Here are the Top 10 Foods For Sunday Food Prep! Prep these individual meal components ahead of time and combine them throughout the week into quick healthy meals your family will love.
*Originally published in Feb 2014. Updated Mar 2019.*
Let’s talk about food prep, shall we? If you’ve been around for any length of time, you know I’m a huge fan of food prep. If you like the idea of food prep but you’re not sure how to start, check out these 5 Steps to Food Prep. Over the past five or six years, I’ve refined my personal food prep process and it’s definitely become a habit to head to the kitchen every weekend and get our fridge stocked and ready for the week.
I love that food prep has gained popularity over the past few years and I also love that it doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. Some people prefer to prep full meals while others, like me, prefer to prep components that can be thrown together to make quick, healthy meals during the week. Here’s an example of a week of component food prep and how to use it. And if you find yourself avoiding food prep because it seems overwhelming, here’s How to Find Your Food Prep Focus Area.
Lately, I’ve really zoned in on my love for component food prep because I think it can be a simple, yet effective approach to food prep that lots of people can embrace. I thought it would be helpful to round up some of my favorite component foods (ie the ones you see me prep every weekend) and share some ways to use them. So here are my Top 10 Foods For Sunday Food Prep:
Top 10 Foods For Sunday Food Prep
1) Snacking veggies– Raw veggies make a great snack. They’re easy to prep ahead of time and you can throw them in your lunch box, the kids from munch on them after school or you can enjoy some while making dinner! I prep a container of snacking veggies every weekend and pull it out every day while prepping lunch and dinner. I’ve found myself eating more of them just because they’re there and even my four-year-old will grab a few carrots if he’s in the mood. I refill this container several times throughout the week.
- Some of our favorites are carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers. You could also try broccoli, snap peas, celery, radishes, etc. They’re great with hummus, yogurt ranch dip, or Italian dressing.
- If your veggies start to look a little dried out, fill the container with water and drain it out to refresh them!
2) Breakfast Foods– There are tons of great breakfast options that you can make ahead of time so you don’t have to spend time cooking in the morning. This also gives you no excuse to skip breakfast!
- Make a batch of Quinoa Breakfast Bars, GF Pumpkin Yogurt Bars or Sweet Potato Protein Cookies and pre-portion them into bags so you can just grab one on the way to work.
- Pancakes and waffles can be made ahead of time and easily reheated. Try Butternut Squash Pancakes, Sweet Potato Waffles or Whole Wheat Yogurt Waffles.
- If you like eggs, try making some Egg Wraps or Egg Waffles that are easy to customize.
- If you like baked goods, make a batch of these Lentil Banana Muffins or these Zucchini Carrot Apple Muffins. You can find all my muffin recipes here.
- Need more? Try this Sweet Cherry Gingerbread French Toast Bake or these Carrot Oat Bars or these Baked Oatmeal French Toast Sticks. (Check out all the breakfast recipes on the blog for more ideas!)
3) Whole Grains – It’s easy to cook up a big batch of your favorite grain to have on hand. Cook it on Sunday and add to meals during the week.
- Try brown rice, quinoa, farro, amaranth, wheatberries, etc. You can use them as the base for power bowls, add them to soups, casseroles, burritos, stirfry and more.
- Also, don’t be afraid to make your own bread and tortillas. It’s easy to do and you know exactly what’s going into them. Try these Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas or some Dutch Oven Bread!
- If you’re looking for more homemade bread recipes, I highly recommend the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes Per Day cookbooks (aff link).
4) Snacks – Having healthy snacks on hand is crucial with two toddlers running around. When they want to eat, they want to eat NOW.
- Some of my son’s favorites include Sweet Potato Bites, My Go-To Energy Balls or a smoothie with veggies. You can make smoothie packs to stock your freezer so all you have to do is dump and blend.
- Some of my favorites include Sweet Potato Protein Cookies, Chocolate Lentil Bars, Egg Wraps, and Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins.
- Check out all my snack recipes and for more ideas here are 25 Healthy After Work Snacks and 10 Healthy Toddler Snacks.
5) Greens for Salad– Prepping greens ahead of time makes it easy to throw together a side salad with meals or use greens as a base for a power bowl. You can use leaf lettuce, spinach, kale etc.
