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12 Easy Meal Prep Ideas You’ll Actually Use

There's nothing like seeing a refrigerator full of fully-prepped meals and snacks. We've rounded up a dozen easy meal prep ideas that will make your life simpler!

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Woman with saucepan full of tasty ricePixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Make Big Batches of Grains All at Once

If you only have time to meal prep one food this weekend, make it this one! A big batch of grains like cooked brown rice or quinoa is simple and has endless possibilities. From hearty lunch salads to quick dinners, a pot of grains will serve you well all week.

Here are just a few tasty recipes to whip together in minutes:

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Homemade salad in glass jar with quinoa and vegetables.Iryna Melnyk/Shutterstock

Layer Salads in Mason Jars

There’s nothing worse than being stranded at work with nothing but a soggy salad for lunch. Keep the crunch and vibrant flavors by layering your daily salad in a mason jar. First, pour in the dressing to keep your veggies crunchy. Once it’s time for lunch, shake it up for a crave-worthy meal in seconds.

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Chef cook chopping spring onions on a white board.Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock

Cut Fruits & Vegetables for the Week

When healthy fruits and veggies are easy to grab, you and your family will be more likely to reach for them. Set yourself up for success by chopping a variety of veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions and peppers. You’ll be able to grab a few bell pepper sticks when hunger strikes and be ready to make easy vegetable dishes like these all week:

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smoothie ingredient: frozen strawberries in clear plastic bagZoeytoja/Shutterstock

Assemble Smoothie Bags

What’s easier than grabbing a smoothie in the morning? Grabbing one that’s already been prepped and measured! Assemble small plastic bags with frozen fruit like bananas and berries and keep them in the freezer all week. In the morning, dump the bag into the blender with a little almond milk for a healthy breakfast in no time.

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Veggie quinoa burgers with lettuce, tomato and spinachSebastiana/Shutterstock

Make Veggie Burgers

If your usual lunch options have gotten boring, spice things up with a veggie burger wrap. Bake a big batch of healthy burgers and enjoy them on their own or over a salad, grains or in a wrap. If you have time to make a double batch, freeze the extras for easy lunches.

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Fruity Baked OatmealTaste of Home

Prepare Baked Oatmeal or Breakfast Casserole

Give yourself a hot breakfast every morning when you prepare a pan of baked oatmeal. You’ll start the day right with plenty of healthy fiber and vitamins from oats and fruit. This is one of our best quick and easy meal prep ideas; one pan should feed your family all week!

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Summer Salad by the LakeTaste of Home

Make a Big Lunch Salad

Once you’ve gotten the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen, the last thing you feel like doing is packing lunches for the following day. But what if all you had to do was grab a container of prepped quinoa salad? These vibrant, healthy salads keep well all week and will satisfy you all day.

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Close up photo of a woman chopping vegetables on a cutting board in a white kitchen with blue accents.jan j. photography/Shutterstock

Mix Together Slow Cooker Ingredients

Slow cooker dinners are perfect for busy weeknights. After a long day at work or school, you get to walk into a cozy house already filled with the smell of comfort food. If you have time over the weekend, place all of your slow cooker ingredients in Tupperware or large plastic bags so all you have to do in the morning is dump and go!

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Organic ingredients for healthy lunch - berries, milk, egg, oatmeal on grey concrete background. j.chizhe/Shutterstock

Package Individual Servings of Snacks

It’s hard to eat healthy when you’re starving and searching the pantry for just about anything. Give yourself the gift of prepped snacks by setting aside individual bags of trail mix, popcorn or other snacks in small plastic bags. Portion control done!

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Lamb cubes, marinating in olive oil with garlic, rosemary and lemon.Robyn Mackenzie/Shutterstock

Marinate Meat

If you’re planning to grill this week, save yourself a step and marinate your meat or veggies now. When it’s time to cook, your food will be juicy and perfectly seasoned. Make your own marinade or grab a favorite salad dressing to save time.

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Various roasted fruits and vegetableMaraZe/Shutterstock

Roast Veggies for the Week

Once you have your veggies washed and chopped, toss them with a little salt and olive oil to roast them for the week. Store them in a sealed container and serve them for easy side dishes at dinner or over rice for a quick lunch.

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Chicken broccoli rabe soupTaste of Home

Simmer a Pot of Soup

Make your lunches for the week while filling the house with delicious scents by simmering a pot of soup this weekend. Stick to one of these 30-minute soup recipes to make sure you still have plenty of relaxing weekend time after your meal prepping.

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