When you begin researching meal prep, it can feel like only people with their sh*t 100% together are doing it (hello, soccer moms and ripped bodybuilders). However, we’re here to tell you that you can absolutely do weekly meal prep, no matter your life stage, income, schedule, or how messy your container drawer is.

Meal prep is all in the basics. And once you figure out these meal prep basics, you’ll actually get back a lot of time during the week that you would’ve otherwise spent standing in the kitchen deciding between takeout or making yet another microwave baked potato. 

What is Meal Prep?

To us, weekly meal prep means freezer-friendly breakfast burritos, one-pot pastas, hearty soups, and a sense of culinary independence—filling, easy dishes you can make with little prior cooking experience. Not dried up chicken breasts and a side of brown rice. So if you’re ordering takeout more than once a week or find yourself making scrambled eggs and toast for dinner most nights, meal prep is your next move.

Secondly, get inspired by the social media meal prep queens in your feed. Marvel at their gorgeous meal prep shots, but don’t let their posts intimidate you. You don’t need fancy containers to meal prep and feed yourself. You can make any container work as long as you can portion your meals out evenly. 

If you’re on a budget, start saving your glass peanut butter jars, or spaghetti sauce jars, and use them like you would mason jars. Or use the large plastic tubs your Greek yogurt comes in. And lastly, if you’re really starting from scratch (new apartment, no Tupperware, etc), just hit up your local IKEA or Walmart for affordable meal prep containers. Don’t forget to look for ones that are dishwasher-safe to make your life even easier throughout the week. If you don’t have a dishwasher yet... you’ll get there one day.

Most importantly, have faith that there are so many shortcuts you can take advantage of when doing weekly meal prep. 1) You can use meal planning apps to make choosing recipes easier. 2) Use pre-cooked chicken if raw meat freaks you out. 3) Muffin tins are key for making scrambled egg cups, and 4) you can put your favorite smoothie ingredients into Ziploc baggies ahead of time for easy grab-and-go breakfasts. Don’t stress about taking notes, all of those tips and more live in the articles below. 

Weekly Meal Prep 101

If you’ve never done weekly meal prep before, don’t psych yourself out. Take it slow, and begin by prepping just one recipe. You won’t be able to eat off of that one recipe all week, but having even one dish prepped for the week will be super useful. Once you’re comfortable making one recipe in advance, slowly begin making more and more recipes during a single cooking session. The number of recipes you should work towards prepping all at once depends on your schedule, so think ahead to what you’ve got planned for the following week, how many meals you’ll need to make, and choose your recipes accordingly. 

Weekly Meal Prep Ideas

Another way to ease into meal prep is to choose recipes based on what your busiest time of day is. If you tend to eat out for lunch because you’re short on time, prep only your lunches for the week and stop there. And if you can’t stand eating the same thing for the entire week, halve a few different recipes and make only a few portions of each recipe. Or make full portions of a few recipes and save some portions for a later date. The meal prep world is your oyster. 

Whole Foods Meal Prep

We won’t ask how many times you’ve gone into Whole Foods with a specific shopping list in mind and left with twice the amount of food you need, and about five products from their beauty and wellness aisles. We’ve been there, more than once. But if the #1 obstacle standing between you and your weekly meal prep is knowing what ingredients you really need to make food for the week, these Whole Foods meal prep guides will help you out. In these articles, we list exactly what you need to buy at Whole Foods and how much each item costs so you know precisely how much money you’ll be spending on your grocery run. Prices vary, but you get what we’re throwing down.

Trader Joe's Meal Prep

The rivalry between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s fans is a thing, so naturally we had to create meal prep recipes for both chains. If you’re team TJ’s, the articles below will make weekly meal prep easier for you with simple recipes and exact grocery lists of the produce you need to buy.