15 Best Healthy Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners on a Budget

Looking for a great collection of healthy Meal Prep recipes for beginners on a budget? Cook your lunch for the entire week with these meal prep recipes and lose weight! From chicken fajita, to zucchini noodles.  

Meal prepping is probably one of the best lifesavers, especially in today’s fast-paced society. If you’re someone who goes to work bright and early and goes home late at night, then you might not have enough time to cook yourself a meal or two. This is where meal prepping comes beneficial.

To give you a quick definition, meal prepping is dedicating a bit of time to batch-cook ingredients ahead of time and prepare meals for the week. This means that you just need to reheat these and you’re all good to go. You just need to find the perfect food containers!

What Are Some Healthy Meal Prep Ideas?

Eating healthy can require a bit of work. And if you’re someone who just doesn’t have enough time, then meal prepping is your answer. It also helps that meal prepping will help you eat healthier because it will prevent you from making impulsive food choices when you’re hungry.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything fancy when meal prepping—it can be as simple as chopping and mixing a bunch of vegetables or cooking some bits of chicken ahead of time.

I have here a list of easy meal prep ideas that you can cook and prepare in less than 30 minutes on your free day:

  • Smoothies. But make it healthy! Fruits are essential here.
  • Overnight oats. Add some chia seeds and healthy toppings such as fruits.
  • Fruit Parfait. Fruit, granola, and a little bit of yogurt.
  • You can never go wrong with this!
  • Veggie Sandwich. Really easy to make. You can add some lettuce, carrots, tomato, and anything you want!

Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time is one of the most effective ways to keep your meal budget in check. But there is one tiny struggle: thinking of the kind of meals to prepare per day for an entire week or whatever timeframe you chose for the meal prepping. So, in this article, I am going to fill you in on some of my favorite cheap meal prep ideas along with several meal ideas that I’ve come up with all on my own. 

Cheap Meal Prep Ideas for the Week

We don’t have enough hours in a day. This is most especially true for me. I have a lot going on for me every day in both my personal and professional life. Even just spending a few hours in the kitchen to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner takes a lot from my day. Not that I don’t love doing it. I really love to cook. But there was a time when I wished that there was a way to save time. The solution that I thought of was preparing my meals in advance. 

What I did was I would prep my meals for an entire week during Sundays. That said, I was able to take advantage of my entire day from Mondays thru Saturdays. It saved me a lot of time. I only had to think of meals that I could stock up in the fridge and wouldn’t go bad. Here are some of my cheap meal prep ideas for the week that you, too, can emulate. 

  • Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl

These things cost me under $2. I can make them in about 10 minutes. It’s yummy and relatively easy to make. 

  • Freezer Burritos

I really love portioned meals that I can just grab, reheat, and go. I love eating these for breakfast but these are also fine quick-to-make meals for dinner. 

  • Roasted Sausage and Vegetables

I do make these a lot. It’s an excellent breaker for the week if you’ve eaten all light meals the entire time. 

Healthy Cheap Meal Prep Ideas

Living a healthy life + living a busy life means you need to prep the right kind of meals and serve them in proportions. Before I give out some of my best healthy cheap meal prep ideas, I just want to give you some pointers. 

First, I highly recommend that you put your meals in a mason jar. It’s absolutely the best way to keep proportions in check. Plus, it makes it easy for you to microwave them if need be. 

Also, be conscious of how many meals you need for the week. Be careful not to prep too many meals. This will totally ruin your plan to eat healthily as well as your goal to budget your meals. 

  • Overnight Oats

This could be one of my simplest meal ideas but they just never get old. It’s the perfect easy-prep meal if you are vegetarian, or even if you aren’t.

  • Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

I make this almost every day. I could be eating them for breakfast today, for dinner tomorrow, and then as a snack the day after. I can’t help it. I really love yogurt. 

