Healthy Eating

The Ultimate Meal Prepping Guide For Busy Schedules

Meal prep just once all week.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

If the idea of meal prepping is daunting to you, we can relate. It can feel impossible and even overwhelming to figure out a way to fit in any healthy meal prep among all of your other to-dos. But, here’s the thing. Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard or even time-consuming. In fact, it’s a powerful tool to save time, reduce stress, and improve your overall health. By dedicating just a small portion of your week to planning and preparing meals, you can ensure you have nutritious options at your fingertips, no matter how hectic your schedule gets. Whether you’re a busy parent, working professional, or fitness enthusiast looking to support your goals, this guide is for you.

Your Step-by-Step Guide on Meal Planning With A Busy Schedule 

Step #1 Pick Your Healthy & Delicious Recipes 

If you thought healthy eating had to be boring, think again! We believe that healthy eating must be delicious, so naturally, step one of meal planning with a busy schedule is to plan healthy and delicious meals that excite you. Look for colorful, balanced dishes that align with your dietary goals and preferences while also considering their simplicity and ease of preparation. Sign up for FitOn PRO and get access to hundreds of healthy recipes that make healthy eating easy and delicious! 

Step #2 Decide How Many Portions You Need to Prep 

Next is to choose how many portions you’ll need to get you through the week. Determine if you should be doubling or tripling your recipes, or even batch cooking. This is where putting pen to paper can come in handy. Simply map out your meals for the week with the ones you selected to see exactly how many portions you’ll need.

Step #3 Prep Some Staples

In addition to your main recipes, be sure to select a handful of staples to prep too. Things like complex carbs, steamed or roasted veggies and cooked protein will come in handy when you need a quick side dish or want to mix and match ingredients to make a healthy meal. 

Here are some great staples to prep on meal prep day. 

Complex Carbs

  • Quinoa 
  • Brown rice 
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans and legumes


  • Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower rice 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onion


  • Ground turkey or chicken
  • Grilled or shredded chicken breast 
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Tuna or salmon salad

Step #4 Pick Your Meal Plan Day 

Next, look at your schedule and decide which day works best for you to meal prep all of those delicious recipes. The trick here is to select a day where you have plenty of extra time, and where you can actually find some enjoyment in it instead of feeling super rushed. This could be during the weekend when you have extra hands at home to help, or during the week if your household is quieter!

Step #5 Double or Triple Your Recipes 

Depending on how many portions you decided you’ll need for each recipe, now it’s time to decide if you’ll want to double or triple each recipe. If you end up making too much, you can always store it in a freezer-safe container, label it, and keep it in the fridge for next week! 

Step #6 Choose The Right Containers 

While it may seem simple, having the right food storage containers can make a big difference when it comes to convenience on your meal prep day. Consider stocking up on plenty of individual serving size containers so that you can quickly grab and go without having to worry about reheating multiple portions in one go. 

Bento style containers also make it really easy to mix and match your prepped food for a healthy on the go meal. 

Step #7 Repurpose Recipes

When it comes to meal planning with a busy schedule, it’s also about finding ways to repurpose some of your already prepped recipes. You can mix and match some prepped ingredients and turn them into a completely different meal with very little prep work. 

Here are some yummy options: 

  1. Use prepped ground beef or turkey to make a stir-fry with prepped veggies. 
  2. Add prepped veggies to your morning omelets for an added nutritional boost. 
  3. Use leftover banana bread to make french toast! 
  4. Have leftover cauliflower rice? Turn it into a cauliflower pizza topped with whatever protein and veggies you have prepped. 

RELATED: 22 Genius Ways to Make Healthy Recipes Using Leftover Food Scraps

Step #8 Keep The Base, Add Some Spice 

In addition to repurposing your recipes, if you find yourself getting bored of the staples you’ve prepped throughout the week, try switching up the spices or sauces. 

Turn that prepped quinoa you have on hand into a yummy cinnamon quinoa breakfast bowl or add some herbs and spices to your prepped brown rice and pair it with whatever protein you have prepared. 

RELATED: 8 Simple Homemade Seasoning Mix Blends (Better Than Store-Bought)

Bonus Meal Plan For Busy Schedules Hacks

#1 Rely on One-Pan Meals

Think: veggie-filled sheet pan dinners with your favorite protein, or one-pot pasta dishes that require minimal prep or cooking. These will save you so much cooking and cleanup time!

RELATED: 6 Mediterranean-Style One-Pan Dinners That Will Save You Time & Stress

#2 Make Meal Prep Day Something You Look Forward To

Turn on the music, invite a friend to join, or watch your favorite show with a green juice in hand! Adding in something you enjoy doing along with meal prepping will make it way less daunting. 

#3 Prep Your Snacks Too

Consider having your snacks prepped for the week too. This will help prevent mindless eating, and ensure you’re reaching for nutritious options free from sneaky ingredients. Reusable snack bags make it super easy to have your snacks ready to go for the busy week. 

Some easy-prep great snack options include:

  • Pre-portioned berries and nuts
  • Healthy trail mix full of nuts, seeds, and superfoods
  • Carrots, celery sticks, and sliced cucumber with hummus 
  • Apple with a side of almond butter 
  • Energy balls made with your favorite flavors
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt with mixed berries and a drizzle of raw honey

#4 Try FitOn PRO 

With FitOn PRO, you’ll get access to hundreds of recipes and personalized meal plans, so you can save yourself some time while also knowing that you’re nourishing your body with recipes that are both healthy and delicious.

Busy Schedule? Try Meal Prepping Once All Week 

With this guide and these quick and simple steps, you can meal prep once all week, have healthy and delicious foods to grab on the go, and nourish your body. Here’s to simplifying meal prepping and healthy eating.