Meal Prepping Basics & Recipes

By Coach Alexa Boyce

Eating a good diet won’t make you a great athlete but eating a poor diet can prevent you from becoming one.

Each of us has BIG goals. Maybe it is to run your first marathon, train for a triathlon, run ultra-distances, or compete in obstacle course races. Or, maybe you want to go faster, or hit the podium. Regardless of your goal, if you are moving your body regularly, you need to match your nutritional needs to your level of training.

Why Meal Prep?

Your body is the engine, and your food is the fuel it needs to operate optimally. But, striking a balance between home life, work, and training can be a challenge. Don’t let your nutrition fall to the wayside because you don’t have access to quick, nutrient dense foods. 

The easiest way to ensure you have healthy snacks and meals on hand is to do some food prep. This could mean cooking large batches of food and portioning them into individual portions for grab and go meals, or taking the time to portion out lean proteins and vegetables when you get home from the grocery store, so they will be faster to prepare when you need them. For example, I love to cut up zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and asparagus to store raw in the refrigerator, then sauté them in the morning with scrambled eggs.

Popular Meal Prep Approaches

  Meal Prep may include any one of the following approaches – each of which is guaranteed to save you time, and ensure you have healthy meals to eat on the go. 

  • Make-ahead meals: Full meals cooked in advance which can be refrigerated and reheated at mealtimes. This is particularly handy for dinnertime meals.
  • Batch cooking: Making large batches of a specific recipe, then splitting it into individual portions to be frozen and eaten over the next few months. These make for convenient warm lunch or dinner options.
  • Individually portioned meals: Preparing fresh meals and portioning them into individual grab-and-go portions to be refrigerated and eaten over the next few days. This is particularly handy for quick lunches.
  • Ready-to-cook ingredients: Prepping the ingredients required for specific meals ahead of time as a way to cut down on cooking time in the kitchen. This allows you to have fresh ingredients – without spending hours in the kitchen, which can be especially convenient for weeknight meals, or busy weekend schedules. 


Meal Prep Recipes

You likely have some of your favorite go-to meals. Any of those could be perfect for one of the above meal prep strategies. I’d like to offer a few more examples as well. 

Overnight Oats – 5 servings

This healthy meal prep breakfast is high in fiber, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and gluten free. 


  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 5 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 5 teaspoons ground flax seeds
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk or almond milk (save for the night before)


  1. Set up your 5 empty 8-ounce mason jars.
  2. Divide all the ingredients except for the milk between the 5 jars. Each jar will have: 1/2 cup oats, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, 1 teaspoon flax seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Screw on the lids securely and store in the fridge.
  3. Each night before bed, add half a cup of coconut milk or almond milk to your jar, and refrigerate.
  4. In the morning, give it a good stir, top with sliced fruit of your choice, and enjoy!
  5. If you would like to bulk up the protein for this recipe, you can top with Greek yogurt, or dairy free yogurt that is higher in protein – I like Siggi’s Plant Based Coconut blend.


Make Ahead Freezer Smoothie Bags

Options are pretty limitless when it comes to making a smoothie. I like to cram as many nutrients into mine as possible. Select one item (or more) from each list: protein, veggies, healthy fats, fruits. Place in a Ziploc baggie to freeze. When you are ready, grab a bag, add a handful of ice, and blend with water, juice, or milk.

Protein Options

  • Whey Protein (isolate, concentrate, or a combination of both)
  • Pea Protein Powder
  • Brown Rice Protein Power
  • Hemp Seed Protein Powder
  • Soy Protein Isolate

 Veggie Options

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Any other leafy green
  • Shredded Zucchini
  • Frozen Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Green foods powder

Healthy Fat Options

  • Avocado
  • Nut or seed butter – peanut, almond, pistachio, cashew, sunflower seed, etc.
  • Coconut oil
  • Ground flax seed
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp seeds

Fruit Options

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • Mangos
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple


Chocolate PB Banana Smoothie

  • 1-2 scoops Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 scoop of green food powder
  • 12-16 oz. of water and ice

 Pina Colada Smoothie

  • 1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • pineapple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 12-16oz water and ice

 Berry Blast

  • 1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries combined
  • 1-tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 scoop green food powder
  • 12-16oz water and ice


Egg Muffins – 4 servings

If you think you don’t have time for eggs in the morning, think again! Pre-made egg muffins offer protein, vitamins and minerals, and a delicious way to start your day! 


  • 1/2 lb pre-cooked ham, diced (can sub bacon or sausage or a plant-based meat substitute)
  • 2 cups frozen spinach, thawed (or 4 cups fresh, then sautéed)
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Cooking spray – avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil
    *** You can swap out any of the vegetables or the meat to match your preferences.


  1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop ham, bell pepper and onion as noted.
  3. Crack eggs in a large bowl and whisk well. Add the meat, spinach, and chopped ingredients and salt and pepper and mix.
  4. Grease muffin tin with oil (make sure each section is covered well from top to bottom or the eggs will stick). Or you can use muffin tin liners.
  5. Spoon the egg mixture into the muffin tin, filling them almost full (they will puff up while cooking).
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving. These can be refrigerated and keep well for 4-5 days.


Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies – 4 servings


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts boneless skinless cut into 1/2 inch pieces. For plant based athletes, skip the chicken breast and add additional vegetables for roasting, such as cauliflower (which roasts beautifully!). You can also add beans to the mix once it’s roasted. 
  • 1 cup broccoli florets frozen or fresh
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1 cup grape or plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium zucchini chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 cups cooked rice
  • 4 meal prep containers



  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Place the chicken and veggies in the baking dish. Sprinkle all the spices and garlic evenly over the chicken and veggies. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are charred and chicken is tender.
  4. Place 1/2 or 1 cup of cooked rice of choice into 4 individual meal prep containers. Divide chicken and veggies evenly on top of the rice. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer up to 2 months.


Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – 4 servings


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-inch thick strips. Plant based athletes can sub out the chicken for a cup of beans (cooked separately or use canned), cauliflower (1 cut into florets), sweet potatoes (1-2 cut & cubed), or your favorite plant-based meat substitute (cooked as appropriate). 
  • 1 of each red, green and yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced into strips (3 whole total)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper



  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, or line the pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the chicken and veggies on the baking dish. Sprinkle all the spices and garlic evenly over the chicken and veggies. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  3. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until the veggies are charred and chicken is tender.
  4. Serve in tortilla shells, on top of lettuce for a salad, or chop up to use in omelets or scrambled eggs in the morning.


Black Bean Quinoa Salad – 6 servings


  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, diced
  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced
  • Add additional vegetables as you like – these can be roasted or grilled. 
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a bowl to make dressing.

3.  Combine cooled quinoa, black beans, and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour in dressing and toss to coat. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate or serve immediately.


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Meal Prepping Basics & Recipes
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