Meal Prep Bowls pt. 2

Yes, I know this was supposed to go out yesterday. But I was putting the finishing touches on my research paper, so I decided this post could wait. I finished the first draft, btw, so that you all for your prayers! I sent it in for review, then hopefully I can submit it for finals next week. Yay!

Last week I introduced what meal prep bowls are and what sorts of thing could go in them. This week I'm going to talk about how to actually go about making them without losing your mind.

I'm going to use the bowl I made last week as an example of the breakdown: lemon ginger chicken with steamed veggies and lentils. This was delicious and I totally recommend that you make it.


I talked about this at some length last week, but I remembered a few points I'd like to present. 

1. Be experimental, but make sure you feel comfortable preparing the recipe. You don't want to have to spend hours in the kitchen making your bowls. Browse the recipe's steps to make sure you're relatively comfortable making it. It's good to challenge yourself, but make sure you take tiny steps out of your comfort zone. Remember: meal prep bowls= ease of mind. Keep it simple.

2. Try to monitor how long it will take you to cook the meal. I usually aim for about an hour max of cooking time. Sometimes I'll go a little longer if I feel like it's worth it, such as my Greek chicken bowls, or if it is mostly passive time, like with my lentils this week. But usually, I like to keep the active cooking time to a minimum. 

3. Make sure the menu you choose is something you want to eat for a week straight. I've made a few bowls that made me gag. They sounded good when I read the recipe, but they tasted like eating a bowl full of sugar (even though there was only 1 Tbsp. in it). I ended up letting my sister and mom eat them because they didn't care too much about it. You need to enjoy it or else you will cry.

4. Make enough for dinner that evening. This is huge for me. I try to make enough for my bowls and for my family to eat that night. The last thing I want to do when I'm done making my bowls is turn around and make dinner for a bunch of starving people. It doesn't take any extra effort and it saves a lot of time and hassle. That and they won't whine and complain when they see you packaging all of this delicious food, knowing full well they won't get any.


Read through the recipes you're going to use for the week. Figure out which portion takes the longest, with the least amount of hands-on work. It's usually the starch. Start on that portion and have it cooking while you work on the most labor-intensive part. This was the lentils for me. I did the minimal prep work they required and let them simmer on the stove while I moved on to the next step.

The protein usually takes the most active cooking time, so you'll probably want to focus on it next. Chop, slice, and cook whatever it is that takes the most hands-on effort out of your menu. If there are a few steps you can do for the next portion of your menu, such as boiling water to steam veggies or cook pasta, do that while you're working. I cooked the chicken while getting the water ready for my veggies. I also chopped the broccoli so it would be ready when I needed it and I turned my lentils off when the cooking time was up.

When you have a break while your main portion is cooking, start on the veggies and/or pasta. These usually take the least amount of time and effort to cook. Roast, sautee, steam, or do whatever to have these cooked (if you're cooking them at all). I threw my broccoli and sliced carrots into my steamer and let them go for five minutes while I let my chicken simmer in its sauce. Except, *cough* somehow my steamer got turned off and I had to restart the timer once I realized what had happened. Whoops.

Disclaimer: Obviously there are some types of bowls which won't use these steps because everything is thrown together, such as taco bowls and pasta salads. With these, you can follow a similar process by cooking everything from the most difficult (most time consuming) to the least difficult (least time consuming), then throwing them together as the recipe says.


When everything is cooked, lay out your containers near your cooking area so you can easily fill them. I usually start by putting in the protein, then the starch and finally the veggies. This time around, I used smaller containers for my lentils because they were runny and would have ruined the rest of my lunch. 

Once the containers are filled, put the lids on them and cram them into whatever nook and cranny you can find in your refrigerator. This is always the struggle. Then enjoy the bliss of not having to cook your meals from scratch throughout the week whilst enjoying healthy, delicious food! And bask in the jealous stares of your family and coworkers. They make the hard work worth it. 

I hope this was helpful in some way. If you want, you can check out my meal prep bowl Pinterest board. You'll get an idea of what kinds of things I throw into my bowls and maybe you can pick up some inspiration for your own. 

So, have you started prepping? If so, what sorts of things did you do? I'm always interested in hearing what people make so I can steal  borrow their ideas! Would you like me to share recipes that I use in the future? Or are you good for now?


  1. I agree with you on the make-what-you-gonna-eat thing....I've made a few crockpot meals that didn't go so well....

    Great post, Sarah!


    1. It can be devastating to spend so much time on something only for it to not turn out well. But at least in those moments you find what you don't like. That's a plus. Sort of. I guess...

  2. Lol, fitting stuff in the fridge is the real struggle. XD This is a great idea because I could probably even make salads this way to have ahead of time. Ah, jealous stares of coworkers. XD Great post! <3


    1. Yes, you definitely can. Look into Mason jar layered salads. It's a certain way of packaging them so they last longer without getting gross. While I don't usually eat salad, I've made them for others. They look pretty and I've heard they taste good too.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    2. I hadn't thought of mason jars, but we have quite a few of those, so that would be awesome! I'll have to remember that. Thanks! :)

    3. They're so helpful for everything! You can also pack soup in them so they don't leak all over the place. A lot of times, if we're making a meal for someone and it involves soup, we use the huge half gallon ones with plastic lids. Works like a charm.

  3. This is so helpful, thank you! ^_^

  4. I just had Taco Salad for lunch yesterday, and again for today. We made 5 bowls, but there are three of us at work who will be eating them, so my brother was nice enough to find his own lunch today so Evan and I get the bowls again. Very good!! I can't wait to try making more!


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