quinoa (5 minutes hands-on, 15 minutes cooking)
  • Mix up some granola or muffins to pop into the oven (5-10 minutes to make + baking time)

Then, fit it in here and there. I might wash some fruit or get out my knives to cut up veggies while the kids are eating a snack in the afternoon. Or, I might pop some quinoa on the stove or veggies in the oven while I’m loading the dishwasher, helping with homework, or watching a show with kids in the afternoon. It doesn’t need to be a grand production to be effective!

Meal Prep in MINUTES - My best tips for simplifying your meal prep. How to meal prep in just minutes. Forget long stretches of time or tons of effort. This makes it so easy!

2. Pick Two. Ish. 

Don’t worry about having every meal, snack, and treat prepped for the week. Instead, pick a few–maybe 2-4 things–you could get done and go from there.

Maybe you could really use a little extra help in the mornings–breakfast prep would be great! Maybe you’re so hungry in the afternoons that you find yourself rifling through packages in the pantry instead of making more nutritious choices. Sounds like some snack help would be awesome! Pick just a few things that will simplify your life! 

Two things that simplify life for me are having a great dip or dressing in the fridge and making a batch of energy bites. I can pull out my food processor (I swear by this one!) and have both jobs done in no time. That dip or dressing can be used for lunches, snacks, or dinner ideas and the energy bites are great snacks or pack easily in lunch boxes for school or work.

Breakfast ideas:



EASY, No-Fuss Meal Prep Ideas - Love how simple this makes things!

3. Think Versatility and Shortcuts

Similarly, I like picking a few things that can be multi-purpose. The MOST versatile thing I think you can have in your fridge is a veggie box. Load a container with washed, chopped veggies, and you’ve got the makings of all kinds of things. A few ways to use them…

  • Eat them fresh with a dip
  • Use them for wraps
  • Stir them into salads
  • Toss them into a stir fry for a quick dinner
  • Roast them with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper

You can also do things like cook a batch of quinoa (use it for a side dish, burrito bowls, or quinoa salad) or roast a pan of veggies (you can serve as a side dish, mix into quinoa, or stir into eggs). Maybe you make a quick batch of pasta sauce one morning, or put your chicken in a marinade before putting it in the freezer when you get home from the store (It’ll marinate while it thaws!).

These glass Pyrex containers make meal prep so easy! You can see exactly what's in the fridge! (Love this tip about labeling, too!)

4. Make it Easy to See

Raise your hand if you’ve ever discovered a forgotten container of something in the fridge and don’t remember quite how long it was in there? (This is me raising my hand.) How did it get lost?

For me, it’s usually because it wasn’t easy to see.

There is NO point in having a fridge full of yummy things to eat if you don’t know (or remember) what’s in there. I switched to see-through containers a few years ago and recently updated my collection with these Pyrex glass food storage and food prep containers from Kohl’s. I picked up the 24 piece set from (it was a great price!), and I’ve loved how easy it is to see just what’s inside.

Those glass containers are amazing. They’re freezer, oven, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher safe, so you really can use them for any kind of meal prep! Kohl’s carries all kinds and sizes. I love my colorful set, but they also carry this sleek white set, and individual sizes, like this or this. They run sales all the time, so you can check out their sale page to see weekly specials and sales.

On top of the glass containers (which simplify things so much) I also like to label my lids with a little painter’s tape and a paint marker or permanent marker. That way there’s no mystery left! I can see in the sides of the containers or read the label on top.

How to meal prep without a lot of time or effort. Meal prep in only minutes each week!

5. Use a plan to guide you

Again, you don’t NEED to plan out every single meal and snack throughout the week to be successful. If you’ve taken care of breakfast and snack, you can probably figure out lunches and dinners. Or, you can use the things you ARE prepping to guide you. 

  • If you’ve got a veggie box in the fridge, making a salad to go with dinner is a cinch.
  • If you’ve made a yummy dip or dressing, you can schmear it on a wrap, dollop it on a burger, or drizzle it over your salad.
  • If you’re planning to marinate chicken, you can do double the amount and use half for dinner one night and half for lunches for the next few days.
  • You can use roasted veggies to go with dinner one night and your eggs or omelet the next morning.

I always suggest baby steps. Especially when you’re making dietary changes, budget changes, or are just learning to cook, you don’t need to do everything all at once. You’ll find that when you can easily squeeze in just a few things a week, you’ll have that down in no time and can add to your skills and prep without much extra effort.

Meal Prep in Minutes - Meal prep doesn't have to be long, hard, or crazy. Here are all my best tips for making it fast, easy, and delicious!

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  1. Looking for easy ideas/ways to spice up (flavor wise, not spicey) meats and veggies that doesn’t include onion or garlic.

  2. I love this post! Food prep is my jam, and Sunday afternoons are my time to try and get whatever prepped that I can. Luckily my husband is willing to entertain the kids for a few hours so I can be uninterrupted in the kitchen. I always prep lunch salads for both of us, Graham’s lunches for the week, and chop whatever veggies we will need for the week. I always find prepping veggies almost as soon as I bring them home almost always assures we eat them before they go bad. A green pepper might get lost in the veggie drawer, but if it’s chopped and in a see-through container it’ll almost always get eaten. I also try and make a batch of muffins on Sundays for the kids’ snacks for the week. I like your idea of short-bursts of food prep though. Do what you can when you can, right? I LOVE your blog by the way 🙂

    1. Taryn – I’m loving EVERYTHING about this comment! That’s awesome! I really do think that see-through containers make a big difference for me and the chopped veggies are a life saver!

      (You are a rockstar!)

  3. A friend just sent me a link to one of your recipes (chicken & zucchini poppers – aka tonight’s dinner) and now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole that is your lovely site 🙂 I always try and fail at meal prep because of the time commitment and this post gets me. This, this I can do. And I thank you for it!

      1. Slowly making the meal prep happening – snacks and breakfasts prepped which is a start! Those two alone have helped save me time and keep me on track. Next up, adding lunch into the mix. Also, the chicken-zucchini poppers were delicious! Thinking of serving them as burgers with a sriracha -sour cream mixture on them next time!

  4. Thankyou for this post and your fantastic site. I’m planning to start boiling eggs and new potatoes in advance to use for breakfasts and lunches on weekends. Thanks for the inspiration. Any tips for storing chopped vegetables in the fridge so they don’t go bad?

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