When It's Too Hot to Turn On the Oven, Here Are 30 Healthy Ideas For Meal-Prep Sunday
In the colder months, I love using my oven to meal prep roasted veggies, baked oatmeal, and roasted sweet potatoes. But there's no way I want to turn on my oven when it's hot out! There's plenty of healthy foods you can meal prep without having to use your oven. If you need a little inspiration for meal-prep Sunday (or any day of the week!), use these tips and hacks.
No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars
If you love Rice Krispies treats, these protein granola bars are very similar to that chewy crispy texture you love, but they're healthier and more satisfying with the addition of nuts, seeds, and protein powder. Whip up a batch and keep them in the fridge in a sealed container to grab when you need a snack — they'll keep for up to two weeks. They also freeze well, so these are great to make for Sunday meal prep. Have fun getting creative with the ingredients you add!
Make a bunch of hearty salads that have a whole grains and protein added. Grab a container for lunch or have them ready for dinner when you're too tired to cook.
Tofu takes some prep so make it easy to grab during the week by cooking up one or two blocks on Sunday on your stovetop. Add cooked tofu to salads, coked whole grains, Buddha bowls, or sautéed veggies.
Homemade Protein Nut Butter
All you need is a food processor to make your own creamy, fresh-tasting nut butter. Try this recipe for vanilla cashew almond butter.
If you buy greens in bunches like kale, Romaine, or collards, take 10 minutes to wash and prep them so they'll be ready to grab and use. Store them in a sealed container or try this trick with a plastic bag and paper towels.
DIY Smoothie Packs
Prep all the fruits and greens you use in your smoothies and freeze individual DIY smoothie packs. It not only makes a fast breakfast even faster, but it ensures you stick to a portion-perfect calorie amount.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes
Cook your sweet potatoes in a slow cooker so you don't have to heat up your house. They'll technically take longer than in an oven, but you don't have to sit around and wait for them, so it seems like they're done in minutes! Just throw them in the slow cooker right before hopping into bed and you'll be waking up to warm, sweet, and soft sweet potatoes. Use them for dinners or for this almond butter banana sweet potato breakfast.
Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Squash
Once you've slow-cooked this spaghetti squash, you can use it for various low-carb dishes in place of pasta.
DIY your own healthy pancake mix using whole wheat flour for added fiber. You can even add protein powder to your jar.
Whole Wheat Pancakes
If you have time, make a batch or two of these whole wheat banana protein pancakes — they freeze perfectly and can be warmed up in minutes. Add fresh fruit and start your morning in the most delicious, decadent way.
Make-Ahead Overnight Oats
How do you make the quickest breakfast even quicker? Prep your entire week of overnight oats all at once.
Pre-make a batch of protein balls to keep in your fridge for snacking or an after-dinner treat. Try these delicious recipes:
If you're a fan of steel cut oatmeal for keeping you full all morning long, this freezer hack is a huge time saver. Just make a big batch on the stove, and freeze smaller portions using a muffin tin. Pop the little oatmeal pucks into a freezer bag and a week of healthy, fiber-full breakfasts is ready.
Don't stop at oatmeal! You can cook up other grains such as quinoa, rice, millet, and barley and freeze those, too. You can even combine two or more grains, and it's a great, quick way to get some protein and fiber into your meal without having to spend 20 minutes cooking them up each time.
Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Steel cut oats are lower on the glycemic index than quick or rolled oats, which means they'll stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. They take over 40 minutes to cook though, so make a batch of this pumpkin pie overnight steel cut oatmeal and it'll be ready for you first thing in the morning. Store leftovers in separate glass containers so you can quickly warm them up all week.
Carrot Cake Steel-Cut Oatmeal
If you love pastries and scones for breakfast, this is a healthier option. Make a big batch of carrot cake oatmeal, and then warm up a bowl each morning, topped any way you like.
Make a batch of a healthy dessert like these no-bake vegan brownies, so you can grab one when sweet cravings strike.
Curried Coconut Lentils With Tofu and Quinoa
This coconut curry recipe comes together in under an hour and uses basic, whole-food ingredients, yet the flavor is so vibrant. These also freeze well!
Prep Fresh Snacks
If you like eating two-ingredient snacks like veggies and hummus, here's a brilliant, inexpensive little hack to keep two ingredients separated so you can avoid unappetizingly soggy snacks. This also works for yogurt and granola.
Make Protein Bars
If you love the ease of grabbing a protein bar, but you don't want to pay tons of money per bar and don't love some of the odd ingredients you find in them, make a big batch of your own. These chocolate almond protein bars are vegan, gluten-free but you can also make these vegan RXBARs.
Peel, slice, and freeze bananas in freezer-safe baggies so they're ready for smoothies in the morning. You can also throw them in your oatmeal.
Freeze Pureed Beans
These can be used to add a little extra protein and fiber to your spinach smoothies or oatmeal. Puree any type of cooked beans in a food processor and freeze in BPA-free freezer trays. Pop them out when you need them — one cube is 26 calories and offers 1.3 grams of fiber and 1.6 grams of protein, but won't affect the taste of the dish.
DIY Salad Bar
Here's a salad hack that will make those dinner salads happen. Wash and cut all your favorite veggies, then store them in closed mason jars. Each night, take out the six or so jars and you've got a DIY salad bar.
Bored with oatmeal? Cook up some quinoa! This recipe for slow-cooker apple pie quinoa makes a week's worth of breakfast all at once.
Freeze Your Greens
Tired of tossing greens week after week? This ice-cube hack is a must. Pick up some BPA-free ice cube trays or baby-food trays, and buy a variety of greens. You can puree them separately in a food processor or blender or puree them together, adding a little water to yield a smooth consistency. Pour the puree into the little wells, attach the lids, and freeze them. When you're ready to make your smoothie, just grab a few and throw them in your blender — it's a great time-saver. You can also freeze greens as is in baggies — just be sure to wash and reuse them.
High-Protein Overnight Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Did you know you can soak steel-cut oats overnight just like you can with rolled oats? Meal prep five in a row (or even seven if you want to do the entire week). Just add all the ingredients to the jar with the milk of your choice. It'll look really runny, but don't worry — the oats and chia seeds will soak it right up, and it'll look like oatmeal in the morning.
If you tend to overeat snacks like nuts, tortilla chips, pretzels, trail mix, or dried fruit, the calories can add up if you're not paying attention. Take a few minutes to make snack packs. These are way cheaper than buying snack packs at the store and you get to choose your favorite snacks! If you don't want to use disposable zip bags, try a silicone food bag.
Soup Freezer Bags
With this meal-prep freezer hack, you could be dipping bread into a warm bowl of soup in less than 30 minutes! Since finding a recipe and cutting up all those veggies is what takes the most time, make these soup freezer packs.
Cook a big batch of beans or lentils — it's cheaper than canned beans and the fresh flavor can't be beat. Here's how to cook beans in your slow cooker. Lentils will take much less time, about 10 minutes.