Meal Prep 101 For Beginners

meal prep combinations for beginners

How To Meal Prep : The Perfect 3 Ingredient Meal Prep Template

A few things to consider before getting started:

  • Did you write Out Your Goals?
    • Weight loss
    • Fat loss
    • Build  muscle
    • Save money
    • Free up time during the week
  • Are these other things you need to achieve your goals?
  • Do you have a system?
    • Meal prepping doesn’t have to be done on Sunday night!  Some people work night shifts, some people have weekends off… this needs to be a plan that fits your lifestyle.  Sometimes, just simply having a few ready-to-go meals available, but having the flexibility to pick what to eat on the fly, is the best strategy.

Step 1: Plan Your Meals

Make sure each meal includes a balance of lean protein, carbohydrates (starch), and vegetable.  One suggestion is, 2-3 days before your meal prep day, email yourself a list of meals that you will want to eat the next week.  When you go shopping, just buy for those meals.  This will save you money in the store because you won’t be overrun with impulse buys.

NOTE: It’s also important to include one of the healthy fats listed below.

Comment below: What's your favorite 3 ingredient #mealprep combo?

A photo posted by 🔴Meal Prep On Fleek (@mealpreponfleek) on


Chicken breast*
Chicken thighs
Turkey breast*
Ground Beef*
Greek Yogurt
Protein Powder
*Cutlet, ground, strips, etc. Try to look for options that are 93% – 99% lean.

Plant-Based Protein Options:

Black beans
Garbanzo beans


Rice (brown, white, jasmine, black, wild grain)
Potatoes (sweet, Japanese, red bliss)
Whole grain pasta
Rolled Oats
Whole grain cereal
Whole grain bread


Green beans
Brussels sprouts
Snow peas
Squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash, kabocha)
Salad fixings (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers, onions, etc)


Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew)

Healthy Fats

Coconut oil
Avocado oil
Olive oil
Flax oil


Brazil nuts


Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Flax seed
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin Seeds


Almond Butter
Peanut Butter
Toasted Coconut

Step 2: Create your shopping listed based on the meals you planned

You don’t want to be mid-prep and missing an ingredient! Check what ingredients you already have on hand and then add what you are missing to your list.  Check out our resource page for multiple checklists, grocery lists (low carb, whole30, paleo, gluten free, etc) , and calendars.

Step 3: Prep, prep, prep!!

In less than 2 hours you can have a full weeks’ worth of healthy, wholesome and delicious meals ready to go!

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30 Comments on "Meal Prep 101 For Beginners"

  1. So I can meal plan for a whole week with 5 meals a day

    • Hi Ariel – When I meal prep, I make 10 meals on Sun night, that will be eaten Mon-Fri. During the week, my meal schedule is a 5am (protein shake), 9am (meal 1), 1pm (meal 2), and dinner at 5pm. I only prep meals for my 9am and 1pm meal, so I don’t have to worry about cravings or going out to eat when I’m working.

      What is your schedule like? It’s possible that you would only want to prep for 1 meal per day, if you’re able to accommodate your other meals. You should definitely be eating a breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the least

  2. Quinoa is not a carb. It’s a protein.

    • Hi Susan! Quinoa is actually both a carbohydrate source and a complete protein source. One-half cup of cooked quinoa contains about 30g of carbohydrates, 3g of fat and 5g of protein. Because of this nutritional profile, it falls under something called “starchy proteins.” We hope that answers your question! Have a great day!

  3. I just write out my plans to reach my goal.I suppose to work accordingly to execute my plans properly.My diet plans are really simple and the list which you mentioned in the post is cool.
    I’ll share this post with newbies that recently joined our gym.

  4. Can you give an idea of serving/amounts of each that you place in the container? I have been using 1/4 cup to 1/2 cups on some things when I meal prep. I also under stand portions but I think it would be easy if you included that in your guide as examples. Great blog!

  5. 1- For how many days can we store cooked chicken?
    2- What is the best way to cook chicken so it can be used for next 5 days?

    • 1 – 4-5 days and you should be good with fully cooked chicken.
      2 – We typically bake chicken, but the key for cooking chicken is to have it cook through consistently. Try flattening the chicken out to get a consistent thickness for the whole chicken breast.

  6. How long does it keep? Is it advisable to keep the veggies, carbs and protein in one container? Wont that spoil by day 5? Should you put in ref or freezer? Thanks 🙂

  7. Could you give me some idea for meals,I work a new shift pattern which are nights days & evening and i am finding it hard to prep and eat the right meals for the right times. I am 54yrs and don’t seem to be able to loose or keep my weight down , this may be due to eating the wrong meals at the wrong time.
    Thank you

  8. Hi

    Love this page . Just corm across in the daily mail. Please can you suggest meal ideas., I don’t eat fish . Most diet meal plans contain Fish . I have access to microwave at work

  9. Can you please more specific on the amount each meal and snack should contain? I’m assuming this plan includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks?? I appreciate the great information 🙂

    • Hi Anica! We do not give our specific amounts since each person requires a different number of calories, carbs, protein and fats each day. We recommend finding out what your custom macronutrient needs would be and then creating a plan off of that! We will be sharing an article soon on how to calculate your own macronutrient needs! Or you can reach out to Sarah here: if you are looking for a more customize plan!

  10. Rosalinda Blount | February 9, 2017 at 7:16 am | Reply

    Hello, I am new to all of this, but it looks like a good way to live. My husband will be harder to bring on board.

    • We wish you the best of luck Rosalinda! Hopefully you can find some inspiration here on MealPrepOnFleek! Once your husband sees how much easier the week is and how much better he feels we are sure he will jump onboard!

  11. Can I use canola oil? I did not see it on the list of good fats?

    • Hi Sunny! That is a great question! While canola oil isn’t the worst choice, it is also not the best. Canola oil is usually genetically modified thus containing lower essential nutrients. We would recommend sticking with the oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass fed butter, avocado oil, etc.

  12. Marcie Luttrell | March 2, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Reply

    Hi just had gastric sleeve surgery and an still on the liquid diet but in 3 1/2 weeks will be on foods again. It will be a 15 carbs, 60-80 protein and 500 cal per day diet. I want to be able to meal plan and assemble meals over the weekend for my m- f work week. Can you give me pointers? No beef or pork for the next 6 months at least. Thanks

    • Hi Marcie – Thanks for reaching out. Given your situation, it would be best to follow the recommendations of your doctor with those macronutrient goals. Unfortunately, we do not have any meal plan recommendations that would fall into such a low calorie range at this time. We are sorry we couldn’t be of more help, but we wish you the best of luck with your journey!

  13. Such an easy 3 category system to mix and match. I have been have a REALLY hard time shedding weight, I work out 5 times a week, and I’ve recently been eat prepped meals, 5 times a day roughly 3 hours apart. I know things take time and I’m sticking to this routine, but getting help on ideal measurement/qty of each thing in the categories would be tremendous help!!

  14. Where do you buy these great containers? They are the perfect size!! Please let me know!! Thank you!!

  15. Finally, some real help with healthy meals! I can’t wait to get started.

  16. Dannice Harvey | April 8, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Reply

    I love this sight. I will prepare my meals for the optimal meal management. Thsnk you!!!

  17. Great information, thanks! Where’s the best place to buy reusable containers?

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