4 Cheap Meal Prep Ideas
Whether you’re a busy college student or a parent with young kids, meal prep can feel like a time-consuming and boring task. More than that, it's difficult to balance being healthy with being cost-conscious. Here are four cheap meal prep ideas to help you meet your health goals while saving money at the same time.
Cheap Meal Prep Ideas: Keto “Oatmeal”
Cheap meal prep ideas don't have to be expensive or complicated. Instead, they can be simple. One batch breakfast idea is overnight oats. Overnight oats have become pretty famous on TikTok; however, the average oatmeal breakfast easily reaches over 60 carbs. Make our variation overnight instead to keep it low carb.
This recipe for keto-friendly oatmeal involves numerous add-in options to keep each portion interesting and flavorful. The base is a chia seed pudding and it uses hemp seeds to mimic the texture of oatmeal without the extra carbs from oats. From fruit and nuts to spices and seeds, you can mix in all kinds of keto-friendly toppings. Check out the recipe for all of our best add-in ideas!
Cheap Meal Prep Ideas: Mediterranean Chicken Bowl
Another trending meal prep idea is a Mediterranean chicken bowl. This can also be prepared in advance and requires only a few delicious ingredients! As written, this chicken bowl makes two portions.
You'll need two boneless skinless chicken breasts. one diced english cucumber, three tablespoons olive oil, a cup of halved cherry tomatoes, a medium red onion diced, a third cup of Kalamata olives and about five ounces of feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of oregano. You may also enjoy this over your favorite greens dressed with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
This delicious bowl is great topped with our homemade tzatziki sauce but just olive oil is great too.
- The veggies and chicken can be cut and prepped ahead of time. Simply cook some chicken breasts or use a rotisserie chicken to make it even easier.
- To cook the chicken: pan sear with olive oil and your preferred seasonings. We like salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and aromatics like thyme, basil, oregano and rosemary.
- Once cooked thoroughly, dice your chicken and add to a bowl with your prepared vegetables. Nobody likes dry, overcooked chicken, so be sure to use my favorite meat thermometer. Cooking your chicken to 165 degrees ensures that it's safe to eat while preventing it from being tough and overdone.
- This meal comes together in less than an hour and can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days. You could also freeze the chicken and onions in individual portions to add to the rest of the ingredients later.
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Cheap Meal Prep Ideas: Chili
When it comes to easy cheap meal prep, there's nothing better than making a full crockpot and refrigerating or freezing portions for later. One keto crockpot recipe is our fan favorite triple meat chili.
This dish is so easy to make in the crockpot and makes plenty to freeze for later.
Now that we've covered a possible breakfast, lunch, and dinner, let's review one of my favorite cheap meal prep ideas for dessert.
Cheap Meal Prep Ideas: Frozen Cookies
Finally, everyone's favorite meal prep category: desserts! It can seem as though staying in ketosis means no desserts, but with alternative flours and sweeteners you can still have some treats.
Our chocolate chip cookie recipe is great for meal prep. As written, it makes 24 cookies. To meal prep cookies, you'll want to double or triple the recipe. My favorite way to keep these for later is to create all of the cookies into equal portions using a cookie scoop, bake just a few then freeze the rest. This way you've already prepped the dough which makes having fresh from the oven cookies possible any time.
Freezing the extra dough also reduces the temptation to eat more cookies. Baking just one or a few at a time can make it easier to resist eating more than you should.
Hopefully, these recipes work for you and your family when trying to plan ahead. Cheap meal prep ideas can come from anywhere, and at Heal Nourish Grow we hope to provide interesting ideas for meal prep while living the keto lifestyle.