Buffet Style Meal Prepping 101
Think you don’t have time to meal prep? We are here to bust that myth and show you the template to our latest meal prep trick, buffet-style meal prepping.
What is buffet style meal prepping?
Buffet style meal prepping is an approach to meal prepping that is a mix and match of simple ingredients, food combinations, and your favorite dishes. Not only does it save you time (and money in most instances), but it allows you to keep your meals feeling like something new each day. No more repeat meals every week. Hallelujah!
How does buffet style meal prepping work?
Instead of planning out the exact meals that you will each day, you will prepare a selection of your favorite foods and then mix and match combinations throughout the week.
For example, your items to prepare list may look like this:
- Strawberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries
- Roasted Broccoli
- Red, green & yellow bell peppers
- onions & zucchini sauté
- Baked whole sweet potatoes
- Fresh baby spinach
- Marinated cucumbers & tomato salad
- Brown rice
- Gluten Free pasta
- Portable chocolate chip pancakes
- Oven-roasted potatoes
- Store-bought gluten free granola
- Baked eggs
- Beef patties
- Baked salmon
- Baked chicken breast
SAUCES & EXTRAS
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- Pasta sauce
- Maple syrup
Once you have all of your ingredients, you will then prepare each item individually (or using the recipes you selected). After your ingredients are prepared, place each item in its own container rather than creating combos right away.
Then, throughout the week you will create combinations that sound delicious to you! Here are some easy and satisfying combinations we created based on the items above. (Please note that each day, after work, we combined new ingredients for the next day based on our schedules and cravings.)
Day 1 (Monday)
BREAKFAST: (Teal Container) Hash waffle & berries (waffle made with roasted potatoes smashed and mixed with eggs and a handful of baby spinach, cooked in the waffle maker): waffle in 2c section (cut in wedges), ketchup in a condiment container (2tb capacity), berries in 1c section.
LUNCH: (Top Right Container) Salad: fresh baby spinach topped with sliced strawberries and oranges with balsamic vinaigrette (in a condiment container 2tb capacity) in the 2c section, Chicken sliced in 1c section and the potatoes in the other 1c section.
DINNER: (Top Left Container) Mashed sweet potatoes, peppers, onions & zucchini beef patties, avocado and pico. Peppers, onions & zucchini topped with patties in 2c section, sweet potatoes in one 1c section, avocado, and pico in the other 1c section.
Day 2 (Tuesday)
BREAKFAST: (Teal Container) Portable chocolate chip pancakes, strawberries, syrup: pancakes and syrup (using a condiment clear container 2tb capacity) in the 2c section, strawberries in 1c section
LUNCH: (Top LEFT Container) Pasta salad: gluten-free pasta, marinated salad, chopped baked chicken… tossed together, broccoli & oranges on the side: Pasta Salad in 2c section, broccoli in one of the 1c sections and oranges in the other one.
DINNER: (Top RIGHT Container) Salmon, lemon slices, spinach, marinated salad & roasted potatoes: a bed of spinach topped with salmon and lemon slices in 2c section, marinated salad in 1c section, potatoes in the other one.
Day 3 (Wednesday)
BREAKFAST: (Teal Container) Mashed sweet potatoes with yogurt, granola & berries: sweet potatoes in 1c section, berries, and yogurt lined in a striped pattern in the 2c section, granola in a clear condiment container (2tb capacity)
LUNCH: (Top RIGHT Container) Brown rice and beef patties in 2c section, peppers onions & zucchini sauté in 1c section, avocado, and lemon slices in the other 1c section.
DINNER: (Top LEFT Container) Chicken, roasted broccoli, rice salad (brown rice, marinated salad). Rice salad in 2c section, chicken sliced in 1c section, roasted broccoli in the other 1c section.
Day 4 (Thursday)
BREAKFAST: (Teal Container)Bun-less egg sandwich (2 eggs & a beef patty), orange & oven-roasted potatoes: potatoes and egg sandwich in 2c section (sandwich half wrapped in parchment paper nestled in with the potatoes. Oranges cut in wedges in 1 cup section.
