Simplify your meal planning with our free printable meal prep checklist template. Stay organized and save time with this download!
Introduction to Meal Prepping
Looking for get started with meal prepping? You've come to the right place! I put together the ultimate checklist and guide to getting started, including a printable meal planner template you can use for prepping your weekly meals.
Benefits of Using a Meal Prep Checklist
These are just some of the benefits of using a meal prep checklist for your weekly meal planning:
- Saves time: By prepping certain ingredients ahead of time, you'll be cutting down on the amount of time you need to spend cooking the day-of.
- Saves money: You'll be able to see where ingredients match up for different recipes, which will help build your grocery shopping list and cuts down on the amount of money you spend on your weekly groceries.
- Helps build healthy eating habits: You'll be way less tempted to stop for unhealthy takeout on the way home when you know there's a healthy, easy-to-make meal waiting at home.
- Reduces stress: When you have a busy schedule, the last thing you want to think about is spending an hour in the kitchen making dinner. If you prep your ingredients on a Sunday using this checklist, you'll be reducing decision fatigue and reducing stress when it comes to actually cooking your daily meals!
How to Use the Checklist Effectively
Step 1: Develop your meal plan.
First things first – decide on what recipes you'll be making using your weekly meal planner template. Refer to your spreadsheet of primary recipes and decide on what dishes you'll be making that week, whether you're sticking with tried-and-true favourites or trying out some new recipes. You can check out my post on how to create a meal prep plan for more tips and tricks.
Step 2: Identify what you can prep.
You don't need to prep every single ingredient for the entire week, but it is a good idea to go through your meal plan calendar and determine what you can make ahead of time. This includes marinating proteins, cooking grains, grating cheese, chopping up veggies, etc.
Step 3: Download or print the template.
My meal prep template is available in PDF format, so you can physically print it off and store it in a binder or fill it out on your computer.
Step 4: Fill out the checklist.
Fill out the weekly menu planner portion at the top, then list out everything you're planning on prepping including proteins, grains, sauces/marinades, dairy and produce. Feel free to add any snacks you want to prep to the notes if you're feeling ambitious!
Tips for Successful Meal Prepping
Here are some of my top tips when it comes to meal prepping:
- Choose recipes with overlapping ingredients: Wherever possible, try to choose meals that have similar ingredients to reduce food waste and cut down on your grocery list (and budget). For example, if you're making a stir fry that uses fresh ginger, you could also make a soup that week that uses fresh ginger.
- Don't go overboard: I'd recommending prepping a maximum of three ingredients from each category – so three proteins, three grains, three sauces etc. You don't want to completely overwhelm yourself with the amount of prep, so keep things realistic. The idea is to reduce stress, not add to it.
- Establish a routine: One of my top tips for getting into meal planning is to establish a routine and set aside specific days of the week where you'll do your meal prep. If you prep at the same time every week, whether that be on a Sunday, Monday or any day of the week, it'll help you establish that as a weekly routine.
- Keep a stocked pantry: Stock up on staples whenever they're on sale or at discount stores like Costco. This will make meal prepping so much easier when you already have ingredients you know you'll use often. Check out my post on healthy pantry staples that every kitchen needs to get started.
- Prep and freeze essentials: You can prep and freeze basic essentials ahead of time for easy meal ideas on busy days. I like to stock up on protein that's on sale, then marinate and freeze it to use later. You can also cook and freeze grains like rice and quinoa ahead of time.
Organizing and Storing Meal Prep Items
Once you've prepped all your ingredients, you'll need to store them in the fridge to ensure they stay as fresh as possible. I would recommend using these glass meal prep bowls as they're great for storing ingredients (and can also be used for any leftovers). You could also use mason jars for sauces and dressings.
Download Your Meal Prep Template
Ready to get started? To download my free meal prep template, click here!
If you're looking for more free templates, you can download my free weekly meal plan template.
My newly updated Dinner Prep Pro app is also a great resource. It'll give you a meal plan every week with different meal ideas, generates a grocery store list and a prep ahead checklist, and provides you with reminders and lessons to help you develop a routine.
Make healthy eating easy! Join our Dinner Prep Pro app.
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