Do you vow (yet again!) to eat healthy but still find yourself pulling into the drive-thru post-soccer practice or after a long day at work? Between the sheer speed of modern life and the increasing length of our to-do lists, the thought of spending hours in the kitchen at the end of the day is a non-starter. Enter meal prep! By preparing part or all of your meals for the next seven days in just one weekly cooking session, you can save time and money while making mealtime healthier. If you’re wondering how to get started, we’ve got you covered. Simply stock your fridge with these tasty mains to get a jumpstart on the week ahead!
Better Beef Stew
This dish is loaded with flavor that gets even better after a day or two in the fridge. Feel free to add or change up the vegetables listed here to customize it for your family.
- 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 6 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 6 celery stalks, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon shiitake or porcini mushroom powder
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 russet potatoes or turnips, peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 cups green beans
- Melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven* over medium heat. Pat the meat dry, then add the meat in a single layer, turning to brown all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Stir in the tomato paste and mushroom powder until the vegetables are well-coated. Return the meat to the pot.
- Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the potatoes/turnips, thyme, and bay leaves. Simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green beans and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaves and serve or pack in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to five
* You can also transfer the stew to a crockpot after Step 4 and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 10 hours.
Per serving: Calories 377; Total Fat 13g; Carbs 30.5g; Protein 34g; Sodium 1356mg; Sugar 10g
Chipotle Turkey Chili
Here’s a new twist on a familiar winter staple. This hearty paleo-, Whole30-, and keto-friendly chili substitutes nutrient-rich sweet potato for the beans. Serve with sliced avocado and minced cilantro.
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 4-oz can diced green chili
- 2 28-oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (or more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and brown for 5 minutes, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon.
- Add the onions and garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent.
- Stir in the canned chilies and tomatoes. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator up to five days.
Per serving: Calories 315; Total Fat 12g; Carbs 17g; Protein 24g; Sodium 525mg; Sugar 9g
Dijon Chicken and Veggie Packets
These chicken and veggie foil packets are an easy way to serve a delicious, nourishing meal fast. Bonus: Because everything is tucked into the packets, cleanup is a breeze!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 4 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
- Lay four 12 x 12 inch squares of aluminum foil out on a flat surface. Brush each sheet with a bit of the olive oil. Set aside.
- Place zucchini and tomatoes in the middle of each foil square. Season with salt and pepper. Top with one chicken breast per square. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, garlic, mustard, and tarragon. Spread the sauce evenly over each chicken breast.
- Fold each foil square over the chicken and veggies, securing the middle and the ends to form leak-proof packets. Cook immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- To bake: Preheat oven to 400°. Transfer the packets to a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Open carefully to let the steam escape and serve.
Per serving: Calories 284; Total Fat 12g; Carbs 10g; Protein 33g; Sodium 98mg; Sugar 5g
Versatile Roast Chicken
Take advantage of a hot oven to roast two birds—one for tonight and one to use as a springboard for weeknight wraps, salads, or casseroles.
- 2 (3½- to 4-pounds each) whole chickens
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Remove organs and lungs from each chicken and clean well. Place a sprig of rosemary in each bird, then tie legs of each one together.
- Brush one bird with half the olive oil. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Place the birds on a V-shaped rack in a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 2 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° F in the thigh.
- Remove from oven and rest for 20 minutes. Serve one chicken with a quick pan sauce or gravy. Thoroughly cool the remaining bird, remove meat from bones, and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Per serving: Calories 239; Total Fat 13g; Carbs 0g; Protein 24g; Sodium 75mg; Sugar 0g