A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep

By Kaitlin Valdick, Nutrition Intern

There is nothing worse than coming home from a long day and having to make dinner when you’re hungry. Trust me, we’ve all been there one way or another, and it somehow always leads to never ending snacking instead of an actual meal.

Meal prepping has become a common trend in health and wellness on the internet. It is one of the easiest ways to to start eating a little bit healthier and will make your life that much more simple. Having a pre-made meal waiting for you in the fridge when you get home from work can decrease the post-day “what will I eat for dinner” stress. Meal prep is also great for busy mornings when you’re running out the door and need a quick grab-and-go meal. It is really the ultimate life hack! Keep reading to learn all the ins and outs when it comes to meal prep, from nutrition intern, Kaitlin Valdick.

Step One: Planning

My personal favorite way to start meal prepping is starting with two breakfasts and two lunches. Even though I consider myself to be a morning person, time always somehow gets away from me and I find myself needing something quick and easy in the mornings. This can also mean that I don’t have time to make lunch to pack with me if I am gone all day. Having two accessible meals I can quickly grab in the morning is perfect. Another bonus is that anything you make for lunch can also be eaten at dinner too. Meal prep meals aren’t meal specific, as long as they are eaten within a safe time frame, any meal goes!

Step Two: Shopping for the week

Meal prep typically involves a plan. When I know I want to prepare meals for the upcoming week, I know I need to shop accordingly. Before I go to the store, I find recipes I want to make and add any ingredients I don’t already have on hand to my grocery list. It is important to always note measurements as well, especially for more unique ingredients you wouldn’t use in another recipe. Going to the store with a list makes it not only easier to shop, but will help you to stick with your list and buy only the ingredients you need. Having a game plan for the week will help you feel more organized, utilize groceries more efficiently, and save you time and money in the long run.

Step Three: Meal prepping

You can go ahead and start prepping the food for the week once you have everything you need. Depending on the recipes you chose, the amount of effort will vary. But the good news is, once you cook everything that is 4-6 less meals you have to worry about during the week. Start by making the lunch or dinner meals first to give them time to cool down if needed before sticking them in the fridge. I chop all my vegetables first (for all meals), then set them aside or start cooking them and move onto any meat or poultry I have to prepare. Less cutting board clean-up!

Step Four: Proper storage

When preparing different meals, it is important to note different elements that can alter texture, color, flavor, etc. when it sits in the fridge for 2-3 days. Sometimes I choose to keep all the elements of a meal prep in separate containers (i.e. rice, chicken, kale, dressing, and sweet potato) and then assemble before I need it. Other times I throw it all in one container together. Using good containers that seal well is a great way to keep your meal fresh. Glass containers with sealable lids are perfect for storage and microwave safe, so all you have to do is take the lid off and pop it in the microwave. Another great tool for meal prepping is bento box type containers. Specifically for salads, dressings and some other elements can wilt the lettuce if you let it sit. Having compartmented salad containers allows for your salad ingredients to be in one place, already prepped so all you have to do is pop them on.

Check out my favorite kitchen tools below or visit NUWLi’s Amazon Storefront HERE.

Want to take it to the next level? Let’s talk about advanced meal prep.

I like to start meal prepping with very specific meals that are already put together for me or have ingredients that are exact amounts to last me the 2 or 3 days I will eat the meal. This method is also great if you are someone who likes consistency and routine or struggles with using ingredients in your fridge. However, I am also a person who loves to switch up what I eat daily. You can still use meal prepping while switching up your meals. For example, ingredients like rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, chicken, meat, any vegetable, etc. can be made in advance and mixed and matched in different ways. You can add the sweet potato, chicken, vegetables, and quinoa to a bowl for a quick dinner or to some greens for a fun salad. Or you can just use the chicken to repurpose in some tacos for the night. My all time favorite vegetables to prep are bell peppers and onions. They are so multi-purposeful and elevate any meal you add them to.


Looking for ideas this week or next to meal prep? Here’s some meals to add to your meal plan:




Meal prep can alleviate the stress around preparing food during the week. No more thinking about how long it will take you to make lunch or dinner. You can just pop your meal in the microwave and enjoy it within minutes. It has the simplicity of a frozen meal, except you made it entirely yourself! There are so many delicious meals you can make ahead of time, switch it up from week to week, you’ll never get bored of how easy it can be!

Favorite Meal Prep Supplies

Love these ideas but want to individualize your meal plan to your unique body and nutritional needs?
Let’s connect and personalize it together! Get started HERE.


Don’t forget to share your meal prep creating on social media by tagging @nutritionwellnesslifestyle_ on Instagram!

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