Meal Prepping Tips

Our guide provides essential meal prepping tips, covering meal planning, grocery shopping, scheduling prep time, and proper storage. It's designed to help you save time and eat healthier, whether you're new to meal prepping or looking to improve your approach.

Are you often unsure about what to make for your next meal? If you’re always busy and have little time to cook during the week, or if you’re trying to hit calorie and macro goals, or even if you’re trying to save money, meal prepping could be the answer for you!

Meal prepping can be a tricky topic, so we’ve put together an easy guide for beginners. It covers everything you need to start, following expert advice from nutritionist Sarah Appleford.

What Is Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping is all about getting your meals ready before you need them, usually for the whole week.

You cook everything in one go, so during the week, you don’t have to cook from scratch or spend money on fast food. Meal prepping can be as simple as chopping veggies ahead of time or cooking all your meals fully, depending on what works for you and your routine.

Who Can Benefit From Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping can benefit everyone! It’s especially handy for people who are:

  • Short on time or want to stop worrying about what to eat every day.
  • Working full-time, studying, or looking after kids.
  • Trying to stick to a certain diet or budget.
  • Wanting to hit certain calories and macros during the day/week.

How to Meal Prep

Meal prepping might sound fancy, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. You don’t need to be a kitchen whiz to do it. Here’s how to start making tasty and healthy meals ahead of time:

  1. Figure out how many meals you need. Are you planning for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole week? Count how many meals that adds up to. This helps you plan what to cook and how much time you’ll need.
  2. Decide what to cook. What’s your goal? Losing weight, building muscle, or just eating healthier? Choose meals that help you reach that goal. Try new recipes, but keep them simple to avoid stress. Meals should include protein, veggies, some carbs, and a bit of healthy fat.
  3. Write down your menu. This keeps you organized and helps when shopping for ingredients.
  4. Make a shopping list. Check what you already have to avoid buying the same things. Organize your list to make shopping quicker.
  5. Plan when to cook. Set specific times for meal prepping, like Sunday and Wednesday nights. This way, you won’t have to cook every day.
  6. Cook efficiently. Cook similar ingredients together. Start with the things that take longest to cook. Season meats simply, so you can add variety later.
  7. Pack and store your meals. Let food cool before you put it away. Use different containers for different meals. Label them if that helps. Keep meals for the next 3-4 days in the fridge and freeze the rest.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to meal prep successfully and enjoy homemade, healthy meals all week long.

Is Meal Prepping Right For You?

✅ Improved health and fitness 

By cooking at home, you control your meal’s ingredients and portion sizes, helping you meet health or fitness goals like weight loss or muscle gain.

Meets dietary needs

Meal prepping is great if you have dietary restrictions due to allergies, medical conditions, or preferences like vegan or keto diets.

✅ Saves time 

Prepping meals ahead means less time cooking daily, allowing for quick, healthy meals instead of fast food.

✅ Saves money 

Cooking at home is cheaper than eating out, helping you save money over time.

✅ Reduces food waste 

Planning meals helps use up what you have, reducing waste and saving money.

✅ Reduces stress 

Having meals ready means less worry about what to eat after a long day.

The Downsides of Meal Prepping

There aren’t many downsides to prepping meals in advanced, but it’s worth considering the following:

Meal prepping requires dedication and future-thinking

It can get boring eating the same thing after a while

If you don’t properly store your food, you may get sick from bacteria growth

How Much Time Does Meal Prepping Take?

Meal prepping usually takes about 4 hours, including planning, shopping, cooking, and storing. This time can change based on how much food you’re making for the week.

Cooking time changes with the recipe. Simple meals like rice, fish, or veggies might take 2 hours for a week’s food. But, eating the same thing every day can get boring.

To save time and enjoy different meals, try these tips:

  • Use different kitchen tools like a slow cooker.
  • Cook different meals using the same ingredients but different methods.
  • Mix fresh and ready-to-eat ingredients.
  • Make several easy dishes instead of one complicated one.
  • Cook bigger batches at once.

How Does Meal Prepping Cost?

The cost of meal prepping varies depending on what ingredients you buy and how many meals you’re making. Generally, it can be cheaper than eating out because you buy ingredients in bulk and cook at home. The price might increase if you choose organic or specialty items. However, planning and buying only what you need can help keep costs down.

Meal Prepping Kitchen Essentials

You don’t need to be a top chef to get into meal prepping. Just focus on three main things: the kitchen gear you’ll need, how you’ll store your food, and the ingredients you’ll use.

Kitchen Appliances

You don’t need fancy equipment to start meal prepping. Just some basics like:

  • Stove and oven
  • Pots, pans, and baking trays
  • Knives, cutting boards, and measuring cups

If you want to get a bit more advanced, you might consider:

  • Rice cooker
  • Blender
  • Slow cooker

Our favourites:

  1. Kogan ThermoBlend Elite All-in-One Food Processor & Cooker
  2. George Foreman Electric Grill
  3. Kmart 3-in-1 Air Fryer Oven

Food Storage

The right containers make all the difference. Think about:

  • How many you need based on how many days you’re prepping for.
  • Choosing between plastic and glass – plastic is lighter and cheaper, but glass is better for the environment and generally safer for reheating.
  • If you need them to be leak-proof, especially if you’re carrying meals to work or school.
  • Size matters – pick containers that fit a meal comfortably.
  • Price – plastic is cheapest, followed by silicone, glass, and stainless steel.


No matter what kind of meal you’re cooking, it should always contain:

  • A good source of protein
  • A portion of complex carbs
  • Plenty of veggies
  • Some healthy fats

If you are looking for weight loss or muscle gain, or living with a chronic health issue, having your dietary requirements assessed by your health practitioner will help ensure you’re meeting your macro and micronutrient needs.

Good Meal Prep Ingredients

  • Proteins: Chicken, Beef, Tuna, Eggs, Salmon, Turkey, Pork, Legumes, Tofu, Tinned fish, Tempeh
  • Complex Carbs: Rice, Pasta, Noodles, Sweet potato, Quinoa, Chickpeas, Buckwheat, Pearl barley, Freekeh
  • Fats: Avocado, Almonds, Macadamia, Olive oil, Nut oil, Cheese, Greek yoghurt, Hummus, Nut butter
  • Vegetables: Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Cabbage, Carrot, Zucchini, Capsicum, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Mushrooms

Reconsider These Ingredients

Here are some foods to avoid for meal prepping, as they might not keep or reheat well:

  • Bread: It can get soggy in the fridge, making sandwiches less enjoyable.
  • Cooked Cheese: Be careful with reheating; it can upset your stomach.
  • Seafood: It can smell strong when you reheat it.
  • Fresh Veggies and Fruits: They can lose their crispiness, especially if mixed with wet foods. Using containers with compartments can help keep them fresh.

Healthy Meal Prep Recipe Ideas 🌮

Need meal prep inspiration? Take a look at some of the best meal prep ideas to get you started.

Low-Calorie Meal Prep Recipe Ideas 🥙

Meal prep and portioning out the meals individually ahead of time is a great strategy to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Take a look at these recipe ideas, which are all 500 calories or less.


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