Sunday Food Prep For The Healthiest Week Ahead

Food Prep
Overnight Oats
Raw Vegetables
Rich Bowl
Roasting Vegetables
Soups and Kale Salads
Trail Mix

My weekly grocery trip leaves me with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, but if I haven’t prepped for a busy week I’ll often come home and open my fridge, stare at my beautiful heirloom carrots, perfect head of tuscan kale, and the jar of uncooked quinoa on my counter only to shrug and place a delivery order—for hunger trumps all else. Which is why the prep plan below has become my healthy line of defense. Even if you only have 60 minutes to dedicate to prep, choose at least few things on this list to try—you’ll be amazed at how quickly it can all be accomplished.

Make a pot of grains
I make a cup or two of quinoa to add to meals and salads throughout the week. You can make any grain, but I prefer quinoa because it’s great hot or cold (unlike brown rice), and is perfect for warm breakfasts, salad toppings, or as the base of veggie bowls.

Steam or roast a few vegetables
All are great to enjoy on their own, throw onto salads or pastas (e.g., roasted broccoli and red cabbage), or toss into baked goods or smoothies (steamed sweet potatoes and beets). Choose ones that have similar cook times so you can throw them into the oven or steamer all at once, and add chickpeas to your roasting sheet for an easy way to add protein to salads.

Throw a pot of soup on the stove
Soups make nourishing, simple meals year-round. My easy-to-make favorites are a detox carrot ginger or roasted red pepper tomato soup. Since I’m already preparing lots of greens, grains, and veggies, I will often freeze a few extra servings of soup and take them out later in the week when I'm running low on food and/or time.

Prep some kale
While the veggies and grains are cooking, I de-stem my kale, thinly slice it and massage it with a bit of apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt. It’s a blank canvas that you can top with your cooked and raw veggies as well as different dressings throughout the week.

Chop up tons of veggies to snack on
I bring carrots, peppers, and cucumber spears with hummus to work daily. Cut up enough for a couple of days so you don’t need to do it every night.

Make a batch of chia pudding or overnight oats
For my overnight oats, I’ll prep the base of these raspberry chia overnight oats for quick breakfasts and snacks—I just scoop it into mini mason jars and top with fresh fruit to bring to work. This will last a few days in the fridge.

Make a big batch of your favorite dressing
I love to make miso-ginger dressing to top on just about everything. If you have the time, a simple vinaigrette or pesto is also great to have on hand.

Make a jar of trail mix
Raw cashews, raw almonds, dried cherries, and coconut flakes make the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Knock this off your list for a couple of weeks by making a huge batch.

All this prep lets me sail easily through the week, saving time and energy on the busiest of days. On Wednesday or Thursday, I do a modified version of the above (usually just a couple of items to get me through until Friday evening). If I find myself with more time, I will prep 1-2 additional dishes (usually salad toppers), like baked falafel, lentil salad, or hummus. Continue to add onto this routine and modify as necessary, according to your mood and the season. Regardless of weekly road bumps, these steps have helped me make smart choices, save money, and keep healthy throughout the week.

—Lily Kunin

Lily Kunin is the voice behind the NYC-based food blog Clean Food Dirty CityFollow her blog on Instagram @cleanfooddirtycity.

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  • The Beauty Inbox

    I love this post - great ideas for office workers (moi) who frequently eat al desko...

  • Emma Hager

    Thank you so much, Lily! I'm 17 and thus not in charge of the contents of our fridge (next year at college, though!). While both of my parents cook very, very well and we do it healthily, sometimes it's hard to think of ways in which to take the random greens, seeds, etc in our house and try to make something last minute. I appreciate your ideas and like that you've broken them up into interchangeable parts that can be prepared ahead of time!

  • Sophia

    Another gem, ITG! This is so helpful. I make my lunch everyday before school and it's so much easier to have everything prepped.

  • lisa robb

    Looks and sounds delish
    L x

  • cleanfooddirtycity

    hi there! this post represents some of the Sunday prep I do to make putting meals together during the week easier, but it is not a full representation of what I eat during a week. I usually spend some time throughout the week preparing meals from what I have already prepped (ex. I used to the steamed sweet potato/broccoli, and miso ginger dressing to toss with buckwheat noodles and pan fried tofu). If you do not have the time to do this, you could cook more in advance like salmon/hard boiled eggs. I also start each morning with a protein smoothie/oatmeal, add lots of nuts/seeds/grains/beans to my salads, toss veggies with brown rice pasta, and have tofu/eggs/fish throughout the week. Hope that helps! xxLily

  • CCYY

    Thank you!

  • Emily Doyle

    Motivating and helpful - thanks ITG!

  • Charu

    Hi Lily, Could you please share the recipe for the miso-ginger dressing? Thank you!

  • unvanquished

    I'm not an especially picky eater but even if I prepped all of this ahead of time I wouldn't eat it. I'm much better with vanilla yogurt, granola, nuts and berries for breakfast. Mixed greens, feta, peppers, cucumber, red onion, tomato and some leftover chicken or salmon w/ balsamic vinagrette for lunch. And dinner is fish or chicken tossed in olive oil and fresh herbs and then roasted in the oven w/ steamed veggies. None of that takes much time and it tastes a hell of a lot better.

  • jules_nwobi

    Thanks Lily and ITG! I'm curious though, what is your recipe for the miso ginger dressing? I looked on your blog and couldn't find it
    Thanks :)

  • Letitia Elizabeth

    Oh this is a fantastic post. I tried Blue Apron which i want to review soon to, because I find even when I do wonderfully advised habits like above, I get lazy yet again to the point where I can't even heat up things I made. Knowing a meal plan and having the exact ingredients is what works for my NYC dna so far.

  • Yying

    I saw your blog and have been trying our meal prep for a week as well.

  • Valerie Sarron

    Great tips! I love food prepping, but it takes hard work! It does save time and money though! Here's my guide for weekly food prepping, plus a meal plan:

  • Bwebwe

    This post is everything. Thank yew