Why prep meals every day when you can prep them once a week? That’s what batch cooking is all about — dedicate a few hours each week to your shopping, prepping and cooking for all your meals and snacks. You’ll save time and money! To get you started, here are 12 meals and snacks that will hold up well if you make them ahead of time.
1. HEARTY BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS | BUDGET BYTES
These freezable quesadillas are great for busy days. Bursting with colorful veggies, taco spices and, of course, plenty of cheese, they’re super filling. Choose no salt added beans to control sodium levels. Recipe makes 10 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 243; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 501mg; Carbohydrate: 37g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 11g
2. FREEZER OATMEAL CUPS | CUPCAKES AND KALE CHIPS
This recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Make oatmeal ahead of time then put in muffin tins, sprinkle with your favorite toppings and pop in the freezer. On busy mornings, all you have to do is reheat them. Pair with scrambled eggs and sautéed spinach to make this meal even more wholesome. Recipes makes 6 servings at 4 freezer cups each serving.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 96mg; Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 16g; Protein: 8g
3. SKINNY SPINACH LASAGNA | PINCH OF YUM
Lasagna is ideal not only for big family meals but also as leftovers that can last the whole week. Filled with the usual layers of sauce, noodles and cheese, this lasagna also packs in spinach, along with 18 grams of protein per serving. Bonus: It uses no-boil noodles to save a step! Recipe makes 12 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 261; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 47mg; Sodium: 490mg; Carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 18g
4. 1-MINUTE BERRY PEANUT BUTTER SMOOTHIE FOR TWO | MYFITNESSPAL’S RECIPES
Smoothies are quick grab-and-go meals in the morning. Prepare smoothie packets ahead of time with your favorite fruits and vegetables, and store in the freezer. In the morning, just blend a packet with one cup of liquid, and enjoy! (This can help prevent berries and bananas going bad quicker than you can use them.) Recipe makes 2 servings at 1 cup each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 156; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 57mg; Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 5g
5. ZUCCHINI NOODLE BOLOGNESE | DOWNSHIFTOLOGY
Make this bolognese paired with zucchini noodles for a tasty weeknight dinner that is also gluten- and grain-free. To keep your dish tasting great, keep the “zoodles” and sauce separate until ready to eat. (And note that zucchini noodles will stay fresh for only a couple of days, so plan accordingly.) Recipe makes 4 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 350; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 71mg; Sodium: 251mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 32g
6. LIGHT FREEZER BREAKFAST SANDWICHES | FAVORITE FAMILY RECIPES
Need a breakfast that is portable, warm and filling? These breakfast sandwiches are easy heat-and-eat meals in the a.m. With eggs, sausage and cheese, these are just like the ones from the drive-thru, only lighter! Each sandwich has less than 240 calories and is high in protein, too. (Tip: Add the optional tomato slice after thawing and reheating your sandwich.) Recipe makes 24 servings at 1 sandwich each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 234; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 101mg; Sodium: 411mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 19g
7. GUACAMOLE TURKEY BURGERS | THE GARLIC DIARIES
Burgers don’t always have to be a guilty pleasure. These burgers are made with lean ground turkey and flavored with lots of spices, then topped with plenty of rich, creamy guacamole — a source of healthy fats. Tip: Make the burgers ahead of time, but whip up the guacamole just before eating since avocados turn brown quickly. Recipe makes 3 servings at 1 patty and 1/3 avocado mixture each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 306; Total Fat: 22g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 10g; Cholesterol: 91mg; Sodium: 479mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 23g
8. WHOLE-WHEAT OATMEAL PANCAKES | SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION
Want to eat your favorite weekend brunch pancakes on weekdays as well? You can, with these fluffy, whole-grain pancakes. Make a batch of pancakes, and layer them on a baking sheet. Then, freeze until firm. Transfer to sandwich bags, and freeze until ready to use. All you have to do in the morning is to heat them up in the microwave. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 pancakes each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 96; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 23mg; Sodium: 117mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 3g
9. GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE OAT MUFFINS | MYFITNESSPAL’S RECIPES
Simple and easy, these gluten-free chocolate-banana muffins are great to pack for work or the gym. Naturally sweetened with bananas and honey, each chocolatey muffin is loaded with complex carbs to keep you satisfied longer. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 muffin each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 250; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 31mg; Sodium: 115mg; Carbohydrate: 37g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 7g
10. HEARTY BUTTERNUT SQUASH VEGGIE CHILI | FIT LIVING EATS
In winter, warm up with the perfect meal: a hearty bowl of chili. Loaded with butternut squash and two kinds of beans, this chili is rich in satisfying fiber and protein. You won’t even notice that it’s both vegan and gluten-free. Eat it as is (with your favorite chili fixings), or load it up on baked sweet potato. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 298; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 435mg; Carbohydrate: 50g; Dietary Fiber: 15g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 14g
11. EASY FAJITA CHICKEN BAKE | THE PINNING MAMA
Chock-full of colorful peppers, chicken and cheese, this fajita chicken bake is a quick and simple dinner that is sure to satisfy your Mexican cravings. Pair this dish with rice, beans or tortillas for a complete meal. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 167; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 48mg; Sodium: 138mg; Carbohydrate: 4g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 20g
12. FREEZER-FRIENDLY BREAKFAST BURRITOS | THE KITCHN
Make mornings less hectic by having a batch of these freezer-friendly breakfast burritos on hand. Filled with eggs, cheese, veggies and potatoes, these burritos will be sure to keep you full until lunch. You can customize them by adding any of your favorite ingredients: Try potato-chorizo, spinach-feta or roasted veggie-black bean burritos. Recipe makes 12 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 301; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 196mg; Sodium: 501mg; Carbohydrate: 27g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 13g