Exactly What I Meal Prep for High-Protein Meals All Week

There’s no denying—the food we put into our bodies is one of the most powerful ways we can support our energy levels and overall health. Which is why 2024 feels like the “year of protein”—there’s never been such an emphasis on this macronutrient that plays a crucial role in so many aspects of our health. Protein is essential for building muscle, balancing hormones, and reaching peak vitality.

When it comes to balancing a busy schedule with healthy eating, the struggle is real. But whether you’re juggling career, personal pursuits, family, or all of the above—finding simple ways to nourish our bodies is essential for showing up as our best selves. I’ve shared before exactly how to meal prep for a week of healthy eating, but for those specifically looking to up their protein intake? High-protein meal prep is a game-changer. Read on for a few ways that I’ve been getting in my grams of protein by prepping on the weekend so I’m able to stay on track during even the busiest weeks.

Spring Rice Salad with Fresh Herbs Eggs and Avocado - Vegetarian Protein Packed Salad_women and testosterone

Why Focus on High-Protein Meals?

Protein is a powerhouse nutrient that keeps you feeling full longer, supports muscle health, and helps regulate various bodily functions. For women at every age, it’s particularly important to get adequate protein to manage weight and prevent muscle loss. By meal prepping high-protein meals you can quickly throw together throughout the week, you’ll be that much more likely to reach for something really nourishing—instead of that handful of goldfish.

high-protein meal prep ingredients

Your High-Protein Meal Prep Cheat Sheet

1. Take a “Building Block” Approach

Every weekend, I make handful of simple “building block” recipes that I can use as a jumping off point for countless nourishing meals during the week. Roasted veggies can top a salad or fill a sandwich. A pot of quinoa forms the base of a grain bowl, or can become a cozy breakfast porridge. And most importantly for today’s article, make a large batch of one or two types of protein that can appear in different meals throughout the week. These base recipes are infinitely versatile, and part of the fun is getting creative and figuring out different ways to use them. 

2. Plan Your Protein Sources

Start by listing protein-rich foods that you (and your family, if you’re feeding others!) enjoy eating in various ways. Examples: chicken that can go on a sandwich and in a salad. Tofu that can be tossed into a stir fry or baked with veggies. Beans that can fill a taco or add heft to a salad. Once you’ve locked on a couple protein sources for the week, purchase enough for multiple meals, then prepare all at once to save time later.

3. Use that Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

This is the beauty of set-it-and-forget-it! Toss your protein picks into a slow cooker or an Instant Pot with your favorite spices and a splash of broth. The end result is perfectly cooked, pull-apart tender goodness that can be tossed into just about anything from quick salads to cozy soups throughout the week.

high-protein meal prep for breakfast-protein oatmeal

4. Plan a Protein-Packed Breakfast

Experts are increasingly learning the importance of sufficient protein at breakfast. To get the most bang for your nutrition buck, aim to consume around 30 grams of high-quality protein. This amount provides essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth, supports hormone regulation, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

I like to hard boil some eggs to slice up on grain-free toast, or make a batch of these power greens breakfast bites. You can also pre-measure the ingredients for a protein-packed smoothie into your blender and pop it into the fridge. Just add the almond milk (or other liquid) the next morning and blend it up!

5. Don’t Forget Power Snacks

Snacks are often the place where our healthy eating goals fall off the rails. When I prepare high-protein snacks at the start of the week, I’m that much more likely to stay energized and avoid “random” snacking when I’m not actually hungry. My go-to lately is a 1/2 cup of my probiotic yogurt topped with raspberries (for a protein-fiber combo!) I also love to meal prep a batch of chia pudding, and these raspberry cocoa energy balls taste like dessert but are full of wholesome ingredients.

high-protein meal prep ingredients

6. Batch cook legumes

Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are excellent plant-based protein sources and can be cooked in large quantities. Cook a big batch at the beginning of the week; these can serve as a base for so many delicious dishes, from salads to stews. I’ll often rinse and drain a can of white beans and add it to a kale salad with pumpkin seeds, avocado, and my shallot vinaigrette. The kale is sturdy enough to hold up for a few days in the fridge without getting wilty—it actually gets better with time.

7. Build a protein bowl

One of my favorite workday lunches is a protein bowl full of veggies and protein—which is so easy when I’ve meal prepped at the beginning of the week. I’ll grab my salad greens, top with my pre-cooked protein, then add delicious toppings to amp up the flavor: leftover roasted veggies, nuts, seeds, goat cheese, and some type of dressing that I’ve pre-made (usually my Sunday Night vinaigrette.) Each bowl is full of flavor and never gets old, since they’re so customizable.

high-protein meal prep ingredients

8. Stock up on high-protein staples

There are a few high-protein staples I always keep on hand so I can literally just grab something when I have no time. Although these don’t require “prep,” they’re great to keep on your weekend grocery list to stock your snack drawer!

  1. Epic Maple-Glazed Salmon Bites
  2. Unbun Everything Bagels
  3. Banza Pasta
  4. Chomps Snack Sticks
  5. Good Culture Cottage Cheese
meal prep storage containers

Imagine starting your week with a fridge packed full of the makings for delicious meals that will keep you energized. There’s truly no better feeling! Yes, it’s about saving time, but it’s also about filling your life with meals that are joyful to eat and make you feel great. With a little planning on the front end, you can eat a healthy, protein-rich diet throughout the week no matter how busy life gets.

For me, the keys to successful meal prep are variety and lots of flavor — keep things interesting by experimenting with different proteins, spices, and cooking methods each week so you’re always excited about those healthy meals in the fridge. Happy prepping!

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