  • Spicy Chicken with Rice and Beans

This is great if you are looking to eat something a little heavy but still leaning on the healthy side. Now, if you aren’t comfortable with spicy food, you can go with regular chicken, but as for me, I like the spicy ones since it makes the meal more appetizing. 

Cheap Meal Prep Ideas for College Students

You can consider this a bonus. Maybe you’re still a college student maybe you have a sibling or kid who is studying college. Here are some of my cheap meal prep ideas for college students that might help. 

  • Low Carb Pizza Meal

College kids love pizza. Adults do too but when you’re in college, there is a higher propensity to order pizza. How is it low-carb? Well, you get to add all the ingredients, just without the carbs. 

  • Chicken Sausage Pasta Meal Prep

It’s gluten-free. This makes it budget-friendly and at the same time, a healthy food alternative for college kids. 

  • No-Bake Monster Granola Bars

Lots of people are fond of purchasing store-bought granola bars but why do that if you can make your own. It’s just as tasty. Beyond that, they’re also healthier so you get to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to feel guilty about it. 

  • Banana Berry Smoothie

I’m no longer in college but I, too, love banana berry smoothies, especially during days of workout. 

  • Sesame Noodle Bowls

One can’t call himself a college student if 80% of the calories he consumes don’t come from noodles. The good news is that this noodles bowl balances protein and veggies to keep you healthy. 

Lunchbox Meal Prep

What I love about the lunchbox meals is that it evens out all the nutrients that my body needs. There’s enough room for fruits, veggies, and meat. I used to bring lunchbox meals to my office every day when I was still working in a corporate setup. Here are some of the lunchbox meal prep ideas that I used to have on my notes:

  • Turkey Taco

This is an excellent meal for a big day. It gets you full much faster compared to eating any other meal. 

  • Steak Cobb Salad

They say that it’s hard to stay healthy when one works in a corporate setup. There is just too much temptation to join your coworkers eat lunch at a fast-food chain. But if you have a meal as tasty as this one, even your office friends might ask where you got your food. 

  • Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables

 I have this to admit. This is my favorite from this list. I love chicken dipped in Teriyaki sauce. 

  • Chicken Shawarma and Sweet Potatoes

Where are these lunchbox meals coming from anyway? It looks more like something you’d often find in a restaurant. 

  • Whole Wheat Chicken Wrap Bento Box

You’ll never get over how neat these chicken wraps are nestled into your bento box. It’s as if they are begging for you to eat them.

Below, we have some more cheap meal prep ideas for you. And these are the ones that are of original recipes. 

15. Weight Watcher’s Garlicky Shrimp Alfredo

It only has a few basic ingredients that can be found in every household and that is exactly why it’s so good.

Check it here

14. Chicken Fajita

Making food fajita style is a great way to add flavor while keeping calories low.

Check it here

13. Roasted Chicken & Veggies

If you love the flavor of roasted food, this recipe is a great way to stay on track.

Check it here

12. Thai Peanut Chicken Meal Prep Bowls

These tasty Thai Peanut Chicken Meal Prep Bowls include a layer of simple sesame noodles topped with quickly sautéed chicken, fresh and crunchy slaw, and some peanut sauce for dipping. A delicious, grab-and-go meal!

Check it here

11. Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

These make-ahead meal prep boxes will make you forget all about pasta. It’s light, healthy and low carb!

Check it here

What Should I Meal Prep To Lose Weight?

If you have a fitness goal or a certain weight goal, then meal prepping will give you tons of self-control and a lot of healthier choices! Here are the basic and most important meal prep ideas that are perfect for weight loss:

  • Banana and peanut butter combo. Either for a snack or breakfast.
  • Veggies always. They should make up 1/3 to 1/2 of your meal to provide high amounts of nutrients and fiber.
  • Whole grains only. This includes quinoa, farro, brown rice, and/or whole grain pasta.

A tip is to minimize the use of salt, sugar, and cooking oil on your meals. 

What Are The Best Meal Prep Foods?

