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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.

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.

1

Mix and Match Protein and Veggies

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.

3

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.

4

Swap Carbs With Veggies

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.

5

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.

6

Toss Popcorn Over Salads

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.

7

Get Inspired By Takeout

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.

8

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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