Meal prep can be a pain — but if you have a solid plan in place, it definitely doesn't have to be.
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.
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:
Here's the printable grocery list of everything needed for both today's prep day — and rest of the meals for the week.
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.
1. ROASTING VEGGIES
First up: You'll prep a batch of sheet-pan veggies — because they take the longest to roast in the oven.
Chop eggplants, onions, zucchini, and garlic first — then drizzle oil, and pop them into the oven.
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.
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.
2. MAKING MEATBALLS
While the veggies roast, prepare the meatball mixture.
Add ground turkey, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice to a bowl.
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.
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.
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.
Cucumber + lemon + garlic + Greek yogurt.
Then a tangy balsamic reduction:
5. ROASTING CHICKPEAS
Last? Toast a can of chickpeas.
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.
1. Chop and roast vegetables on a sheet pan.
— Recipe yield: 3 pounds
• 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
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
• 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
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
• 2 cups brown jasmine rice
• 4 cups water
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
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
• 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
• 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
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) of chickpeas
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 teaspoons jalapeño, minced
• 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
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.