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meal prepping for beginners

2nd August 2017 by Jess

Meal prepping for the whole week might seem like a lot of work, so we asked our nutritionist Jess to share her best tips. This post will help you plan for a week of healthy eating, to stick with your goals and save money!

salad prep

why meal prep?

It’s easy to have delicious, healthy meals all week long by cooking a few recipes in large batches and freezing them in portion-sized bags.

One reason Jess always prefers cooking at home and meal prepping for the week is the control she has over her food.

jess blueberries

By cooking in large batches for the week you can easily control the quality and amount of oil, salt and fresh produce you use. Plus as an added bonus you will save money too!

Jess, graze nutritionist
jess kitchen

What to buy?

The first step to prepping for the week ahead is by planning out all of your meals and buying all of your groceries.

Not sure what to buy? Jess was nice enough to share her grocery list with us!

a nutritionist's grocery list
jess quinoa salad healthy recipe meal prep

what day should you prep?

We all know how important it is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and real foods, but it needs a certain level of organisation to be able to do this on a daily basis.

Meal prepping can be difficult at first but after doing it for a few weeks it will eventually become a normal ritual. You might even get to the point where you miss it when you don’t meal prep!

“I am a big advocate of using Sunday afternoon to plan meals in advance. The trick to maintaining a healthy diet is to be prepared! When I don’t get organized on a Sunday, I feel like I am constantly behind and end up buying expensive food on the go then regret not investing a few hours during the weekend to plan ahead and cook for the week.”

Jess PR shot balance energy vibrancy SMILE

Meal prepping is one of those life habits that’s worth sticking with… the health benefits for your mind and body far outweigh the energy required to get in the swing of it.

Jess, graze nutritionist
jess's green juice

what to make?

If you're one of those people who have a collection of go-to recipes, this is a great place to start. Cook a few of your favorites in large batches on Sunday and you will be set for the week!

My favorite things to make on Sundays are my homemade hummus recipe, roasted vegetable and quinoa dish, a large pot of soup, energy balls, and some marinated roasted salmon or chicken.

Some of Jess’s other go-to foods to prepare on Sundays are vegetable-based juices and smoothies. These require very little preparation but pack a nutritional punch! Don’t have a juicer? Stock up on veggie-based soups or salads for the week!

In the colder months Jess suggests making a few soups, stews or casseroles. They're easy to prep in large batches for the freezer and are the perfect comfort food!

In the summer try making a large salad and then adding a different source of protein each day such as chicken, beef, eggs, nuts or seeds - this means you can enjoy different lunches each day.

hummus 1

homemade hummus

Try making a batch of hummus at the start of the week along with prepping a bunch of chopped fresh veg to dip into it.

Hummus….if I could live off one food for the rest of my life it would be 100% hummus! I LOVE it but have had SO many failed attempts making it at home. This recipe is perfect, smooth and creamy and once you’ve made it once it’ll give you the confidence to make it again and again.

Jess, graze nutritionist

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jess quinoa salad healthy recipe meal prep 2

quinoa tabbouleh

Quinoa tabbouleh and hummus makes for a winning combo for any lunch or dinner.

This recipe is one of my Sunday batch cooking recipes that I make in the Spring and Summer months because it makes six portions so me going for a good few days. I couple it with some prawns, salmon or chicken, some green leaves of some sort and a big dollop of hummus and we are beyond happy every time!

Jess, graze nutritionist

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soup 3

carrot, coconut & tomato soup

This is my favourite soup recipe, full of wholesome ingredients and packed with carrots and tomatoes. Try making a batch at the weekend and serving during the week as lunch or a light dinner - this recipe makes up to 6 helpings! I've swapped cream for a healthier coconut which gives the soup a whole new layer of deliciousness.

Jess, graze nutritionist

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protein balls 4

pistachio & coconut protein balls

Looking for a more exciting way to add more protein into your diet? Make a batch of these tasty protein balls at the start of the week to enjoy with your lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack, or you can even add it to your blender as a protein top-up in your smoothie.

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roasted chicken 5

paprika roasted chicken

This recipe is amazing all year round, especially in the Summer when our eating habits tend to shift a little and salads make a more frequent appearance along with sitting outdoors to eat with friends.

The coconut oil gives the chicken a delicious crisp to it and the smoked paprika gives it a gorgeous flavour and smell and it’s so incredibly simple to prepare.

I made this recipe on a Sunday and it fed my husband and I on Sunday lunch, and then we had leftover chicken to add to our salads and as part of our dinners mid-week, so it’s great if your weeks are rather busy and time precious.

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jess's green juice 6

the tastiest green detox juice

Not too sweet but not too bland, this nutrient packed potion will deliver a plethora of goodness thanks to it’s trio of cruciferous vegetables; broccoli, kale and watercress which are famous in the cleansing world for their ability to aid detoxing.

This little green guru is one of my ultimate favourite green juices. The power of food blows my mind, and when you juice it, you can get such amazing healthy side effects as it really dumps a whole lot of goodness straight into your blood stream within minutes rather than hours.

Jess, graze nutritionist

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salad jar 7

fresh salad jar

Feast your eyes on our deliciously portable and healthy fresh salad jar, perfect for taking into work if you’re trying to get more fruit, vegetables and plant-based protein into your life. All you need is a jar or Tupperware pot and your fresh seasonal ingredients!

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It can be difficult at first to get in the habit of meal prepping on Sunday but think of meal prepping as something to invest in yourself just like a work out. Plan to set aside some time every Sunday and schedule it into your weekend plans.

how to prepare for a healthy week
jess fruit

By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at jessipes.co.uk for even more.

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