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By: Haley Shaw

Haley Shaw is a wellness specialist and public speaker for her company, Amp Up Fitness. Here, she offers her picks for the best foods to have on hand for meal prep.

Meal prep does not need to take up an entire day on the week or weekend if you don’t want it to. Our time is precious, right? Why waste hours cooking when we can ease our “meal prep” lifestyle? (But that’s not to say you should stop cooking entirely if doing so on a daily basis keeps your heart happy.)

RELATED: An Easy Meal Prep Recipe to Try This Week

To keep meals simpler, I’m here to recommend some pantry, fridge, and freezer essentials to keep on hand when it’s time to cook. 

Foods You Need to Meal Prep

Pantry Staples:

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Canned Meats (chicken, tuna, salmon)
  • Oils (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Flavored Oils)
  • Peanut/Almond Butter
  • Pistachios
  • Potatoes (regular, sweet, and baby)
  • Protein Powder
  • Protein & Nut Bars (KIND Snacks and EPIC are two of my favorites!)
  • Rice
  • Rice Cakes
  • Raw Fruit & Nuts Trail Mix (regular trail mix is great, too)
  • Seasonings & Spices: Pepper, Turmeric, Basil, Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper, Tarragon, and Red Pepper Flakes 

Refrigerator Staples:

  • Dressings
  • Dairy Free Milk (almond, coconut, soy, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Fresh Meat of choice for the week (turkey, chicken, lean beef)
  • Fresh Fish of choice (typically salmon or cod)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Hot Sauces
  • Pesto
  • Produce (Fresh Fruits & Vegetables)
  • Protein Pancakes
  • Salsas

Freezer Staples:

  • Gluten-Free Pizza Crust or Cauliflower Crust
  • Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
  • Raw Shrimp/Fish

Tips for a Successful Meal Prep

I suggest picking two days, twice a week to cook from home. As stated earlier, our time is precious, right? So, while you’re in the kitchen, double the amount you’re cooking, and use the extras for leftovers. Even better? Freeze some of the meals for a great grab-and-go option.

Plan to make meal prep recipes that use many of the same ingredients. That way you are not buying one-off ingredients that you will never use again. Some of my favorite ingredients to use are red pepper, zucchini, baby potatoes, chicken, and seasonings.

I will leave you with this tip, grocery shop “smarter.” Stock up on non-perishable items at Costco, Kroger, or Sam’s Club like nut butters, trail mix, flour, milk, cooking oils, and even some frozen meats/fish. You will be using lots of these items to meal prep, so why not save some money?

These are actionable ideas that will help you out with your “meal prep lifestyle.”

Tell Lively: which one are you going to start using now?

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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