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8 Genius Meal Prep Ideas on Instagram

Cut calories without compromising flavor using these smart tips and swaps on meal prep Sundays.
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It may seem like there aren't enough hours in the day when you're trying to live a healthy lifestyle. You have to squeeze in a sweat sesh before the sun comes up, avoid breakroom doughnuts at the office, and then get a home-cooked dinner on the table. But we get it—the last thing you want to do is spend time over the stovetop after a long day at work. That's exactly why we've gathered some of the best meal prep ideas spotted on Instagram.

If you're looking to save time, money, and calories, meal prepping is the perfect route to take. All you have to do is devote an hour or two out of your week to cooking and you've got yourself perfectly portioned, healthy meals to last days. Try these genius tips below to help you jazz up your next breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And while you're at it, try Prepping These Foods On Sunday To Cut Calories All Week.

Mix and Match Protein and Veggies

Never a week goes by when I'm not meal prepping. For me, it helps me have to make one less decision every day by having food already prepared for myself. I don't get bored with what I'm eating because I make sure there's a large variety of vegetables and proteins to mix and match at each meal. Meal prep isn't for everyone and that's okay – but just give it a shot if you find yourself stressing out at meal time worried about not having enough time to cook something and then resorting to snacking all day and never feeling satisfied. You don't even have to do a large meal prep, try just enough food for 2-3 days. I love a smaller meal prep when my week allows for it, but right now a larger one keeps me out of the kitchen all week long! ✖ What's on the menu this week? • roasted grape tomatoes & garlic • roasted broccoli with @primalpalate garlic & herb blend • spaghetti squash with @gothamgreens pesto • celery fries (inspired by @christinaricewellness) seasoned with @primalpalate super gyro blend • bison bolognese with @raoshomemade arrabbiata sauce • @pedersonsfarms bacon wrapped asparagus • @foodbymars salmon cakes made with @safecatchfoods • @dartagnanfoods smoked duck breast • @primalpalate curry sautéed cabbage & apples in @primalkitchenfoods avocado oil • Instant Pot beef stew with @bonafideprovisions bone broth • date & @georgiagrinders cashew butter bliss balls

A post shared by Leslie McDonald (@balanced_life_leslie) on Apr 28, 2018 at 7:27am PDT

Rather than settling for a lackluster lunch, try batch-roasting your favorite produce and pairing them with a different lean protein each day. Leslie McDonald opts for grape tomatoes, broccoli, spaghetti squash, and cabbage. She serves them alongside delicious main entrees such as Instant Pot beef stew, smoked duck breast, bison bolognese, and salmon cakes made with Safe Catch's wild-caught fish.

Don't Cook For a Full Week

I'm on the #mealprep grind this week with enough food for 3 days – I have 1 meal with meat, 1 with seafood and 1 completely vegan! Here's what I whipped up today in about 1 hour (minus the time in my slow cooker): 15-minute cajun chicken & beef sausage stir-fry (link in bio or + spicy cod with grilled asparagus + #vegan slow cooker coconut curry seitan with shredded purple cabbage & thawed edamame. You can find the spicy cod and curry recipes on and in FMC Apps under "spicy tilapia" and "slow cooker coconut curry" (instead of chicken, I used seitan). In addition to these meals, I make my #breakfast fresh everyday (by choice) and also enjoy a low-carbohydrate protein shake after working out. Can you dig it?! What would you add/remove? Boom. (traduccion abajo) — He terminado preparando comidas para 3 días – 1 comida con carne, una con mariscos y una comida vegana. Aqui es lo que preparé en casi una hora (menos el tiempo en la olla de coccion lenta): sofrito cajun de pollo y chorizo de carne (receta en + bacalao picante con espárrago a la parrilla + seitan al curry cocida en olla de coccion lenta. Se encuentran las recetas para el bacalao picante y seitan en y las Apps FMC cuando busques "tilapia picante" y "pollo al curry en olla de cocción lenta" (en vez de pollo usé seitan). También preparo mi desayuno fresco cada mañana y tomo un batido de proteína despues de entrenar. Qué piensas tú – qué agregarías o eliminarías? Bum.

A post shared by Kevin Curry [ FitMenCook™ ] (@fitmencook) on May 14, 2018 at 6:15pm PDT

When you picture meal prepping, you probably relate it to spending hours in the kitchen cooking meals for the entire week. But if you're one to get bored of leftovers fast, FitMenCook has a simple solution: Prep just three days' worth of meals rather than a whole week's worth. Kevin Curry took just an hour out of his day to create nine meals for three days—three with meat, three with seafood, and three completely vegan. In addition to these daily entrees, Curry makes his morning meal from scratch and gulps down a low-carb protein shake post workout.

Prep Snacks, Too

When Rachel Paul, aka The College Nutritionist, goes grocery shopping for the week, she stocks up on breakfast, lunch, and dinner staples plus a few snacks. If you find your tummy grumbling come the midday slump, make sure to keep healthy snacks on hand to stay satiated and calm the hanger. Paul pre-portions picks such as a 1/4 cup of walnuts, one string cheese, and 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate to curb snacktime calories and cravings.

