4 Ways to Make Meal Prep More Flexible

Meal prep — or making up to a week’s worth of meals all in one day and storing them — sounds great in theory. You spend a few hours each Sunday washing, cutting, cooking, and storing food so that when each weekday rolls around, you’re ready to go. However, this form of meal prep is not for everybody. It can feel rigid — like, how are we going to know on Sunday night what we’re going to feel like eating on Thursday afternoon? If you’re one of these people, try these top four ways to make your meal prep more flexible. 

1. Focus on Just Two Days 

Rather than prepping your entire week in advance, just focus on the next two or three days. We often know what we will feel like eating in this shorter period, so you don’t have to worry about forcing down fish when all you want is a salad. Then, you can do the same mini meal prep again mid-week.

2. Go Half-Homemade

No matter what Pinterest tells you, you don’t have to do it all yourself. Cut yourself some slack and buy pre-cut veggies, pre-washed greens, and pre-cooked grains that are ready to eat in just a few minutes. These shortcut options can drastically cut down on your meal prep time, making it more flexible to add in impromptu meals.

3. Mix-and-Match Meals

A good way to meal prep is to prepare one or two proteins (like shredded chicken or hard-boiled eggs), two vegetables (like one roasted and one raw and cut), one grain (like brown rice), and two sauces (try pesto or green goddess sauce.) This way, you can mix and match your meals by building bowls or salads with one protein, vegetable, grain, and sauce throughout the week. 

4. Cultivate Creativity 

Sometimes meal prep is boring simply because we’re bored with our foods. We all get stuck in creative ruts — even with cooking. To cultivate more creativity in the kitchen, look to old or new cookbooks, ask a friend what their favorite meal is, or take an online cooking class to inspire you to make new foods.

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