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This Meal-Prep Plan Will Set You Up For A Week Of Healthy Eats

Cook now, feast later: We're kicking off our 7-Day No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan with a smart prep routine that will make the week ahead even easier. (And tastier!)

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JUMP TO:Intro | Prep Day | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day SevenEXTRAS:Snack Ideas | Grocery List | Printable Recipes
Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed
Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

Meal prep can be a pain — but if you have a solid plan in place, it definitely doesn't have to be.

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Below you'll find the prep instructions for our 7-Day No-Sugar-Added Meal Plan — which is a week's worth of balanced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that you can make at home.

In order to get the most out of the meal plan, we suggest grocery shopping and doing the prep work on a Saturday or Sunday, then starting Day One of recipes the following day. (To see the full week's menu + info about the cost of groceries, head here.)

The biggest benefit of making certain items — like cooking grains or roasting vegetables — ahead of time? The fact that it sets you up for a much easier week ahead.

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By knocking out several make-ahead components upfront, your cook and cleanup time during the busy workweek drops way down.

This prep list may seem like a lot at first glance (and full disclosure: It will take a few hours, mostly due to roasting stuff in the oven) — but TBH? It's completely doable. You'll prep five things:

1. Chop and roast vegetables.2. Make and bake meatballs.3. Cook rice.4. Mix two sauces.5. Toast chickpeas.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

1. Chop and roast vegetables.
2. Make and bake meatballs.
3. Cook rice.
4. Mix two sauces.
5. Toast chickpeas.

Here's the printable grocery list of everything needed for both today's prep day — and rest of the meals for the week.

Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

You can find step-by-step prep instructions at the bottom of this post, or a complete PDF of all of the recipes in the meal plan HERE.

Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

1. ROASTING VEGGIES

First up: You'll prep a batch of sheet-pan veggies — because they take the longest to roast in the oven.

(And you can get other prep done WHILE they're roasting.)
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

(And you can get other prep done WHILE they're roasting.)

Chop eggplants, onions, zucchini, and garlic first — then drizzle oil, and pop them into the oven.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

It'll look like a lot of veggies on one sheet pan — and it's OK if they touch. (We're just looking to cook them, not make them crispy.)

About halfway through, give the pan a shake, and add peeled and chopped tomatoes.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

An easy way to peel the tomatoes? Carve a small X into them, pop them into the microwave for several minutes, let cool, and then lift the peels right off.

When everything's done, it'll look like this.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

2. MAKING MEATBALLS

While the veggies roast, prepare the meatball mixture.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Add ground turkey, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice to a bowl.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Along with salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger. (This is also where you'll set aside a few ounces for the Thai-style rice bowl — full instructions at the bottom of this post.)

Mix well, fold in an egg + breadcrumbs — then form into meatballs, and place on a sheet pan.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Once your vegetables are done roasting in the oven, swap that sheet pan for this one.

3. COOKING RICE

Next, get your brown rice started in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.

One and done.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

One and done.

4. MIXING SAUCES

While the rice cooks, you'll whip up two simple sauces for use throughout the week. First? A creamy Greek yogurt tzatziki.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Cucumber + lemon + garlic + Greek yogurt.

Then a tangy balsamic reduction:

Fair warning that this stuff will smell pretty strong as it cooks down — that's why we saved it for (almost) last.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Fair warning that this stuff will smell pretty strong as it cooks down — that's why we saved it for (almost) last.

5. ROASTING CHICKPEAS

Last? Toast a can of chickpeas.

With olive oil, cilantro, and jalapeño, which should cancel any lingering ~smells~ of the balsamic vinegar.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

With olive oil, cilantro, and jalapeño, which should cancel any lingering ~smells~ of the balsamic vinegar.

Two final notes: You'll want to let everything cool after it cooks, before storing it in covered containers in the fridge. (We used this container set.) And you'll want to take a minute to store the chicken breasts from your grocery list directly in the freezer — you'll thaw them toward the middle of the week.

With that, you're fully prepped for the week ahead. Find full prep recipes below, or a printable PDF of recipes here. Ready to start Day One? Find it here.

Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed
** Note: You can prep several of these items simultaneously — for example, assembling the meatball mixture while veggies roast in the oven; or mixing sauces while rice cooks.
Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

** Note: You can prep several of these items simultaneously — for example, assembling the meatball mixture while veggies roast in the oven; or mixing sauces while rice cooks.

1. Chop and roast vegetables on a sheet pan.

— Recipe yield: 3 pounds

INGREDIENTS

• 2 medium zucchini, skin on, cut into ¾-inch cubes

• 2 medium eggplants, skin on, cut into ¾-inch cubes

• 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

• 2 teaspoons kosher salt

• 7 roma tomatoes

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven at 350°F. While it's heating, chop zucchini, eggplant, onion, and garlic. Then toss them in a large bowl with salt, and transfer to a foil-lined sheet tray. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, score a small X into the bottom of each tomato and microwave them in a bowl for 7 to 10 minutes. Once cooled, peel the skin off and roughly dice them. After 40 minutes of cooking, increase oven to 400°F, add the tomatoes, and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Let cool, then store in covered container in fridge.

2. Assemble and cook the meatballs in the oven.

— Recipe yield: 10 meatballs / 5 ounces Thai-style turkey

INGREDIENTS

• 1 pound ground turkey

• ¼ cup minced green onion

• 2 tablespoons minced ginger

• 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

• 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño, seeded

• 1 tablespoon lime juice

• 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

• 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 teaspoon lime zest

• ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 large egg, beaten

• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

INSTRUCTIONS

Turn oven to 350°F.

Combine turkey, green onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, salt, lime zest, and black pepper and gently mix until just combined: This is your meatball mixture. Reserve 5 ounces of (about ½ a cup), and store in the fridge — this will be cooked on Day Two for dinner.

Add egg to the meatball mixture and gently mix to incorporate. Slowly add just enough bread crumbs until mixture holds together. Roll into 10 meatballs, about 1 ounce each (2 tablespoons). Place meatballs onto a sheet tray prepped with nonstick spray and bake for 25 minutes. Once finished, let cool, then store half in the fridge, and half in the freezer for later in the week.

3. Make rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.

— Recipe yield: 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups brown jasmine rice

• 4 cups water

• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover with a lid. Continue cooking until water is completely absorbed, about 35 minutes. Let cool, then store in covered container in fridge.

*Note: This recipe can also be made in a rice cooker.

4. Whip up two sauces.

1. GREEK YOGURT TZATZIKI

— Recipe yield: 1 cup

You'll need:

• ½ cucumber, skin on

• ¾ cup Greek yogurt

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• ¼ teaspoon lemon zest

• ¼ teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 clove

• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

• ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

To make: Grate the cucumber and squeeze in a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Mix with yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper. Store in covered container in fridge.

2) BALSAMIC REDUCTION

— Recipe yield: 1/2 cup

— Total time: 10 minutes

You'll need:

• 1 cup balsamic vinegar

To make: Pour vinegar into a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, and cook until reduced by half. Transfer to a bowl and let cool before using.

5. Toast chickpeas in a pan or skillet.

— Recipe yield: 1 ¼ cup

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 can (15.5 ounces) of chickpeas

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• ½ teaspoon kosher salt

• 2 teaspoons jalapeño, minced

• 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

Drain, rinse, and pat the chickpeas dry. Heat olive oil in a cast-iron pan. Add the chickpeas, salt, and sliced jalapeño. Cook, stirring frequently, until chickpeas are brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro. Let cool, then store in covered container in fridge.

Last thing: Store the chicken breasts from your grocery list directly in the freezer — you'll thaw them toward the middle of the week.

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