Jun. 27. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Want to know how to meal prep? Read this guide for 10 steps to meal prep like a boss from dietitian nutritionist McKel.

Cooking ahead of time can provide meals throughout the week so that you can just grab-and-go with healthy, whole food meals to feel amazing and focused.

One topic I wanted to share with you on the blog is all about the core of the living well and eating whole…P R E P. With so much going on and running around all around town (sound familiar?), my number one secret weapon for eating well and feeling amazing is healthy meal prep. Starting to prep healthy meals for an entire week can be really overwhelming, but have no fear for I’m here to help ya out. I’m sharing my top 10 steps to healthy meal prep like a boss that you can try out this weekend. Keep reading for my tried and true method for becoming a healthy meal prep pro.


I started meal prepping in college when I was super busy running between classes, meetings, and hanging out with friends and just didn’t have the time to cook healthy meals. Sound familiar? I started cooking ahead on Sundays so that throughout the week I could just grab and go healthy, whole food meals that would keep me feeling amazing and focused. These days I’ve gotten meal prep down to a science and can grocery shop, prep, and cook in under 3 hours most Sundays. Having meals ready to go gives me more energy and focus for the work I do with Nutrition Stripped and gives me more time for the things I love like playing with my puppy Luna, working out, self care, and spending time with friends and family. Just a reminder, it takes practice to be able to meal prep this quickly, but give it a few tries and you will see as you get more familiar with the recipes and in the kitchen, you’ll get faster and faster! Below are my top ten tips to saving time and energy during your weekly meal prep.

No. 1 Go grocery shopping

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important you prioritize your trip to the store or farmers market before you even begin prep! Be efficient and choose times where traffic is low so you can get in and get out. Usually on Sunday afternoons the grocery store is a mad house, so I usually go earlier in the morning when it’s much easier to get my shopping done quickly.

No. 2 Have a meal plan and recipe list planned out

In the Guide to Master Meal Planning, we have the entire summer planned out for you with 4 rotations, kid-friendly lists, a 911 emergency meal plan day for when you’re in a bind, and a list of alternative recipes to add in in case you want a little more variety. Without a meal plan, you’re often left with a ton of food and ingredients but no focus or recipes to make, which means food inevitably goes bad OR you waste time daily thinking about what to cook and #noonehastimeforthat.

No. 3 Clean ’em!

Wash, rinse, and store your fruits and veggies properly. If you need a guide to store produce read this post. You’ll thank yourself later for doing all the dirty work ahead of time when they’re ready to go when you are.

No. 4 Multi-task

I’m all for being efficient with my time and that carries over into cooking as well. A fundamental component to the Guide to Master Meal Planning is saving you time! Cook things on the stove top like hard boiled eggs, quinoa, soups, etc. while at the same time you’re baking off veggies, sweet potatoes, granola, etc. in the oven and making hummus, homemade almond milk, or salad dressings in the blender. Use your time wisely!

No. 5 Have fun

Grab your significant other, your BFF, or your family and have fun in the kitchen cooking together while listening to music and jammin’. It’s not all work!

No. 6 Make your favorites

I have a list of staple batch cooking items I prep weekly and rotate them out here and there. I decrease decision fatigue in my life as much as possible, and making food ahead of time is just one of the many ways I keep important energy focused on making big decisions versus just what to eat daily. That’s why I shared my tips in depth with the Guide to Master Meal Planning members and it’s helped them tremendously!

No. 7 Meals in jars

These are great to have in the fridge for when you need a quick breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner to go. Try a Simple Chia Seed Pudding, salad in a jar 3 ways, salsa with guacamole, soups, etc.

No. 8 Frozen jazz

Peel, chop, and freeze bananas, zucchini, and any other fruit or veg for a quick addition to any smoothie. Frozen zucchini is my favorite to use for a low sugar option in smoothies and smoothie bowls like in the Blue Morning Smoothie Bowl.

No. 9 Simply infused waters

Simply Infused Waters! Have a couple of pitchers of your favorite water infusions in the fridge to encourage you to stay hydrated throughout the day especially during the warmer months of the year. Another added bonus I keep in the fridge at ALL times is my Love Your Liver Iced Tea.

No. 10 Dips, dressings, and sauces

Of course, you can pick up your favorite brands at the store to save time, but there’s something so delicious and super simple about making your own salad dressings on the fly, hummus for the week ahead, and sauces. Some of my favorites I prep on the weekend are: Spinach Basil Pesto, Beet Hummus, Sweet Tahini Drizzle, Zesty Lemon Shallot Dressing, and Lemon Lime Guacamole.

There you have it, friends, I hope this list helps you take the first 10 steps you need today to improve your meal planning skills. If you need any more help, just join us in the Guide to Master Meal Planning. We have MUCH more where this list came from.