Meal prepping can be helpful for a number of reasons. It allows you to guarantee you're getting healthy foods (if that's what you're going for), you can save time, and you can save money! With that being said, it can also be a major pain if you don't have a lot of experience, or just simply don't have the brain energy to think about it! Here are 10 ways to make meal prepping more manageable, and to help your week go a little smoother!

Cook Your Grains Ahead of Time

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Jasmine Chan

Pasta, rice, quinoa, these grains can be a pain to cook up for every meal. Make a big batch of your favorite grains ahead of time, then through the week you can add different toppings creating completely different meals with the same base. 

Cut and Freeze Your Veggies

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Gabby Quintana

You can cook all your veggies for the week ahead of time, but they tend to get soggy and unappealing towards the end of the week. Instead of cooking veggies for the whole week, try just cutting them and portioning them out into bags, then freezing them. When you're ready to add them to a meal, all you have to do is dump the veggies into a pan, and minutes later you'll have fresh cooked veggies.

Find Low Prep Protein Sources

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Megan Prendergast

Cooking all your protein sources, especially meat or fish, ahead of time can be a lot. For one, it usually doesn't taste great after a few days, and second, who wants to eat the exact same thing every day? Having easy protein sources on hand like canned beans, pre-cooked sausages, deli meat, or eggs need almost no preparation, and will add a lot to your meal.

Make Your Breakfast the Night Before

Jamie Hegg

If you're crunched for time in the mornings, make your breakfast the night before or even days ahead of time. Overnight oats are a simple option that keep well. In addition, you can cook up a big batch of waffles or pancakes, freeze them, and throw them in the toaster when you're ready to eat them!

Get to Know Your Spices

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Srishti Jain

One of the hardest parts about meal prepping is keeping it flavorful. Just because you're not cooking your meal fresh everyday doesn't mean it has to lack variety and flavor. Think about the types of foods you love, and find out what spices are used in them. A lot of times stores will have pre-made spice blends which are a great option if you aren't a flavor expert.

Keep Different Sauces on Hand

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A delicious sauce can transform even the most boring ingredients. You could eat the same grain, veggie, and protein all week long, but if you switch up the sauce it could taste like a totally different meal. Try keeping a couple of different sauces in your fridge. You can make them yourself, or buy them at the store; either way they are worth the investment.

Switch it Up

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It can be hard to switch it up a ton if you're prepping your whole week ahead of time, but you should definitely create variety week after week. Don't prep the same meals you just ate for the past week, try something different! There are tons of great resources online with easy meal prep recipes, so don't be afraid to try something different.

Invest in a Slow Cooker

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Slow cookers are a great option for creating a lot of flavor with really minimal effort. These are great for cooking things like meat, but you can also make stews, pastas, casseroles, and more in them. While slow cooker meals do include some prep work ahead of time, once you get all your ingredients into the pot, you can leave it for hours and come home to a nice hot meal.

Buy or Make Nutritionally Dense Snacks

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Shelby Cohron

If you're meal prepping a lot, chances are you're a pretty busy person. There's always a chance that your main dish might not be able to hold you through to the next meal (or if you're like me, it definitely won't), so it's important to have some nutritionally dense snacks on hand. Trail mix and energy balls/bars are easy options to prep yourself, or you can find some healthy bars you like and keep these with you for hangry emergencies!

Cook Sheet Pan Meals

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The easiest way to meal prep is to cook on a sheet pan. Whether it's veggies or proteins, all you have to do is prep and season the ingredients, throw them in the pan, and let 'em sit in the oven for a bit while you do something else! 

Nailing meal prep takes a little bit of practice and patience, but when you're having a jam packed day, you'll appreciate finding a ready-to-go meal in your fridge!