- To prepare my greens, I cut them, wash them well, spin them dry and store in a Ziploc bag with a paper towel. Make sure to press out as much air as possible each time you open the bag.
- If you’re prepping kale, wash and dry it, then rub it with some oil (and lemon juice if desired) and store in a bag or airtight container. Then you can quickly make this Kale Panzanella Salad to enjoy for several days.
- Use your greens as a base for loaded salads during the week. Try this Salmon Nicoise Salad, Pulled Pork Fajita Salad, or these 7 Easy Salads for Summer.
6) Baked/Roasted Veggies – Having veggies cooked and ready to eat makes it much more likely that I’ll add them to my meals during the week. Chop up some broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes or green beans and toss them on a pan. Spray with oil, season as desired and roast at 400/425 degrees for 10-25 minutes depending on the veggies. You can also toss in whole potatoes or sweet potatoes to roast. Other veggies like parsnips, carrots, peppers and more can also be roasted!
- You can use the potatoes for side dishes or a quick dinner like these Mexican Loaded Sweet Potatoes.
- Try roasting your veggies with a little bacon for extra flavor! Add them to main dishes, salads, etc during the week!
- Or try these Maple Bacon Roasted Carrots or Roasted Green Beans with Ginger and Cranberries.
7) Lean Proteins – If you’re a meat-eater, why not cook some of your meat ahead of time for less weeknight cooking?
- Choose your favorites like chicken, salmon, meatloaf, burgers (meat or veggie) and try baking, roasted or grilling them.
- Try making a batch of burgers/cakes like these Avocado Chicken Burgers or some Thai Chicken Meatballs or Paleo Turkey Sweet Potato Meatballs.
- Put your crockpot or instant pot to good use and make some shredded chicken or try Persian Pulled Chicken or Slow Cooker Barbacoa.
- Use these cooked proteins during the week in sandwich wraps, on salads, in casseroles, etc! Try this Salsa Verde Chicken Casserole or Salsa Verde Pork Enchilada Casserole. You could also make those casseroles ahead of time and reheat during the week.
- Grill some steak and use the leftovers to make a Steak Cobb Salad.
8) Beans & Legumes – Even if you’re not a completely plant-based eater, it’s still a great idea to add some plant-based proteins to your diet. I buy dried beans, cook a whole bag at a time and freeze the extras. (Learn How To Cook & Freeze Beans here). You can do the same thing with lentils! Then just pull them out when you need them and add them to whatever you’re cooking.
- You can add beans and legumes to casseroles and salads or use them to replace meat in your favorite dishes like this Lentil Veggie Mac and Cheese, Lentil Sloppy Joes or Lentil Veggie Curry.
- Try these Asian Black Bean Burgers for an easy weeknight dinner that you can make ahead of time or learn how to add beans to breakfast.
- You can even use them in baked goods. Try Lentil Banana Muffins, Chocolate Lentil Bars or Peanut Butter Chickpea Bars.
9) Soup – Soup is a great way to pack tons of nutrients into one easy meal.
- Choose low-sodium broth, or better yet- make your own. You can always make extra and freeze. Just defrost when needed!
- Add tons of veggies! Frozen veggies work great in soup and are packed with nutrients.
- Add some protein- choose your favorite meat or opt for some high-fiber beans or lentils
- Add some whole grains if you’d like!
- This Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chicken Soup, Curried Sweet Potato Soup and Sweet Potato Chicken Chili are some of our favs!
10) Eggs – These are great for almost any meal. Cook them on the stove or use the instant pot.
- Eat them for breakfast with some peanut butter toast.
- Grab a couple for an afternoon snack.
- Slice them up and add to salads for lunch or dinner!
- You can also prep Egg Wraps or Egg Waffles for grab and go snacks.
Of course, there are tons of other foods that can be prepped ahead of time for a healthy week…these are just some of my staples that I turn to week after week!
If you want to learn more about food prep, check out my ebooks: The Ultimate Guide to Food Prep and Freezer Magic!
Looking for more food prep posts? Check out these as well:
- 5 Steps To Food Prep
- How To Food Prep – Step By Step
- A Week of Component Food Prep & How To Use It
- How To Find Your Food Prep Focus Area
- My Weekly Food Prep – A By-The-Minute Breakdown
- 12 Ways To Use Leftovers
Stay tuned next week and I’ll share even more simple meal ideas to put your component food prep to good use!