No Recipes Required! Basic Meal Prep Formulas for Easy Weekday Meals

by Christina Meyer-Jax, Tastemaker in Residence See Christina's Fox appearance and video for No Recipes Required! Photography by Kristine Leuze

“What if” cooking amazingly "better for you meals" was easier, tastier, and cheaper than another night of take out? “What if” all you needed to create kitchen magic was a well-tuned food formula you can customize to almost any cuisine and family taste preference?  Well no more “what-if’s”, it’s time to join the meal prepping party! The time you put in has a serious ROI for your health, food budget, and weekday schedule. Check out the basic meal prep formulas where no recipes are required and healthy eating is easy!

The best ingredients for lunch and dinner meal prep are simple, packable, storable, and customizable. Here are the basics for prepping your meals:

  • Pick a healthy starch: Brown rice, sweet potatoes, roasted root veggies, quinoa, bulgur.
  • Select vegetables: Asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, yellow squash, Brussels sprouts, string beans, tomatoes, carrots, pepper, and eggplant can easily be roasted or sautéed (fresh, frozen, or canned all can work)
  • Choose a protein: Beans, cottage cheese, cooked eggs, chickpeas, tempeh, seitan, tofu, fish, chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and shrimp are a good place to start; choose accordingly based on your dietary needs.
  • Condiments to Customize: Choose different spice and herb blends (I like Minnesota Nice Spice), sauces, marinades, dressings, fermented veggies, nuts, seeds, avocados

As far as serving size, adjust quantities to whatever suits you and your household eating needs. The beauty of the formulas is that you don't need to follow exact measurements; just be sure you have enough to last you for the next 3-5 days. 

What can you make with these customizable ingredients? Buddha Bowls, Frittatas, Mason Jar Salads, One Pan Veggie Bake, Stir Fry, Snack packs

Breakfast Anyone?

Meal prep is not just for lunch and dinner! Mom often told us it’s the most important meal of the day and for good reason.  This is the opportunity to start off with the nutrients we need to power through our daily adventures.  The smoothie pack formula allows customizable blends and is easy for kids to make their own healthy breakfast in the morning.

Smoothie Packs

Fruit + greens, frozen ahead of time (at least the night before)
1 1/2 cups your favorite (frozen or fresh) fruit
2 cups greens of choice (spinach, kale, etc)
Dry ingredients: chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut, flaxseeds, unsweetened cocoa, protein powder - whatever you'd like!

  1. Add to the blender: 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid of choice (milk, almond milk, coconut water, juice, unsweetened yogurt, plain kefir, or water) along with your fruit+greens pack + dry ingredients. Blend it up! Or you can make it a smoothie bowl and sprinkle dry ingredients on top instead of blending them in.
  2. My favorite frozen fruits to add are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, peaches, pineapple and mango.
  3. I really mix it all together - any kind of fruit and green go together! 

Another idea? Take your smoothie packs and add them to this basic chia pudding recipe below:

Basic Chia Pudding
For the chia pudding:

3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
¼ cup gluten free steel cut oats (optional if want extra thickness)
1-3 Tbsp of pure maple syrup, to taste
Suggested toppings
Fresh or frozen fruit
Coconut flakes
Pure maple syrup
Nuts and seeds
Banana Puree


  1. Whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup together in a large bowl (or use large mason jar and shake). Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then whisk again (this just helps prevent clumping).
  2. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours, or overnight. It helps to stir the mixture every so often during this time, but don't worry if you can't.
  3. Stir well (or shake mason jar) before serving. Portion into bowl(s) and add your desired toppings. Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.