Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time is one of the best ways to lose weight and sustain a healthier lifestyle. Since your meals are set for the entire week, there’s less temptation to eat out in restaurants. Meal prep also allows you to control portion sizes and the number of calories consumed. If you’re looking for ideas, here are some easy meal prep recipes for weight loss.
6 QUICK MEAL PREP RECIPES FOR DAYS WHEN YOU CAN’T COOK
1. TERIYAKI CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI RICE BOWL
Chicken and broccoli should be staples in your weight loss meal plan. Chicken is high in protein and low in fat. Meanwhile, broccoli is a green leafy vegetable that’s packed with vitamins and minerals. With this teriyaki chicken and broccoli rice bowl recipe, you can feel satiated without consuming a lot of calories. You can use brown rice or replace it with quinoa or other healthy grains that you prefer. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 454g boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
- 1 bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups brown rice
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp oil
- sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- salt and pepper, as needed
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, cornstarch and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine the ingredients.
- Add teriyaki sauce to chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove chicken from the pan.
- Add broccoli and bell pepper to pan. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until broccoli softens.
- Transfer chicken and broccoli to meal prep containers. Add 1/2 cup of brown rice to each serving. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
2. PESTO ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITH SHRIMP
Pesto zucchini noodles with shrimp is a simple, low-carb meal that’s very easy to prepare. Not only is this dish healthier, it’s also very flavourful. Zucchini noodles are a healthier alternative to pasta. They’ll also keep their al dente texture for the next few days, making it suitable for meal prep. You can use basil pesto sauce, but opting for parsley or kale will keep the green colour of the dish. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 454g shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 4 large zucchinis, cut into noodles
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups parsley or kale, destemmed
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tbsp walnuts
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, as needed
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they are pink. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat 1/2 tbsp oil to skillet. Add zucchini and cook until tender. Strain the water using a colander. Set aside.
- Place parsley or kale, garlic, cheese and nuts into the food processor. Pulse on high speed until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Set to low speed and add 1/2 cup oil and lemon juice. Pulse until sauce has a smooth and creamy texture. Add salt and pepper if desired.
- Stir zucchini noodles in pesto sauce. Add shrimp and tomatoes and mix.
- Divide pasta into meal prep containers. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
3. TURKEY BURGER PATTIES
Turkey burger patties are a great addition to your weight loss meal plan. It’s very versatile so you can eat with salads, vegetables and quinoa or as a sandwich or wrap. Since there are a lot of choices, you’re less likely to get tired of this simple but delicious food item. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 680g ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/3 apple, grated
- 2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp gluten-free breadcrumbs (optional)
- 3/4 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
- Place ground turkey, egg, lemon juice, onion, apple, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine all the ingredients.
- Shape turkey meat evenly to create around seven balls.
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high meat. Add turkey meatballs and cook. Once they start to brown, flatten with a spatula.
- Cook for 6 minutes more and flip to cook the other side. If you’re cooking turkey meat in batches, make sure to add more oil so that the patties don’t stick to the pan.
- Transfer turkey burger patties to meal prep containers. You can eat this with preferred rice, quinoa, salad, vegetables, whole-wheat bun or wraps.
4. CHICKEN CAESAR LETTUCE WRAPS
Chicken Caesar lettuce wraps are a healthier version of the standard flour tortilla variety. This recipe uses a lighter yoghurt dressing and large lettuce leaves with lean chicken and a lot of vegetables. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 454g chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves
- 8 small cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yoghurt
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp anchovy paste
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- black pepper, as needed
- Combine olive oil, yoghurt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce and 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese in a blender. Pulse until texture is smooth. Transfer into small meal prep containers and store in the fridge.
- Place two lettuce wraps in each meal prep container. Top each leaf with chicken, tomatoes and egg slices. Add 1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese to each lettuce wrap. Seal containers and refrigerate. Drizzle with healthy Caesar dressing when ready to eat.
5. TURKEY FAJITA BOWLS
Even if you’re abstaining from white rice, you can still enjoy ‘rice’ bowls with quinoa or other healthy grains. Turkey makes for a healthy topping, too, since it’s a great source of lean protein. As such, you should incorporate turkey fajita bowls into your weight loss meal plan. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 454g ground turkey
- 2 bell peppers, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 cups arugula
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 2 tbsp chilli powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Place chilli powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Set aside one half of the ground turkey and the other half to season the vegetables.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium-size pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the turkey, or until lightly browned. Stir continuously while cooking. Season with 1/2 spice mixture. Remove from pan once fully cooked.
- Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan. Add onion and cook for a few minutes. Add peppers and 1/2 spice mixture. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Transfer ground turkey and vegetables in meal prep containers. Add 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa and top with some arugula. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
6. BEEF STIR-FRY WITH SPINACH
Beef stir-fry with spinach is a quick and easy meal to prepare. It’s also delicious enough to eat for the entire week. This recipe is a healthier version since it uses lean cuts of beef that’s mixed with a lot of vegetables. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 500g sirloin steak, trimmed and sliced
- 454g spinach
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp dark sesame oil
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- Place soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and ginger in a small bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and stir-fry for about 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan.
- Add scallions, bell peppers and garlic to the pan. Stir-fry until soft.
- Return beef to pan. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
- Stir in sauce mixture and cook for one minute or until thickened.
- Transfer to meal prep containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Doing meal prep at the start of every week will save you a lot of time. With your meals taken care of, you’re less likely to eat out in restaurants. So, not only will you be able to stick to your weight loss meal, you can save money as well.
I’ve introduced you to six easy meal prep recipes for weight loss. These can be prepared quickly and they’re delicious enough to enjoy throughout the week. With an effective meal prep strategy, you’ll be losing weight the healthy way in no time.