The point of meal prepping is to help you make and eat meals more conveniently! Hence, the best meal prep foods are those that do not spoil easily and are easy to make. Of course, also add to this that you should be using healthy ingredients. Some of the best meal prep staples are eggs, overnight oats, and/or smoothies for breakfast. You can grill some meat or chicken for your lunch or even make some whole wheat pasta ahead of time. Baked sweet potatoes or some readily-chopped fruits are a perfect choice for snacks. And for dinner, why not mix some seafood in? You can always go for salmon and grilled shrimp.

Your choices are endless if you want to meal prep! You can eat anything as you want as long as you are aware of what is good for your body and what it needs.

10. Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

Make your weeknight tacos healthy with these Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps! They’re a breeze to throw together and are full of delicious flavors from ground turkey, delicious spices and all your favorite Mexican toppings.

Check it here

9. Meal Prep Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

These Meal Prep Chicken Burrito Bowls (southwest edition) are pretty easy to make! They’re gluten-free and only take about 30 minutes to put together. They’re great for lunch on the go or for a quick and easy dinner for busy weeknights!

Check it here

8. Jerk Chicken Meal Prep Bowls

Jerk Chicken Meal Prep Bowls are super flavorful for lunch or dinner throughout the week. Filled with jerk spiced chicken, black beans, pineapple salsa and yellow rice. Make once and have four delicious meals.

Check it here

7. Skinny Bang Bang Zucchini Noodles Meal Prep

These skinny bang bang zucchini noodles are an easy way to start your week. You can make multiple servings ahead of time, enough for a few meals during the week.

Check it here

6. Korean Beef Bowl

Tastes like Korean BBQ in meal prep form and you can have it ALL WEEK LONG! Simply prep for the week and you’ll be set. EASY!


Check it here

5. Weight Watchers Buffalo Chicken Dip

This Weight Watchers Buffalo Chicken Dip is full of protein and makes a great snack, lunch, or dinner! It’s perfect for Weight Watchers meal prep and can be eaten on top of a salad, with veggies as a dip, or by itself–hot or cold! Weight Watchers Freestyle buffalo chicken dip is an easy to freeze recipe.

Check it here

4. Healthy Shrimp Meal Prep

Let me show you how to meal prep shrimp for a high protein, low fat, and super quick meal prep option. This easy Honey Garlic Shrimp Meal Prep with Instant Pot Brown Rice and Lemon Snap Peas is a…

Check it here

3. Quinoa Caprese Mason Jar Salad

A little twist on the classic caprese salad, this Quinoa Caprese Mason Jar Salad is jacked up with some protein dense quinoa to be an ultimate make ahead, portable, vegetarian main course salad!

Check it here

2. Chicken & Hummus Plate Lunch Meal Prep

This Chicken & Hummus Plate Lunch Meal Prep is so simple yet incredibly filling and delicious! Get back to basics with fresh cut bell pepper, carrot, cucumbers, paired with a perfect portion of chicken breast, cheese slices, and grapes for a touch of sweetness. Simple portioning instructions included!

Check it here

1. Protein Snack Pack – Lunch Meal Prep

These Protein Snack Packs are filled with hard-boiled eggs, almonds, hummus, and crunchy veggies. An easy and delicious Lunch Meal Prep Solution perfect for any protein lover, these fantastic little protein snack packs are perfect for school lunches, post-workout snacks, or picnics in the park.

Check it here

15 Best Healthy Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners on a Budget

15 Best Healthy Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners on a Budget

Looking for a great collection of healthy Meal Prep recipes for beginners on a budget? Cook your lunch for the entire week with these meal prep recipes and lose weight! From chicken fajita, to zucchini noodles.


  • Garlicky Shrimp Alfredo
  • Chicken Fajita
  • Roasted Chicken & Veggies
  • Thai Peanut Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
  • Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs


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  2. Click on the link below the photo to get the full recipes and instructions.
  3. Try the best Healthy Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners and share your photo under my pin on Pinterest!

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