Swap Carbs With Veggies

Zoodles 🥕 or Pasta 🍝? If I feel like pasta I'm going to have a proper pasta… Carbs are not the enemy. Eating too much calories is… Here is a great post by @rd_meets_life here's what she had to say… . I feel like vegetable noodles are taking over the world. Every time I go to the store, I see a new vegetable being turned into a noodle. I am so down for this because I'm always looking for ways to sneak in veggies! When should you choose these "noodles"? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Carrot noodles are a great option for someone who is trying to cut calories, decrease carbohydrates, or trying to consume more vegetables! That doesn't mean that whole wheat noodles aren't healthy. They are higher in fiber and protein when compared to vegetable noodles. Basically it just depends on what you feel like and what your health goals are because both are healthy options! Credit: @rd_meets_life Follow us 👉 @change_begins_with_you 👉 for daily Health, Nutrition & Calorie content 👍✨ . . . . . . . . . . #cleaneating #healthyeating #lowcarb #primal #healthyfood #cleaneats #fitfood #food #nutrition #lchf #healthychoices #jerf #organic #bbg #mealprep #dairyfree #protein #grainfree #weightloss #realfood #instahealth #getfit #healthyliving #sugarfree #goodmoodfood #carbs #weightloss #nutritiontips #weightlossjourney #dietplan

A post shared by ᴄʜᴀɴɢᴇ ʙᴇɢɪɴs ᴡɪᴛʜ ʏᴏᴜ👉 (@change_begins_with_you) on May 30, 2018 at 12:01pm PDT

To cut calories and feel fuller for longer, Change_Begins_With_You swaps carby picks such as pasta and crackers for spiralized and crunchy veggies. Vegetables are more nutrient-dense and have fewer calories than their grain-based counterparts. Plus, they're super versatile, so if you're getting bored of zoodles, you can try spiralizing beets, carrots, parsnips, and squash. Got a nagging hankering for rice? Try vitamin C-packed cauliflower rice instead.

Make Your Own Burrito Bowl

Love the hearty combo of beans, rice, fajita veggies, and spiced chicken but don't love the caloric wrap it's rolled in? Break out the Instant Pot and whip up a 20-minute burrito bowl that's jam-packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep you from snacking before suppertime. Transform leftovers by using lettuce cups as a vessel for the hearty filling or ladling it over cauliflower rice for quick and easy meals you'll crave all week.

Toss Popcorn Over Salads

3 FUN & tasty 😋 uses for popcorn 🍿!! Happy happy December! • • 1⃣ As a fantastic & high fiber CRUNCH in a salad 🥗 • • 2⃣ As a Christmas 🎄 tree (excuse my makeshift one here hahaha) decoration!! I thread it with cranberries 🤩 Did you guys ever do that as kids?? My mom taught me like… 20 years ago! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 • • 3⃣ With nuts 🥜 as a trail mix! • • Have great starts to your weekends!! 💕 • • #weightlosshelp #weightlosscommunity #classof2018 #rd2be #dietitian #Foodblogging #mindbodygram #foods4thought #theeverydaygirl #iamwellandgood #thechalkboardeats #lowcarbdiet #lowcarblife #lowcarbs #studybreak #bbgfood #CHAARG #rslove #thenewhealthy #tiumeals #groceryshopping #groceries #grocerystore #healthyoptions #tiuapproved #diychristmas #diyhomedecor #popcornchicken #popcorns

A post shared by Rachel Paul, PhD RD (@collegenutritionist) on Dec 1, 2017 at 12:06pm PST

Instead of adding crunch to your salad with non-nutritive croutons, toss some popcorn over your greens. A bowl of leafy greens is super easy to prep, but forking into spring mix almost every day can get pretty boring. Swapping croutons with popcorn will bless your bowl with added texture as well as belly-filling fiber.

Get Inspired By Takeout

meal prepping like it's my job 💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾 with sheet pan garlic ginger chicken and broccoli, which is kinda like takeout, but made without refined sugar. say what? I'm for real. a few dates tossed into the sauce is naturally sweet magic. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ blend together: 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup white vinegar 1/4 cup oil (olive oil is fine) a 2-inch knob of fresh ginger (peeled) 4 cloves garlic 4 medjool dates (if you don't have these you can use sugar or honey) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ bake chicken and veggies for about 10 minutes at 425. toss a little sauce on em to get extra yummy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ NEXT LEVEL (not shown in video but recommended!): simmer your extra sauce over medium low heat until it's thickened. drizzle it over the finished chicken and broccoli. finish with sesame oil, sesame seeds, or scallions. 👌 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #poysugarfreejanuary #mealprep #chicken #eeeeeats #easyrecipes #recipe #video #recipevideo #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #bhgfood #feedfeed #instayum #onthetable #eatingfortheinsta

A post shared by Pinch of Yum (@pinchofyum) on Jan 28, 2018 at 11:45am PST

If you've committed to meal prep, then it's no secret that you're trying to avoid the drive-thru. But just because you've said sayonara to frequent restaurant meals, doesn't mean you can't make your own healthy spin on your go-to order. Pinch of Yum bakes chicken and veggies with a homemade sauce consisting of wholesome ingredients such as ginger, dates, and olive oil and tops the dish with sesame seeds and scallions for a Chinese takeout-inspired supper.

Try Freezer Pack Meals

Still averse to eating three-day-old leftovers? Damn Delicious stores chicken, beans, tomatoes, corn, salsa, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder, and garlic in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Then, she stores it in the freezer (where it can be kept for up to a month). And the effort is minimal: All you have to do is pop half of the ingredients into your slow cooker (and the other half in the freezer for next time). Let the machine work its magic overnight, and voila, lunch and dinner. Choose these ingredients for fresh cilantro lime chicken or concoct your own creative combo.

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April Benshosan
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April
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