8 Tips for Healthy Weekend Food Prep

Mar 23 2016
Question@2x Hi HG,

I'm trying to make smarter food choices, but I'm too exhausted during the week to prepare anything healthy. Do you have any plan-ahead ideas to help me out?

Weekday Weary
Answer@2x Hi Weekday Weary,

I totally feel your pain. After running around all day, the thought of cooking a healthy meal from scratch can be enough to send you straight to the drive-thru. But if you prep your meals and snacks on the weekend, eating smart all week long becomes a breeze. Here are my top eight tips for weekend prep...

1. Supermarket Saturday (or Sunday)
Tell yourself that midweek grocery trips are not an option! Take a few hours to plan your food for the week: Think about breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Then make a detailed list of everything you need, and make one big supermarket trip. Sure, it's a time investment, but it'll pay off bigtime and save you time in the long run.

2. Invest in food-storage containers
When it comes to food prep, containers make all the difference. Buy a bunch of different shapes and sizes, and make sure you're always stocked with foil and plastic wrap. It's also great to keep a roll of masking tape and a marker in a kitchen drawer -- this way, you can label everything, and you'll never need to open a container to see what your Sunday self put in there.

3. Cut up a bunch of versatile veggies
You can't go wrong with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions. They can be used in omelettes, stir-frys, salads, sandwiches, foil packs... The list is endless. While you're at it, slice up a bunch of carrots and cucumbers for snacking throughout the week.

4. Cook up lean ground turkey (or your lean protein of choice)
Like those veggies, lean ground turkey works pretty much anywhere! Make a big batch over the weekend, and use it throughout the week. It's great in tacos, salads, egg scrambles, wraps... Pretty much anywhere you need a high-protein, low-calorie fix. If you're more of a chicken fan, cook some skinless boneless chicken breast instead. Extra-lean ground beef works too.

5. Three words: Mason. Jar. Salads.
If you're not already making mason jar salads, now is the time to start. They make weekday lunches a snap. The trick is that the dressing goes at the bottom of the jar, so it doesn't get the other ingredients soggy. Prep a bunch on the weekend, and they'll stay fresh for days. Click for recipes!

6. Prep comfort-food swaps: cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles
Replace starchy white rice and traditional pasta with these low-calorie, carb-slashed veggies. Blend up a whole bunch of cauliflower at once, and spiralize several zucchini ahead of time. The prep work is the only time-consuming part; they cook super fast. Click here for the 411 on making cauliflower rice, and check out this how-to guide for zucchini noodles.

7. Create your own portion-controlled snack packs
This one saves you time and money. It'll give you instant snacks all week long, so there's no excuse to cave to the vending machine or risk snacking from a giant multi-serving bag of chips. Here are a few different 100-calorie portions: 14 almonds, 25 pistachios, 15 baked/popped tortilla chips, 5 cups of 94% fat-free microwave popcorn, 1 cup of freeze-dried fruit, OR 10 mini rice cakes. And don't forget about nature's portion-controlled snacks: grab-n-go fruit, like apples and bananas.

8. Cook up healthy casseroles... even for breakfast
Casseroles have two things going for them: Multiple servings and the fact that they reheat perfectly! Make a couple over the weekend, and weekday meals will be practically effortless. Some favorites: Cheesy Chicken Broccoli & Cauliflower Rice Casserole, these oatmeal bakes, Deep-Dish Pizza Casserole, and this Slow-Cooker Breakfast Casserole.

There you have it: Eight weekend-prep ideas to make it super simple to eat smart all week long.

Chew on this:

Today, March 23rd, is National Melba Toast Day. We. Love. Melba Toast! So many tasty varieties...

There's still time before the weekend... Click "Send to a Friend" so your pals can prep too.

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