Meal Prep for Beginners

A 10-minute read.

Meal prep for beginners can seem like a daunting task. 

It can feel overwhelming.

But you’re in luck… before the days of MOD, I used to teach my fitness coaching clients how to meal prep for themselves like a boss.

Today, I’ll be your compass, leading you through the essentials of meal prep. We’ll break down each step, provide practical tips, and arm you with resources to make meal prep not just manageable, but enjoyable.

Table of Contents

    Why Meal Prep?

    “Why bother with meal prep when you can just order delicious takeout every day? It’s quick, convenient, and always tasty.

    And sure, if those are the only metrics you care about, then order away!

    But let’s dig deeper. Imagine your body as a high-performance machine. Would you fuel it with mystery ingredients and processed foods? Probably not.

    Meal prep is about more than just having food ready to eat; it’s about nourishing your body and taking control of your health.

    In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to stop at the drive-thru or order takeout and have it delivered. 

    In our fast-paced lives, it’s tempting to swing by the drive-thru or order in. But we both know that fast food is often laden with hidden chemicals and ingredients designed to cut costs, not boost nutrition.

    By investing time in meal prep, you’re choosing a path of better health.

    You gain control over what goes into your meals, leading to benefits like higher energy levels, weight loss, increased strength, enhanced recovery, and improved mental clarity.

    Imagine the satisfaction of opening your fridge to find neatly stacked containers filled with colorful, nutritious meals, ready to support your health goals. 

    Meal prep makes it easier to resist the temptations of unhealthy options and stay on track.

    Consider this: Who do you think thrives? The person relying on fast food or the one who takes the time to nourish their body with thoughtfully prepared meals?

    Embrace meal prep and take the first step toward a healthier, more vibrant you!

    How to Start Meal Prep for Beginners

    Decide on Your Why

    Understanding your motivation for meal prepping will help you tailor your meals to fit your unique needs and priorities.

    Imagine you’re on a journey, and your ‘why’ is the map guiding you to your destination.

    If you’re meal prepping for weight loss, picture meals with vibrant salads, lean proteins, and carefully measured portions, each one a step closer to your goal. You’ll focus on lower-calorie, high-protein foods, meticulously tracking your macros to ensure you’re on the right path.

    If building muscle is your aim, visualize hearty meals packed with protein and healthy carbs, each bite fueling your gains. You’ll still track your calories, but you’ll add in more volume and some calorie-dense options to boost your intake.

    Or maybe you’re striving for overall health, seeking to nourish your body with wholesome, homemade foods while saving time and money. Envision colorful plates brimming with fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, ready to provide you with the energy and nutrients you need.

    Whatever your reason, take a moment to define your ‘why.’ This clarity will serve as your compass, guiding you through your meal prep journey.

    Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone.

    It does for a lot of people…

    Knowing how your ‘why’ impacts your meal prep can be a daunting roadblock, stopping many before they even begin. But there’s help available to keep you on track.

    To ease this challenge, I offer online nutrition consultations. 

    In these sessions, we’ll explore your current situation and goals. With my 8+ years of nutrition and fitness coaching experience, I’ll work with you to create a customized nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs and aspirations.

    christina ruiz body building victory
    meals of dopeness Nutrition and Personal Consultation for Weight Loss

    Pick your mealtime(s):

    When you’re just starting out, it’s best to set a small, achievable goal.

    Pick one mealtime that you’d like to start preparing around. The most common option is lunch.

    Once you get more comfortable, you can start branching out and prepping more of your meals.

    Sometimes, making big changes can be overwhelming and oftentimes set us up for failure, but when we break our goal down into bite-size, manageable steps, we’re more likely to stick with it. 

    We are aiming for a lifestyle change, not immediate satisfaction.

    How Many Days Do You Want to Prep For?

    Start small by prepping for just two or three days instead of diving into a full week.

    You don’t want to saddle yourself down with a week’s worth of food that you may not want by midweek…

    Especially if you already struggle to eat consistently throughout your day, the last thing you want is for all your food, time, and money to be wasted.

    Taking it step by step ensures you can adapt and refine your meal prep process, making it a sustainable and enjoyable part of your routine.

    Finding Recipes

    Oftentimes, deciding what to make is the hardest part of meal prep for beginners and experienced people alike! 

    Plus, you need to consider what keeps well in the fridge and how much variety you need to stay interested in your food. 

    For starters, I recommend picking up a meal prep cookbook online. You can invest a few dollars and save untold headaches by scrolling the web for recipes. 

    These meal prep cookbooks also tend to have simpler recipes, perfect for those just starting to learn to cook.

    Build a List and Go Shopping

    Once you’ve picked your recipe(s), make a list of all the cookware and ingredients you need.

    Think… what do you need? 

    What do you have already? What do you need to get?

    Building your list helps you make sure you have everything you need so that you don’t walk into the grocery store blind and/or hit a roadblock mid-way through cooking food.

    grocery shopping for beginner meal prep

    Get in There and Start Cooking!

    There is no better way to learn to cook than through experience! I should know — I’m self-taught! 🙂 

    Meal prep for beginners doesn’t need to be scary, this is why we start small and simple.

    Have fun, and don’t get discouraged. Cooking takes time to learn, so if your first meals aren’t Instagram-worthy, don’t sweat it…Mine weren’t either LOL.

    Trust in the process; the more you cook, the better you’ll get!

    Excited about meal prep
    With some practice, you’ll start looking at your meal prep ingredients with as much excitement as I do!

    Pack up your meals!

    Depending on your recipes, you may find it better to pack up individual meals or keep ingredients separate until meal time. 

    Use your best judgment!

    You can find meal prep containers at your local grocery store, or sometimes TJ MAXX/Marshall’s, and if all else fails, Amazon is always FTW. Whether you are looking for BPA-free containers or glass containers, they have so many options! 

    plastic bpa-free containers
    Glass Meal Prep Containers


    After you’ve made your first batch of meals, take a moment and be proud of yourself

    You did that!

    You’ve taken action to improve your health and begun to acquire a new skill. You’re not just settling for the easy way out.

    You’re taking control of what you eat and taking control of your health!

    Stay healthy, Stay Dope!

    chef dopeness

    proud of you meal prep

    BONUS: Meal Prep Services

    Meal prep services aren’t just for those who lack time, dislike cooking, or aren’t confident in the kitchen…

    They can also be an excellent resource to help with meal prep for beginners! 

    Bulk Pre-Cooked Ingredients

    You can speed up your meal prep and skip most of the shopping, cooking, and cleaning by ordering bulk pre-cooked ingredients.

    With pre-cooked bulk ingredients, you can simply portion out the amount of each ingredient you want and assemble your meals. 

    When you buy our bulk ingredients at Meals of Dopeness, you can also trust that the heart of your meal will be flavorful, delicious, and cooked wth love. 

    Check out the bulk options we’re offering this week!

    You don’t have to go it alone!

    meal prep veggies
    bulk meal prep items
    bulk steak meal prep

    Don’t Want to Meal Prep Yourself?

    If you’d rather skip meal prepping altogether but still want to enjoy the benefits and save even more time and effort, look no further than our fully prepared meal options. 

    Take back your weekends and rest easy, knowing that you have delicious handmade chef-prepared meals coming straight to your door. 

    At Meals of Dopeness, we pride ourselves on never sacrificing flavor. So fear not the monotonous options found at most other meal prep services. 

    Drawing inspiration from cuisines around the world, we create meals packed with nutrition and flavor, all within your calorie limits. 

    Meals so good it doesn’t even taste like meal prep.

    meal prep empanadas
    Meals of Dopeness Meal Prep
    Meal Prep Falafels

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