What Is “Hero Meal Prep”?

Save yourself from takeout by practicing hero meal prep.

I’ve always been a big fan of meal prep and often will carve out time on a Sunday afternoon to make my lunches and dinners for the week. Meal prep is so helpful because it saves us from eating takeout or delivery when we’re tired at the end of the day and don’t feel like cooking, and it can help to maintain both a food budget and a healthy eating plan. But apparently, the next level of this concept is hero meal prep, and that takes meal planning a step further.

How to Do “Hero Meal Prep”

I’ve been doing hero meal prep on my own at home for some time, and it’s essentially making a large meal and freezing the leftovers. You then freeze it in portions, until you’re ready to defrost and enjoy it. This may be something like roasting a chicken or making a slow cooker brisket. There are all sorts of healthy meal prep recipes with which this tactic would work.

The hack comes courtesy of fitness influencer Kevin Curry (@fitmencook) on Instagram, who calls it the “hero meal.” He’s not even the only influencer who does this! It makes perfect sense—after all, you can basically freeze food forever, though the quality may begin to decline after a while depending on the type of food.

More Meal Prep Tips

Preparing healthy vegetarian food ahead in lunch boxes, top down viewfortyforks/Getty Images

Make a plan: Some of the best ways I’ve discovered to meal prep is to schedule the meals out in advance for the week. Perhaps you’ll make that chicken on Sunday and plan out that the leftovers will be a stir-fry on Monday and enchiladas on Tuesday. Then, all the planning is done for you. Just grab that chicken from your meal prep containers and make the assigned version of the meal on the day it is planned.

Stay organized: Part of making meal prep work for you is staying organized. So you’ll want to load up on meal prep products, like the right containers and labels. Meals in the freezer mean nothing if you don’t know what those frozen containers are.

Cycle your meals: The idea is to never get bored, so don’t just look at it as heating up leftovers each night. Find a way to enjoy those hero meal prep dishes in a variety of ways.

Meal Prep Recipes for the Week Ahead
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Aly Walansky
Aly is an award-winning travel and food journalist with more than 20 years' experience writing for many media outlets, including Wine Enthusiast, Food Network, Forbes, TODAY, Southern Living, Allrecipes and The Kitchn, among others. Muck Rack rated her the No. 1 food journalist of 2022. Her Substack, which she sends out six days a week, was recently rated a Substack bestseller and reaches thousands of people each day. Every day, you can watch Aly make dinner on her "pretend" Instagram cooking show.