Meal planning in the new year is a great way to start the year with excellent nutrition. Prepare these meals and snacks to help save time and energy, all while eating healthy, nutritious, and filling snacks and meals.
Burritos are a great way to prep meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – and who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? Mix the protein choices with scrambled eggs, lean turkey, chicken sausages, bacon, and cheese for various burritos. Add in some sliced veggies of peppers and onions for another variety. Prepare a batch of these proteins, veggies, and shredded cheese to your family’s preference and wrap them in foil or saran wrap before storing them in freezer bags – this allows each burrito to be individually pulled and warmed up as needed.
Mason Jar Overnight Oats
Another excellent breakfast alternative or a dinner option is overnight oats. Prepare oats, yogurt, fruits, and nuts. The oats absorb the liquid overnight, providing a delicious and energizing morning meal.
For a classic maple and brown sugar oatmeal, mix ½ cup of rolled oats, ½ cup of milk of choice, 1 TBL chia seeds and 1 TBL maple syrup, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt together and leave overnight – adding a preference of nuts or fruit if desired. For a Berry Blast Overnight Oats, mix ½ cup oats, ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup of milk, ½ cup defrosted mixed berries, and 1 TBL honey with the option of fresh or frozen fruit or nuts and leave overnight. A third option is Peanut Butter Crunch Overnight Oats by mixing ½ cup oats, ½ cup milk, ½ mashed ripe banana, 1 TBL honey, and 1 TBL chopped peanuts and leaves overnight – adding nuts, sliced bananas, or more peanut butter at the top. Multiply each recipe for family recipes.
Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries, granola, and a drizzle of honey in jars for a delicious and nutritious snack or dessert. Having these prepared and ready to go allows for healthy snacking.
Sheet Pan Fajitas
Simplify dinner with sheet pan meals – prepare these ahead of time and freeze, or freeze for easy prepping to cook later. Fajita-style chicken or beef with bell peppers and onions can be made and stored in large patches – full of protein and veggies, providing filling and nutritional meals. Better yet – use these flavorful ingredients throughout the week for tacos and salads for leftovers, meaning several meals from one large preparation. Bulk the ingredients based on your family size and meat preference.
Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Skewers
Create colorful skewers with a variety of vegetables and marinated chicken. Grill them in batches, making reheating for lunches or dinners easy throughout the week. Change up the protein source and veggies as desired.
Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Protein and Vegetables
Vary the stir-fry with different types of rice and various proteins of tofu, chicken, or steak. Mix the vegetables with broccoli, carrots, snap peas, mini corn, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Portion it into containers for quick and wholesome lunches, or prep them in containers for ease of a quick dump and cook meal for dinner.
Turkey and Vegetable Chili
Prepare a hearty turkey and vegetable chili in the crockpot and later portion and freeze for easy reheating on busy nights. Serve with salad or cornbread for a complete meal.
Homemade Vegetable Soup
Another excellent meal prep is making a large batch of vegetable soup. Make it with various colorful vegetables, beans, and lean protein. Keep vegetables seasonally to keep the cost down, and provide a variety of veggie soup options. Freeze family-size and individual portions for quick and nourishing meals.
Caprese Chicken Salad
Assemble salads with grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil into individual containers for lunches. Pack the dressing separately to maintain freshness until mealtime.
Energy-Boosting Snack Packs
Create snack packs with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and dark chocolate in individual portions for a convenient and energizing snack option. Snack packs allow for healthy snacking on the go or at home.
Freezer Friendly Broccoli-Cheddar Bake
- Cooked chicken, shredded
- Steamed broccoli florets
- Cream of mushroom soup (or a homemade substitute)
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- Mix shredded chicken and steamed broccoli in a large bowl with cream of mushroom soup and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish, top with grated cheddar cheese, cover tightly, and freeze.
- When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly and golden.
Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
- Black beans, drained and rinsed
- Corn tortillas
- Enchilada sauce
- Diced bell peppers
- Diced onions
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Layer black beans, tortillas, enchilada sauce, diced vegetables, and cheese in a casserole dish.
- Repeat the layers and finish with a generous amount of cheese on top.
- Cover tightly with foil, label, and freeze.
- To cook, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 375 degrees F until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Freezer-Friendly Beef and Vegetable Lasagna
- Ground beef, cooked and seasoned
- Lasagna noodles, cooked
- Marinara sauce
- Ricotta cheese
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Chopped spinach or kale
1. Layer cooked lasagna noodles with seasoned beef, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and chopped greens.
2. Repeat the layers and finish with a final layer of noodles and cheese.
3. Cover tightly, freeze, thaw, and bake at 375 degrees F when ready to eat until the lasagna is hot and bubbly.
Freezer-Friendly Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Egg noodles, cooked
- Canned tuna, drained
- Frozen peas
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Mix cooked noodles, drained tuna, peas, cream of mushroom soup, and milk in a bowl.
- Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish, top with shredded cheddar cheese, cover tightly, and freeze.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 375 degrees F until hot and bubbly.
Freezer Friendly Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
- Ground turkey, cooked and seasoned
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn)
- Chicken broth
- Worcestershire sauce
- Layer seasoned ground turkey and mixed vegetables in a casserole dish.
- Combine mashed sweet potatoes with chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce, then spread over the turkey and vegetable layer.
- Cover tightly, freeze, and when ready to eat, thaw and bake at 400 degrees F until the top is golden and the filling is heated.