Meal Prep Ideas For A Full Week In Under 1 Hour!

Working Mom? Have a newborn or toddler that keeps you awake all night? The following day do you then need to wake up, meal prep early because you have a toddler and family to feed? Trust me you are not alone in this. Thousands of other moms are here with you. This is life, and it keeps going on. Either you make your way through the snags, or you just accept your defeat.

Among all the problems going on in life, one of the biggest is WHAT TO COOK? How much time will this meal take? What ingredients do I need for this, is it an easy meal prep, a cheap meal prep, and the list goes on.

If you are still reading this or any line has caught your attention, you are going through what most moms experience and you are looking for anything that will save you from this mind reckoning war.

If I talk about myself, I am not a mom who spends hours and hours in the kitchen (and believe me, I don’t have that stamina either :D). I will always go for simple and easy recipes. If this wasn’t the case, my family would have ended up in the fast-food drive-thru most nights. And being a mom, you would never want that, right? But this problem can be solved. Have faith in me because this article is going to give you some gems for easy meal prep ideas!

To help you, I have put together a long (don’t worry, it’s not that long :P) list of easy lunch and dinner meal prep recipes that you can make in less than 30 minutes. The beauty of these meal prep ideas is that they mostly all complement each other, meaning you could get these prepped together and have your whole weeks worth of meals ready in under 1 hour. A bit of multi-tasking is involved here but for us moms, multitasking is something we are pretty damn exceptional at.

But before diving into the meal prep ideas, let’s cover the essentials:

Make A Meal Plan

Make a list of recipes you want to cook and get the family (including the little ones) involved for the recipe options. When the whole family feels like they have a say, this increases buy-in and increases the likelihood of picky eaters actually eating what you dish up on the dinner table. Put together all the ingredients you will need for it. And voila! You are ready to start. I know it seems a bit of a chore to do, but trust me, having a set plan makes the grocery shop, the meal prepping and your week so so so much easier. To ease into it, try starting with just 2-3 meals in a week, then slowly increase it.

Meal Prep Containers

Plastic, glass, or disposable, the choice is yours. Just make sure they can be sealed to keep the food fresh and are microwave safe and dishwasher safe. Pick containers that are the right size for your family so you aren’t having loads of giant containers for small meals take up all your fridge or freezer space.

Easy Meal prep ideas

Multitasking Is Key For Meal Prepping

When you are thinking about time-saving, then, believe me, moms!! Multitasking is always the key to achieving the goal. Have a few recipes for your meal prep cooking at one time to minimise the total time you will need to spend in the kitchen. For me, I will have the rice cooking in the microwave, the meatballs and pasta on the stove, the sweet potato and chicken roasting in the oven and while they are cooking away I will be chopping the vegetables and fruit on the chopping board that I already had taken out for the sweet potato. It might seem like a lot at one time, but I would much rather spend 1 fast-paced hour cooking for the whole week than having to slave away for 1 hour per day like most families do. It also means I only have to wash the big dishes once per week – HUGE WIN!

Don’t Go Overboard

I have been guilty of trying to over optimise my meal prep by doing hhhuuugggggeeeee cook ups that will last me weeks worth of lunches and dinners. The problems with this are the freezer is chockablock, when pre-cooked meals are frozen for too long they can go a bit funny or get frostbite, the meals the kids loved a week ago are now tantrum inducing, and to be honest even us adults can get sick of eating the same thing every week. I like doing weekly cooks on a Sunday afternoon, but have a play and see what meal prepping frequency works best with your family.

Easy meal prep ideas

Now that you have your essentials ready to go, get all your ingredients ready for your lunch or dinner meal prep, here are some delicious meal prep recipes which make for an equally easy family dinner. I have picked many tasty alternatives for you to don’t have to go for sandwiches or bread rolls every day.

Meal Prep Idea #1 Greek Chicken Bowl

Marinated chicken is a super easy recipe and an even faster process for a quick meal prep. It is quick, easy and it stores well for both refrigerated and frozen meals. This easy meal works well with tzatziki sauce made from healthy Greek yoghurt, served with a cucumber salad. The marinated chicken will give you the most flavorful meal of your day without the time and effort. Marinate the chicken in olive oil, lemon, garlic, mixed herbs, pepper and salt and simply grill, panfry or bake until cooked.

healthy Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #2 Asian Style Veggies, Rice, & Chicken

Just stir fry your veggies or roast them in the oven with Asian sauce of choice, and to save time, you can cook the chicken and your veggies together. For a bowl of quick steamed rice try this easy microwave hack. 2 cups of white rice, 4 cups of room temperature water and put it in the microwave for 15 minutes. Give it a quick mix when you take it out of the microwave and let it sit with a cover one for 5 minutes before dishing up. One of the easiest, healthiest and tastiest balanced meal prep recipes that is a winner for the whole family including the younger kids.

