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18 healthy meal prep ideas

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Discover our best batch cooking recipes and freezable meals. Or, if you’re looking for nutritionist-approved dishes which make enough to eat leftovers the next day, have a look at our Healthy Diet Plan.

1. Meal prep pasta salads

Make three healthy takes on pasta salad in one go – salmon pasta, chicken pasta and aubergine pasta – ready to be boxed up and popped into the fridge for lunch on consecutive days.

Try our easy meal prep pasta recipe or watch our video guide to healthy lunch meal prep. And for more inspiration, check out our healthy pasta salad recipes.

If you prefer something hot, our big-batch Bolognese recipe makes a whopping 12 servings and freezes beautifully – simply reheat and serve over cooked wholemeal pasta.

2. Meal prep rice salads

Wholegrain rice is a meal prep favourite and can be flavoured with all sorts of delicious ingredients. Our easy meal prep rice recipe uses a base made from brown basmati rice mixed with herbs, onion and a zingy cider vinegar dressing. Split the base into two Tupperware pots and top one with a healthy tuna salad and the other with crumbled feta, beetroot and crushed walnuts.

3. Big-batch soups

Set aside an hour on Sunday to make a big batch of healthy soup, freeze individual portions in freezer-and-microwave-friendly Tupperware and then feel smug in the knowledge that your lunches are sorted for the week ahead.

Try our freezable chunky butternut mulligatawny, herby chicken & butter bean soup, Italian vegetable soup and red lentil & chorizo soup.

4. Hearty quinoa salad

Peruvian chicken, avocado & quinoa salad on a light blue plate

Versatile quinoa is easy to cook ahead and keep stored in the fridge. It’s delicious with meat, fish or veggies and packs a serious protein punch, making it an excellent option for pre- or post-workout meals. For a fresh and zesty dish, try our Peruvian-style chicken, avocado and quinoa salad.

Discover our top quinoa salad recipes, including easy quinoa salad with roast vegetables and feta, tuna, quinoa and avocado salad and herby quinoa with feta and pomegranate.

5. Vegan shepherd’s pie

These individually portioned vegan shepherd’s pie recipe are packed with veggies and chickpeas, and topped with crispy potatoes. Make eight pies and stash in the freezer, ready to be pulled out when you want a low-calorie, low-fat, healthy dinner.

We also have a hearty aubergine, tomato and halloumi pie that’s bursting with Mediterranean flavours and creamy leek, pesto and squash pie, which is perfect for batch cooking and filling the freezer.

6. Keto frittata

Keto tarragon, mushroom and sausage frittata in a pan

For a keto-friendly meal, fry up our tarragon, mushroom and sausage frittata. It’s filling enough for lunch or dinner, delicious eaten hot or cold, and won’t cause your energy levels to slump in the afternoon.

If you’re watching your carb intake, we have lots more ketogenic diet recipes which have been chosen by a nutritionist to supply no more than 15g of carbohydrate per serving.

7. Fishcakes

Pea & mint fishcakes on a baking tray with salad, lemon and tartare sauce

Fishcakes are robust enough to make ahead and pack for lunch, or you can pop them uncooked into the freezer to keep for another time. Once you know how to make them, it’s easy to switch up the fish and the flavours depending on what you fancy.

Why not start with our healthy pea and mint fishcakes? Then try using tinned tuna to make our tuna and sweetcorn fishcakes or peppered mackerel.

Tinned tuna is an incredibly versatile ingredient that’s perfect for meal prep. Keep some in the cupboard and give our tinned tuna recipes a go.

8. Nourishing curry

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

Our vegan spinach and sweet potato dhal makes for a comforting weeknight dinner – and packs up just as well for another day. It’s rich in iron but low in fat and calories, so you’re guaranteed to feel great after you eat a bowl.

Be inspired by our healthy curry recipes. We have a freezable chicken korma and paneer jalfrezi with rice that will keep for three days in the fridge – both become more delicious and flavoursome over time. Just be sure to reheat thoroughly and safely.

9. Wraps and burritos

Spicy rice burritos on a chopping board

A tortilla or wrap filled with plenty of veggies and protein is a great way to fill up for lunch or dinner. Our spicy rice burritos are stuffed with avocado, sweetcorn, lettuce and tomato rice – they keep overnight in the fridge and make an excellent option for a take-to-work lunch.

Not vegetarian? Then try our spicy chicken and avocado wraps. Lean chicken breast is pan-friend with chilli, garlic and lime, and piled into seeded wraps to make a fabulous alternative to your standard sarnie.

