Meal prepping on Sundays is a huge reason why I am able to continually eat healthy during the week. I started doing this a little over five years ago, and have since tweaked and mastered this process to help set me up for success each week.
I get theses questions a lot from friends and family – what should I meal prep on Sundays? What should I eat in a week? How do you avoid eating out during the week? Well… I have a few standard things I try to make on Sundays to have on hand throughout the week. I also meal plan each week (and you can find several of my meal plans HERE). And lastly – when I plan ahead, there’s no reason to eat out!
Today I’m going to dive into how I personally meal prep on Sundays to shed a little light on this daunting task. I should preface this with that I don’t make all my meals on Sunday. You could certainly do that by using these tips, but it’s just not for me. I like a little more variety (I’m not that girl who can eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 5 days in a row). I’m a huge fan of leftovers though, and so typically I make a meal that will last 2-3 days worth. Then mid week, I make another meal!
Meal Plan and Consider Your Week Schedule
This is the first step of setting yourself up for success for meal prepping on Sundays. It takes a little bit of time, but in the long run you’ll be thankful you did this. I go into more details of how I plan out meals in THIS blog post. But essentially, I first consider what our week looks like. Do I have a commitment after school one day and would prefer to already have dinner made? Is Brandon working the night shift, so therefore I need to have dinner made in advance for him to pack? You get the idea.
Next, I write out meals for Monday – Friday, specifying breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If you want to see how I do this, click HERE to see my meal plans.
So keeping all of that in mind, my Sunday’s are always a little different depending on what we have going on for the week. But, there are some staples that I make or do each Sunday. Here’s what they are:
1. Make overnight oats and vegan breakfast cookies
I always make a big batch of overnight oats on Sunday’s. I only have four mason jars that I like to make oats in, so usually on Thursday night I whip up one more batch to make it through the week. Lately I have been obsessed with topping my oats with blueberries, walnuts, almond butter, and shredded coconut. Click HERE to get some more ideas of toppings and to read how I make my oats.
I also make a big batch of vegan breakfast cookies. This is a newer addition to my Sunday meal prep routine, and I’m in love with them! Bran doesn’t like overnight oats (not sure why not… I eat them 6 days a week lol), so I needed to find a solution to something I could make in advance for him to grab and go on the way to the hospital. THIS is the base for the cookies I’ve been making (my modifications… because you know I modify everything: no or little maple syrup, add cinnamon, if your peanut butter is cold – then microwave it a bit to help it mix well, no salt, don’t grease the baking sheet- just use parchment paper). I’ve also been mixing in shredded coconut or raisins (I would do chocolate… but Bran isn’t a chocolate fan). These cookies are great for breakfast, but also as an afternoon snack!
2. Make a big batch of lunch for 2-3 days
Next I always make a big batch of lunch to get me through Tuesday or Wednesday. Usually I make some sort of salad with roasted or chopped veggies and lentils or beans. For this week, I made a warm lentil salad with roasted butternut squash (the exact recipe is from my fav vegan cookbook). Delish! Go ahead and pre-portion the lunches into containers to make packing lunch a breeze the next few days.
3. Slice Veggies for Hummus
This is sometimes hard for me to make myself do…. I always tell myself that I’ll just cut the veggies throughout the week to pack. And you know what? That’s a lie! If I don’t slice veggies on Sunday, the chances of me slicing them throughout the week is slim. So, I slice bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and celery on Sunday. I store them in a large glass container, and then easily can grab them throughout the week as I pack my lunch. I like to have these veggie slices with hummus as an afternoon snack at school or as part of my lunch.
4. All-Purpose Dressing
Since I usually am having an entree salad for lunch and a side salad at dinner, I like to make a batch of all-purpose dressing to use throughout the week. I store this in a mason jar in the fridge, and pretty much use it on every salad recipe for the week. I need to sit down and write out some recipes for the varying all-purpose dressings I make, but here is the general guidelines in the meantime:
- extra virgin olive oil
- some sort of acid: lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar
- herbs (fresh are best, but I usually use dry when I’m in a pinch): rosemary, parsley, oregano, dried Italian seasoning
- 1-2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
- minced garlic and/or shallot (when I’m in a hurry, I just use garlic powder)
- salt and pepper
- optional: splash of maple syrup. (I don’t personally like this, but sometimes, especially when I use lemon as my acid, I need to add a little maple syrup for Brandon)
5. Homemade Almond Butter
A newer addition to Sunday’s, but something I am quickly becoming obsessed with. I am loving making homemade almond butter. I like to use a recipe from my fav vegan cookbook, but THIS recipe is very similar. I don’t do this every week, just when I have raw almonds on hand (usually my mom grabs a big bag for me at Costco before she visits- shoutout to all moms with Costco memberships).
6. Busy week? Make a “catch-all” meal like a soup
Remember when I told you to think about your week schedule before you start to meal plan? If your week is super busy, and you’re just not sure if you will be able to make lunches mid week or have dinner made one night, go ahead and make a big batch of soup on Sunday. I call this my “catch-all” meal. So if I end up not having time to make dinner on Tuesday, or don’t have time to make lunches on Wednesday night – we’ll just eat the soup instead! Somehow, we always end up eating the soup throughout the week and it never goes to waste. But, if you ever do have soup leftover, you can easily freeze it and thaw it out another time when you don’t feel like cooking! I love freezing my leftovers – it’s saved me so many times (especially when we come back after traveling on weekends and I’m too tired to cook).
I like to make a big batch of chili as my “catch-all” since it is so hearty for this time of year. I’ve tried several vegan chili recipes, and THIS is by far my favorite! I love to top it with avocado!
7. Make Dinner for Sunday AND Monday
Maybe this tip is a little obvious, but it’s key for me, so I’m including it anyway. On Sunday, I like to make dinner for both Sunday and Monday night. I’m the queen of leftovers. Mainly because this means I won’t have to cook AT ALL Monday night since I did all the prepping on Sunday. It’s honestly the best feeling to have the “night off” when dinner is already made, lunches are already packed, and you barely have to lift a finger. So yes this tip is obvious, but it keeps me sane on Mondays, so it’s an important one!
My main message here: put in a little effort on Sunday, it makes the rest of the week a bit smoother and less chaotic. I’m a firm believer that with a little planning, you can be successful at eating healthy throughout the week.
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I am not a physician or Registered Dietician. Some blog posts discuss healthy eating and exercise, and the purpose is to share my personal journey and experience with diet and fitness. As always, consult a physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.