Chicken Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea # 3 Chickpea Curry

This is one of my favorite go-to healthy meal prep ideas for many reasons. It doesn’t take much time to make, you can make a big batch, store them in a freezer, and you are done for a week. If I look at the nutrient side of this one, they are high in plant-based protein, rich in flavor and you can keep the spice level according to your likeness. In its simplest form, a delicious Chickpea Curry can be cooked for a regular family meal with only a handful of ingredients – chickpeas, coconut milk, curry powder, onion, garlic and your vegetables of choice.

Tasty Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #4 Creamy Chicken Pasta

Not the healthiest one here, but it is super delicious and the prep time is less than 30 minutes. You can make this meal fresh whenever you feel a craving for a freshly cooked, lip-smacking tasty dish or cook up a big batch for a few days worth of family meals. This recipe is loaded with flavor enhanced by the cheese and the creamy sauce. This chicken pasta is inspired by a carbonara. Grill the chicken, boil the pasta and then cook together some butter, onion, garlic, add a small amount of cream and mix in some parmesan cheese. This recipe is a game-changer for busy parents with picky eaters.

Chicken Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #5 Sweet Potato Vegan Bowl

Southwestern flavors never get old. Roast sweet potatoes and chicken thigh with some olive oil, lime, pepper and salt and then serve with some black beans, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and some rice. You will never get tired of the taste of this Southwester mix, plus, it is a nutrient-packed recipe with a good balance of protein, carbs, and vitamins, perfect for a healthy lunch or family dinner meal. Want it even healthier? Try this recipe with quinoa or even cauliflower instead of rice.

Healthy Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #6 Mac & Cheese

Nothing is more comforting than a good old home-cooked mac and cheese. All of us will never forget the time when we were little kids where our family would bond over this creamy classic. When we were served this yummy dish, all of our tiny worries would vanish in the air. Yes, it’s the same one! All you need is milk, cheese, butter, flour and macaroni. You can also add salt, black, paper, oregano, onion, garlic and others so it is tasty for both younger kids and adults as well.

Family Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #7 Meat & Vegetable Kebabs

A winner to spice up your family dinner, your weekend BBQ or an easy healthy snack. All you need is a grill, skewers and your meat and vegetables of choice. To make it, even more, kid-friendly, add in some fruit like pineapple. It will add a sweet and crispy addition to your meat and veg. The only prep involved is chopping up the pieces to the same size so it cooks evenly. Anything on a stick is perfect for young kids and can create a bit of family dinner fun by ditching the standard knives and forks.

Cheap Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #8 Chicken Tacos

We never get tired of a delicious taco because of the versatility we can create in preparing these. Well seasoned chicken with paprika powder, cumin powder, salt, black paper, and a little bit of lemon, cook it thoroughly and put them in the bite side tortillas. Which are topped with any chilli or tomato sauce of your choice, and you are good to go. Taco mealtime can be mixed up by serving the Mexican Chicken with tortillas, salad & salsa, rice or adding to the sweet potato bowl mentioned above. Check out our full Mexican Crispy Chicken Recipe here.

Toddler Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #9 Meatballs

This is a super easy recipe. You can whip up meatballs with basic ingredients, ground beef, onion, garlic and dried herbs, and serve them with rice, tortillas, pasta, salad or steamed veggies. To make this easy meal even nicer on the wallet, mix in some canned lentils. It is barely noticeable when cooked, gives your family a good hit of fibre and means you can use less meat which generally keeps the cost down.

Healthy Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep Idea #10 Sesame Noodles

These are the perfect meal for your picky eater or for those days when you are not in the mood to try a complicated recipe. You can just boil noodles, throw in some leftover veggies, and you can also add your pre-prepared meatballs to it to give you some extra protein. The beauty of any noodle dish is it doesn’t have to be perfect and doesn’t need any specific ingredients. My family fave combo is egg noodles, sesame oil, sesame seeds, kecap manis and whatever meat or veggies I have in the fridge ready to go.

Quick Meal prep ideas

Meal Prep For Busy Families

Making three delicious meals a day is a big struggle for a mom, especially when you want to provide nutrient-rich and healthy food for your growing family. But by using the above simple ideas, you can tackle this seemingly impossible task and prep a whole weeks worth of food in under 1 hour.

For more super easy family recipes, check out my personal favorites here.

Meal prep ideas