LUNCH: (Top LEFT Container) Brown rice, chicken, pico de gallo, marinated veggies & strawberries: rice, sliced chicken topped with pico in the 2c section, marinated veggies in one of the 1c sections, strawberries in the other one.
DINNER: (Top RIGHT Container) Pasta, beef patties (cut up), peppers, onions & zucchini sauté, pasta sauce & broccoli. Pasta with sauce and patties on top in 2c section, peppers and onions in one of the 1c sections, broccoli in the other 1c section.
Day 5 (Friday)
BREAKFAST: (Teal Container) Yogurt with granola & berries: yogurt 1c section, berries 2c section, granola nestled in with the berries.
LUNCH: (Top RIGHT Container) Sweet potatoes sliced in rounds and 2 eggs in 2c section, avocado with pico de gallo in 1c section and strawberries in the other 1c section.
DINNER: (Top LEFT Container) Chicken, brown rice, peppers, onions & zucchini sauté, avocado, pico de gallo. Rice and sliced chicken in 2c section, peppers, onions, and zucchini in 1c section and “guacamole” (avocado mashed, with pico) in the other 1c section.
I don’t want to meal prep dinner…
Not a problem! If you have the time to cook dinner at home each night, then we say, GO FOR IT! Nothing will ever compare to a fresh-made meal. Instead, you could prepare either a morning and afternoon snack or both. We know that many of you are up early and need a mid-working bite to eat and something to help you get over that mid-afternoon slump.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE. Simple is key when it comes to buffet style meal prepping and saving extra time. Pick out just a few recipes (2-3) and then let the rest of the items come together on their own. By that, we mean, buy pre-cooked items such as rice, pre-cut/chopped veggies, chicken or salmon that can just cook on a baking sheet and don’t require work, etc.
- HAVE A PLAN. Be strategic with your ingredient choices. For example, food such as seafood is best eaten in the earlier part of the week. Plan to enjoy those meals M/T/Wed, so they still taste fresh!
- VARIETY. Don’t fall into the trap of eating the same items/recipes every week (unless that’s your jam). Instead, try adding in a new fruit, vegetable, or protein each week. This is an easy way to change things up without overhauling your entire meal prep plan.
- HAVE FUN! Nothing is worse than feeling like meal prepping is a chore. Instead, throw on some jams, grab a new recipe that excites you, and get cooking! Remember, at the end of the day, your mindset is one of the biggest things standing between you and achieving your goals.
Find the complete grocery list for this buffet style meal prep below:
- 2lb Strawberries
- 1pint blueberries
- 1 pint blackberries
- 3 oranges
- 1 head of broccoli
- 4 bell peppers (assorted colors)
- 1 large red onion
- 1 large white onion
- 2 shallots
- 1 zucchini
- 8oz tub baby spinach
- 2 avocados (not included in haul shot)
- 1 English cucumber
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 lemons
- 1 head of garlic
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 1lb baby potatoes
Protein & Dairy
- 1 dozen eggs
- 1 lb ground beef (grass-fed, 90% lean)
- 6 oz Salmon
- 1.5 lb chicken breast (skinless, boneless)
- 17.6 oz tub Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lb brown Basmati rice
- 1 (8oz) box chickpea pasta
- 1 (16oz) box gluten-free pancake & waffle mix
- 1 (12oz) bag gluten-free granola
- Fresh pico de gallo
- Dairy-free chocolate chips
- Pure maple syrup
- Gluten-free Balsamic vinaigrette
- Gluten-free Marinara sauce
Still, confused about where to start with meal prepping?
If so, don’t fret! We’ve got you covered! Start taking control of your food choices, loving your body, and creating your own success story with the help of our Meal Prep Master Course! Not only will we make you feel more confident in the kitchen, but you will also learn how to save time, save money, and create a meal plan that will help you achieve your personal goals! From macros to custom recipe plans, to kitchen essentials, you will learn it all!