Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss (Healthy Recipes)

Posted: September 22, 2022

These healthy meal prep ideas are perfect for weight loss and are a great way to create a weekly meal prep schedule. As a Registered Dietitian who has worked with many clients with weight loss goals, I believe that meal prepping is the best way to stay on track. Keep on reading to get some inspiration for your next grocery trip.

image of meal prep containers with the phrase: Meal Prep Recipes for weight loss

Making healthy meals ahead of time may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be when you have a list of healthy food ideas on hand. Weight loss recipes also do not need to be something different than your typical healthy diet consisting of protein, healthy fats, fiber and plants.

At the end of the day, weight loss requires being in a calorie deficit and paying attention to your overall calorie intake. However, this does not mean you need to count calories in order to lose weight. Learning to eat in a balanced, healthy way most of the time is key to keeping the weight off.

You only need to eat healthy 70-80% of the time in order to see results, which surprises many when they learn this fact. Many people struggle with staying consistent with their health and weight loss goals because they change too many habits at a time resulting in overwhelm and burn out.

Many people give up when they overindulge over a weekend or during one meal and that is the biggest mistake you can do since one meal or one weekend does not make or break your results.

Having said that, planning meals in advance is key to meal prep for weight loss success as meal planning makes it more realistic to stay on track.

Here is a blog post I wrote that answers the question of how to lose weight without counting calories.

What is the best diet for weight loss?

I often get asked whether or not certain diets are good for weight loss, like the keto diet, and my answer is usually no. It is not a good idea to follow diets that are difficult to sustain because it ends up leading to the weight being regained. So really, what is the point?

In order to lose weight and keep it off, your eating habits need to fit your lifestyle. For example, if you enjoy a weekly date night out, then an easy way to fit in your weight loss goals is to adjust what you eat at the restaurant versus cutting out date night. Small adjustments throughout the week make a huge difference in your progress and slow progress always trumps fast and unsustainable results.

Healthy Meal Prep Tips

Creating a healthy meal prep recipe does not need to be difficult. I personally like to start by creating a list of food items and adding them to a grocery list. From there, it is easy to mix and match foods to create healthy recipes and it makes the grocery store trip so much quicker and easier. Choosing an easy recipe that aligns with your goals would consist of protein, fiber, healthy fats and plants.

Here is how I would break it down:

  • Choose 3-4 lean proteins. Examples: chicken breasts, black beans, salmon, meats, plain Greek yogurt, peas, lentils, cottage cheese.
  • Choose 4-5 vegetables. Examples: zucchini noodles, red onions, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
  • Choose 3-4 fruits. Examples: apples, bananas, berries, cantelope, any fruit that is in season.
  • Choose 2-3 whole grains. Examples: sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain bread, white rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta.
  • Choose 1-2 healthy fats. Examples: olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds.
  • Choose 3 snack items. Examples: peanut butter, cheese sticks, edamame, sugar snap peas, popcorn, whole grain crackers, berries, hummus, guacamole.

How to store your meal prep:

I have been loving these airtight containers. They do a great job of keeping food fresh and are easy to store.

meal prep containers for weight loss

These meal prep containers are another great option that make portioning easy.

meal prep containers for weight loss

20 Healthy Weight Loss Meal Prep Ideas

Here are 20 easy meal prep ideas that you can use whether your goal is weight loss or healthy eating in general. Weight loss meal prep does not have to be different than your usual make-ahead meals you enjoy to cook. In this list, you will find vegetarian option and other healthy lunch or dinner meals.

Chicken and Kale Caesar Wraps 

These Chicken and Kale Caesar Wraps are only 400 calories. They are super filling and packed with nutrients. To make this recipe more balanced, make sure to use whole grain wraps. They are also the perfect on-the-go lunch. Recipe here.

Image of: Chicken and Kale Caesar Wraps

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers

These Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers are the adult version of chicken nuggets! They are packed with protein and veggies and are simple to make! They only require four ingredients: chicken, sweet potato, flour, and spices. Recipe here.

Buffalo Chicken 

This Buffalo Chicken recipe is not only healthy, but is packed with flavor. It is best paired with Cauliflower rice and fresh avocados and tomatoes! Recipe here. 

meal prep ideas for weight loss

Fajita 

This Chicken Fajita Recipe is a great idea for meal prep. It contains rice, chicken, bell peppers, onion and salsa. You can make this recipe in the oven, stove top or the grill! Recipe here. 

Chicken Parmesan With Spaghetti Squash 

You won’t ever catch me saying spaghetti squash tastes like real pasta, but this recipe is an amazing way to pack in nutrients and volume. This recipe replaces regular spaghetti with spaghetti squash. If you prefer, you can use whole grain spaghetti. Recipe here.

Image of: Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

Healthy Overnight Oats Recipe for Weight Loss 

If you’re looking for a quick breakfast recipe that is going to make weight loss a little less overwhelming, you’re going to love this healthy overnight oats recipe! This is an easy, healthy and balanced creamy overnight oats combination made with yogurt, a perfect make-ahead breakfast! Recipe here.

TikTok Green Goddess Salad With Chicken (nut-free)

This Green Goddess salad is a fast and simple cabbage salad that has gone mega viral on TikTok. Green Goddess salad is a popular salad, but the version that Baked by Melissa shares is light, easy and vegan. The version I will be making uses grilled chicken and Greek yogurt which adds a lot of protein making the salad filling and satisfying. The recipe is also nut-free for those with nut allergies. Recipe here.

