30-Minute Meal Prep Plan [Just the Essentials]

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Recently, a follower on Instagram asked me about my go-to meal prep Sunday recipes. She was about to have a minor surgery that would sideline her for most of the week, so she wanted “just the essentials” for food prepping. I’m allllll about keeping it simple in the kitchen, especially when it comes to meal prep. I don’t always have the time to devote more than 30 minutes to meal prep. And, honestly, sometimes I just don’t want to spend a ton of time on food prep. In fact, over the years, I’ve become quite efficient in the kitchen. I actually refer to myself as a “meal prep ninja!” 🙂

That said, below is my go-to (aka “just the essentials”) meal prep game plan when I just don’t have time or don’t feel like food prepping. I created this handy-dandy checklist for you to have on-hand when your food prep day rolls around. Keep these 5 categories in mind when creating your meal plan for the week. Also below, I shared a number of my favorite recipes to help you dominate your meal prep, so you can get in and out of the kitchen in a flash!

“Just the Essentials” Meal Prep Recipes

Instant pot shredded chicken: Use your instant pot or crockpot to make a big ol’ batch of shredded chicken for the week. Divide the batch into 2-3 separate portions and mix with BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, pesto, Italian dressing, marinara, or another favorite sauce or dressing to keep the flavors new and exciting!

Sheet pan roasted veggies + chicken sausage: Roast up a sheet pan (or two) of sliced chicken sausage or kielbasa along with your favorite veggies for a quick grab-and-go meal or meal starter. Pair with your favorite starch (i.e. rice, sweet potatoes) for a complete meal. FYI: Silicone mats make this so easy!

Overnight oats: At the start of the week, whip up a few batches of overnight oats and store in glass containers with lids in the fridge. In the morning, grab a container, heat in the microwave or eat cold, and grab a spoon. A healthy breakfast is ready to go when you are! Overnight oats also make a great afternoon snack!

My favorite frozen veggies & how I use them: I rely on frozen veggies a lot during the week. It’s so easy to heat them up or pop them in the air fryer for a quickie side dish. With a variety of veggies available in your freezer, the options are really endless when it comes to adding some extra nutrients, flavor, and fiber to your meals!

Healthy 3-ingredient dinners for busy weeknights: This round-up of 3-ingredient dinners includes our family’s very favorite recipes that we make again and again. They are truly the easiest meals ever! Pick a couple (or more) each week to add to your meal plan for fuss-free dinners!

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