10. Noodle salad

Noodle salad with sesame dressing

If all you have time for is assembling a few ingredients then a noodle salad is a great way to go. Cook your noodles to packet instructions then run under cold water and toss together with veggies, nuts, tofu, chicken, prawns or fish. Add a punchy sauce and you’re ready to tuck in.

Vegans will love our wholemeal noodle salad with crunchy sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, juicy clementines and a spicy-salty sesame dressing. If you prefer fish, give our salmon and noodle salad a go. And meat-lovers should try our miso steak with noodle salad.

11. Stuffed peppers

Gremolata couscous stuffed peppers

This wholesome vegetarian dish of gremolata couscous stuffed peppers is packed with zesty, herby flavours. As the peppers roast in the oven, they take on a soft sweetness that works wonderfully with the punchy acidity of the gremolata. Make double and reheat the leftovers for your lunch or dinner.

Want more recipes like this? Check out our vegan stuffed peppers cooked with olives, chilli flakes and passata, and our vegetarian chilli stuffed peppers.

12. Lighter meatballs

Meatballs with fennel & balsamic beans & courgette noodles

Add meatballs to your menu and you won’t be disappointed. Make them with lamb, pork, turkey or lean beef mince and serve on a bed of wholemeal couscous, rice or pasta for a meal that’s just as hearty as it is healthy. You can easily double quantities and make enough to last you the week, or pop some in the freezer for busy days.

If you’d prefer something a little lighter, try our meatballs with fennel, balsamic beans and courgetti or browse our healthy meatball recipes to find your favourites.

13. Roasted vegetables

Giant couscous salad with charred veg & tangy pesto on a serving platter

Roasting vegetables is something which can easily be done ahead of time and all you need to do is add protein, salad or grains to have yourself a healthy meal in minutes.

Go Mediterranean and mix aubergine, peppers, courgettes and red onions with oregano and garlic, then top with basil and feta. Or roast beetroot, peppers, onion and tomatoes until sweet and sticky, then toss with giant couscous and zingy coriander pesto for a hearty dinner that packs up well.

14. Healthy bowls

Spinach falafel & hummus bowl with pitta, cucumber and spinach

Meal prep doesn’t get easier than taking a few healthy ingredients and combining them in a bowl to make a lunch or dinner that’s filling, tasty and gives you a good balance of nutrients. Keep all the ingredients in your fridge so you can throw them together when you’re hungry – or build your bowls ahead of time and pack to go.

Knowing the best combination of flavours and textures is key to creating a good bowl meal. Go for fresh, crunchy, creamy and light with our vegan spinach falafel and hummus bowl. Or marinate prawns in a chilli and lime dressing, then serve with grains, mango, radish, avocado and spring onions.

15. Pasta bake

Healthy chicken pasta bake

You can’t go wrong with a classic pasta bake and our lighter version made with wholemeal penne, chicken, rich tomato sauce, veg and mozzarella is truly one of the best. Once baked, portions can be kept in plastic containers to be eaten for lunch or dinner throughout the week.

Got a bag of pasta to use up? We have lots more healthy pasta recipes, including creamy spinach and mushroom penne, easy tuna pasta and vegan carbonara.

16. Burgers

Turkey & coriander burgers with guacamole

Use lean turkey mince to make our healthy burgers and serve with sweet potato wedges, a green salad or in buns if you’re looking for something more filling. The patties will keep well in the freezer, so double the recipe and save a few for dinners on busy days.

Go veggie with our miso chickpea burgers or discover new favourites in our healthy burgers collection.

17. Homemade protein pots

If you’re looking to increase your protein intake from time to time, it can be tempting to reach for energy bars or pricey shop-bought high-protein pots, but it’s really easy to prep your own. Each of our protein pot recipes provides two servings, is quick to make and keeps well in the fridge for two days. Make it your own, choose tuna niçoise, Indian chicken or steak and broccoli.

18. Veggie chilli

With two different types of beans, plenty of veg and a sweet, smoky tomato sauce, this chilli is a real winner. Make eight servings in one session and freeze for later in the week. Stock up on wholegrain rice pouches to serve with it for a speedy supper.

Try our double bean & roasted pepper chilli recipe. Or, if you’re a meat-eater, try our delicious pulled chicken and black beans chilli – it can easily be doubled and frozen for another time.

A note on food safety

While many foods can be safely stored in the fridge, some dishes such as soups, stews or pasta sauces may be best popped into sturdy plastic containers and stashed in the freezer. Follow the recipe instructions on thawing and always reheat until piping hot. For more information, read the FSA’s top food safety tips and our guide on how to reheat leftovers.

Enjoyed this? Read more…

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This article was updated on 20 July 2022.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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