Green goddess salad for weight loss

Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato 

This recipe is for the spicy lovers and it’s so good! It takes a little bit longer to make but can be enjoyed in all sorts of ways. You can add this recipe to a salad, or even make it into a rice bowl. It is packed with nutrients and flavor. Recipe here. 

Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs 

This recipe makes about 40 meatballs and takes less than 30 minutes to make! It is made with ground turkey and the meatballs are baked! Pair this recipe with brown rice and roasted vegetables! Recipe here. 

Image of: Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs

Turkey Taco Bowls with Cauliflower Rice

This recipe is a great alternative to regular tacos. It has all the toppings and flavor. Made with turkey and served with cauliflower rice instead of tortillas and it is totally customizable. You can add more or less of an ingredient (or even switch it out) depending on your liking! Recipe here. 

Spicy Chickpea Quinoa Bowls

Another easy bowl idea. Bowls are amazing because you can prepare different foods and mix and match throughout the week. Recipe here.

meal prep ideas for weight loss

Quinoa and Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables

You can’t go wrong with roasted vegetables and a whole grain when it comes to meal prep for weight loss. I would definitely suggest adding in a protein like chicken, ground beef or chicken in this or tofu if you want to keep things vegetarian. Overall this recipe is easy and quick and makes for a great meal prep lunch. Recipe here

Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bowls 

Creating grain bowls are so easy to meal prep because you can cook the meats and vegetables separate and throw them in together when it’s time to eat them. This also allows you to easily change up the flavors by adding in different grains and healthy proteins which keeps your meals exciting and something to look forward to. Recipe here.

Image of: Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bowls

California Burger Wraps 

Even though I believe that all foods fit when you want to lose weight and eat healthier, it is not a bad idea to substitute hamburger buns for lettuce wraps every once in a while. It is a great way to add more vegetables and reduce your carbohydrate intake overall. Recipe here.

Sweet Potato Soup

If you like soup, then this recipe is a must-try! Soup is one of the easiest meals to prepare ahead of time and you can easily add protein and a serving of vegetables on the side for a balanced meal. You can also boost protein by using chicken broth instead of water. This recipe is perfect for colder months as it’s full of antioxidants and vitamins which are great for keeping your immune system functioning optimally. Recipe here

sweet potato soup is a perfect meal prep recipe

Tuna Salad Cucumber Boats

Another easy and quick recipe perfect no matter what your health goals are. These tuna salad cucumber boats are made with tuna fish and fresh cucumbers that make the perfect, crunchy sandwich alternative. Recipe here.

Spicy Chicken Meal Prep With Rice and Beans

This recipe is delicious, balanced and easy! The spicy chicken breast is well seasoned and it adds a lot of flavor. It is also balanced very well with fiber, protein and healthy fats making this a great recipe for weight loss. Recipe here

Image of: Spicy Chicken Meal Prep with Rice and Beans

Philly Cheese Steak 

You may be surprised that Philly Cheese Steak is on this list, but this recipe is a perfect substitute if you want a healthier version. This recipe is made with ground beef, green peppers, mushroom, provolone cheese and basmati rice on the side. It is easy to make ahead of time and enjoy later. Recipe here

Vegetarian Quinoa Burrito Bowls 

I like this recipe because it is very versatile and you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. If you are looking for a filling and satisfying whole grain, I would definitely choose quinoa as it is loaded with fiber and protein. This recipe is easy to put together and takes very little time to prepare.

Recipe here.

meal prep ideas for weight loss

Zucchini Noodles with Salmon

This recipe takes about 10 minutes to cook and it is perfect if you are looking for a lighter meal. Replacing regular noodles with zucchini noodles is a great twist to this recipe or you can use whole grain pasta. Either way it is healthy and hearty! Recipe here. 

healthy overnight oats recipe for weight loss in a mason jar in front of a vase

20 Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss: Healthy Overnight Oats Recipe for Weight Loss

Make my healthy overnight oats recipe as an easy make-ahead breakfast that will keep you full and energized all morning long! Be sure to check out the other 20 healthy meal prep recipes for weight loss in the post!
Prep Time 10 mins
Refrigerated 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 355 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 mason jar

Ingredients
  

Base

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt plain
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  •  To start, combine old-fashioned rolled oats and chia seeds in a bowl or directly into the overnight oats container.
  • Next add the Greek or vegan yogurt to the bowl.
  • Add the peanut butter, almond extract and milk to the bowl and mix the overnight oats together until well combined. 
  • Optional: you can also add a sweetener like maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit or frozen fruit to add sweetness.
  • Finally, seal or cover with a lid in an airtight container, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • The next day, uncover and enjoy from the glass container. Thin with a little more milk or water, if desired, or warm in the microwave or stovetop until warmed through.

Notes

  1. If you do not have milk, you can use water to make this Snickers overnight oats recipe. Keep all other ingredients the same.
  2. You can omit chia seeds if you do not have any or if you don’t like the texture of chia seeds.
  3. It is preferable to use 100% natural peanut butter, unsweetened and unsalted. This will help to reduce the amount of additives in the recipe.
  4. You can replace the maple syrup with honey or omit all together.
  5. Store up to 5 days in the fridge. This is an easy and delicious high-protein breakfast idea that you can meal prep for the week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 15gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 247mgPotassium: 334mgFiber: 9gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 8IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 288mgIron: 3mg
Keyword healthy recipe, overnight oats
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