Busy weeknights are no match for these easy recipes.
Preparing your meals at home is a great way to stay on track to your health goals. That said, we understand that not everyone has the time or energy to make a home-cooked meal after a long, busy day! For this reason, finding meals that can be prepared ahead of time– when you do have some extra time to spare— will make sticking to your healthy eating plan much easier to do! The healthy make-ahead dinner recipes below will have you looking forward to dinner time!
Reasons to Make Your Meal Ahead of Time
Homemade meals are so much better for you than fast food, take-out, and frozen microwave dinners. These options might be easy, but they’re also typically loaded with saturated fat, sodium, calories, and more. Preparing your meals at home allows you to know exactly what you’re putting into your body, which is essential to losing weight and getting fit! You can avoid these unhealthy additives and fill your meals with nutrients that are conducive to your goals!
In addition to being better for you, having ready-to-eat meals in your refrigerator will make your life easier and less stressful! You won’t have to worry about figuring out what’s for dinner, because it’s already at home waiting for you! All you’ll have to do is heat it up, kick back, and dig in.
Preparing your meals at home will usually help you save some money, too. The price of fast food, take-out, and microwave dinners are on the rise these days. Regularly depending on any of them can put a serious dent in your budget. When you cook at home, you can buy ingredients in bulk and shop sales to get the most out of every dollar.
14 Healthy Make-Ahead Dinner Recipes
The following healthy dinners can all be made ahead of time and then reheated whenever you’re ready for them! Once you see how easy, nutritious, and delicious they are, you’ll never feel the need to go back to frozen dinners and fast food ever again!
1. Slow Cooker Everything Chicken
Versatile recipes are a must have in your make-ahead dinner arsenal. Having a protein cooked and ready to go is a huge time saver, and with this everything chicken, you can enjoy a number of different, quick and easy meals. Throw it on top of a salad, into a sandwich or wrap, inside of a quesadilla or taco, or add it to a soup or casserole!
Try it here: Slow Cooker Everything Chicken
2. One Pan Broccoli, Sweet Potato, and Chicken Dinner
This tasty and nutritious dinner is definitely an all-in-one recipe! Prepare it ahead of time, divide it up into single portion containers, and grab one out of the fridge when you get home!
Here’s the recipe: One Pan Broccoli, Sweet Potato, and Chicken Dinner
3. Protein Packed Black Bean and Lentil Soup
Soup of any kind is a great make-ahead meal, but this protein-packed black bean and lentil soup takes things up a notch. Not only is it loaded with protein and fiber, but it’s full of flavor and easy to reheat, too!
Try it here: Protein Packed Black Bean and Lentil Soup
4. Greek Chicken Kebabs
We love making these Greek chicken kebabs on a Sunday evening and then enjoying the leftovers for a few days afterwards. Whip up a batch of rice or quinoa to serve with them if you need a meal that’s a little more filling.
Here’s the recipe: Greek Chicken Kebabs
5. Skinny Chicken Taco Casserole
Casserole is another fantastic meal prep option! This particular recipe offers your favorite southwest ingredients and flavors, as well as plenty of protein. Cut yourself a slice, place it on a microwave safe dish, cover it, and heat on high for 30 to 60 seconds! So easy!
Try it here: Skinny Chicken Taco Casserole
6. Simple One Pan Lemon Salmon with Roasted Asparagus
This sheet pan meal takes less than 30 minutes to make, but is a great make-ahead option, too. Store each portion in a separate container in the fridge and reheat it when you need a delicious and nutritious dinner!
Here’s the recipe: Simple One Pan Lemon Salmon with Roasted Asparagus
7. Slow Cooker Chunky Beef and Potato Stew
Much like soup, stew is another wonderful meal-prep option. This hearty beef and potato stew makes an excellent dinner on cold evenings, or on days where you’re just extra hungry!
Try it here: Slow Cooker Chunky Beef and Potato Stew
8. Perfect Instant Pot Pulled Pork Shoulder
Tender pulled pork in less than 90 minutes? Yes, please! Serve this dinner on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy the delicious leftovers all week long! We love adding some sugar-free BBQ sauce and enjoying it on a whole wheat bun!
Here’s the recipe: Perfect Instant Pot Pulled Pork Shoulder
9. Amazing Black Beanadillas
Not only are these beanadillas vegetarian-friendly, but they’re also just so darn tasty! You can whip up several of them at one time and grab one out of the fridge whenever hunger strikes! We recommend allowing them to cool to room temperature, wrapping them in wax paper, and then storing them in an airtight Ziploc bag.
Try it here: Amazing Black Beanadillas
10. Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
Just because you’re preparing your meals at home, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite take-out recipes! This slow cooker orange chicken is bursting with yummy orange flavor and is a whole lot healthier than take-out. Plus, it tastes just as good the next night!
Here’s the recipe: Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
11. Cheesy Pizza Pasta Bake
Craving pizza? Put the phone down– there’s no need to order in! Our cheesy pizza pasta bake will provide your taste buds with everything they’re looking for and your body with all of the nutrients it needs! This recipe will have you looking forward to dinner time all week long!
Try it here: Cheesy Pizza Pasta Bake
12. Pineapple Honey Shrimp Taco Bowl
Brown rice (or quinoa), crushed pineapple, meaty shrimp, jalapeno, honey, and more, come together to create a seriously tasty dish. This flavorful recipe can transport your taste buds to the islands on even the busiest of weeknights.
Here’s the recipe: Pineapple Honey Shrimp Taco Bowl
13. Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade chicken noodle soup is so much better than canned soup, and this 30-minute instant pot recipe will prove it. Make a big batch at the beginning of the week and come home to a soothing, satisfying dinner all week long. Just add it to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and zap it for a minute or two!
Try it here: Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
14. Cold Sesame Shrimp Zoodles
This final recipe doesn’t even need to be reheated! Cook up the shrimp, prepare your veggies, mix up the dressing ahead of time, and toss it all together whenever you get home from work or school!
Here’s the recipe: Cold Sesame Shrimp Zoodles
Which of these delicious and healthy make-ahead dinner recipes are you going to try? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to share your thoughts after you make them!