Preps ingredients on Sunday for this easy 5-day meal plan.
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meatballs and rice in meal prep containers
Credit: Carolyn Hodges/Meredith

Incorporating meal prep Sundays into your weekly routine is easier than you may think and doesn't require hours in the kitchen. Read on for our favorite meal prep tips for the week ahead, plus a 5-day dinner plan featuring easy recipes, complete with a shopping list and customizable plan.

Meal Prep 101: Make a Plan

Create your Sunday meal-prep plan, and write it down. A plan gives a sense of how much time you'll need to prep, helps you organize ingredients to buy or take out of the freezer, and keeps you motivated to get it done. See our collection of weeknight-friendly recipes for inspiration.

On Sunday:

1. Make a multi-purpose whole grain.

Cooked brown rice or quinoa can be turned into quick burrito bowls, fried rice, or chilled salads.

2. Chop vegetables to be cooked later in the week.

Look for recipes that use the same ingredients so you can prep once and use twice.

3. Do some salad prep.

Whisk up a salad dressing and wash lettuce for main or side salads that come together in minutes.

4. Prepare a protein.

Hard-boiled eggs, roasted chicken breast, or baked tofu are versatile options that can be used in a variety of ways all week. Consider making enough for at least two meals.

5-Day Meal Plan: A Week of Easy Dinners

We've put together a delicious 5-day meal plan (to serve 4 people), complete with a shopping list and Sunday meal prep plan, to set you up for a week of quick, no-hassle dinners.

Sunday Meal Prep Plan

  1. Cook a double batch of Easy Oven Brown Rice to use throughout the week.
  2. Chop broccoli and carrots for a double batch of Steamed Broccoli and Carrots with Lemon for Monday. Separate out a half cup each of chopped broccoli and carrots for Thursday's Pork Fried Rice.
  3. Slice bell peppers and onion for Tuesday's Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas.
  4. Wash and dry lettuce for Thursday.
  5. Make Our Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette for Thursday. Refrigerate in a lidded glass jar.
  6. Measure out spices for Friday's Chickpea Curry. Store together in a zip-top sandwich bag or sealed container.
  7. (Optional) Make a double batch of A Good Easy Garlic Chicken for Monday and Thursday. This one is easy enough to cook on Monday just before serving, but can also be prepared in advance.

A Week of Easy Dinners

MAMAJUDD serves this chicken for her family weekly (yep, it's that good). After trying it, we think you will too! The vegetables will be ready in 5 minutes because you chopped them in advance. Serve alongside the brown rice you cooked on Sunday.

Watch: A Good Easy Garlic Chicken

Sheet-pan meals are perfect for weeknights, and made even easier with ready-to-cook ingredients thanks to Sunday meal prep. Serve with warm flour tortillas or turn these into fajita bowls using the brown rice you prepped on Sunday. Beth suggests topping with cilantro, avocado, and chopped tomato. We're digging this Tex-Mex Tuesday!

sheet pan shrimp fajitas
Photo by LazyFoodieGirl

Wednesday: Pork Fried Rice

Cold leftover rice makes the best fried rice, which is why we're using the brown rice you cooked on Sunday in this fan-favorite recipe. Make it your own by adding any vegetables you have kicking around in the crisper drawer. You could also swap the pork chops with leftover chicken from Monday. We're suggesting you double the recipe to serve 4.

4. Thursday: Salads topped with leftover Good Garlic Chicken and Our Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette

Skip the cooking tonight and serve main dish salads that come together in minutes with the washed lettuce and balsamic vinaigrette you prepped on Sunday. Top with leftover Good Garlic Chicken from Monday and any other vegetables you may have in the fridge, like sliced carrots and green onions.

5. Friday: Chickpea Curry

Serve this better-than-take-out curry with any remaining brown rice. Because this recipe relies on canned beans for protein, you don't need to worry about a mid-week grocery run for fresh poultry or meat. And if plans change and you decide not to cook, nothing is wasted. Flavor note: We suggest swapping in ¼-½ teaspoon ground cinnamon for the whole crushed sticks (add more to taste).

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