Written by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD top top October 8, 2021 — medically reviewed through Alissa Palladino, MS, RDN, LD, CPT, Nutrition, an individual Training

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You are watching: Does meal prepping help you lose weight

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s valuable to have the right foodstuffs on hand come fuel your body and administer you v the nutrients you should feel your best.

Meal prepping have the right to be a useful tool for anyone, regardless of whether you want to lose, gain, or keep weight.

Planning and preparing meals and also snacks ahead of time have the right to save girlfriend time, reduce stress approximately mealtime, help improve diet quality, and help you reach and maintain a healthy and balanced body load (1, 2).

This write-up breaks down meal prepping for load loss and also includes foods to prioritize, how to produce healthy and filling meals, sample recipes, and evidence-based, sustainable load loss tips.

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Meal to plan for weight loss
Though you may be surprised to hear this, friend don’t should follow any details diet for load loss.

Some dietary fads such as low carb and vegan diets have been shown to promote load loss, yet this doesn’t typical they’re important to shed weight in a healthy, sustainable way (3, 4, 5).

Meal prepping is a great tool due to the fact that instead of adhering to a fixed, border plan, you can enjoy a nutrient-dense diet that functions for you and your separation, personal, instance preferences. The planning item helps make healthy meals a fact on work you’re crunched for time.

You’re also much more likely to reap the meals and also snacks the you’re eating, and you have actually the freedom to select foods that you like due to the fact that no foodstuffs are completely “off-limits.”

With this in mind, some foods — like fruits and vegetables — are very nutritious and have been connected to load loss, while others — like donuts and also cookies — deserve to still it is in enjoyed however should be more restricted as component of a healthy and balanced diet.

A healthy, weight-loss-friendly diet deserve to simply it is in a well-rounded, nutrient-dense dietary pattern. The most important factor in weight loss is making sure you’re in a calorie deficit, which disclosure fat loss.

However, this walk not typical that you have to go top top a strict low calorie diet. Instead, shot cutting ago on details high calorie, nutrient-poor refined foods, selecting nutrient-dense, pour it until it is full foods an ext often, and including in more activity ~ above a everyday basis.

This will aid you create a calorie deficit if still feeling nourished and also fulfilled.

Even though an extremely low calorie diets the only provide 1,000 or 1,200 calories per day are likely to an outcome in quick weight loss, studies display that the weight shed on these programs is quickly gained back once a human returns to regular eating behavior (6, 7, 8, 9).

Plus, this diets are commonly unnecessarily restrictive, take it the enjoyment out of eating, and also they can lead to an unhealthy partnership with food.

So, what does a balanced, weight-loss-friendly dietary sample look like? Honestly, it looks just like any other well balanced diet. It should be nutritionally complete, affordable, appropriate, culturally acceptable, enjoyable, and sustainable.

One thing that many health experts agree ~ above is that a healthy and balanced diet should consist of mostly whole, minimally handle foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

In addition to fruits and also vegetables, nutrient-dense entirety foods like whole grains, beans, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, and seeds should comprise the majority of your diet — while tho leaving some room for treats.

Be wary of generic meal-prep-friendly enjoy the meal plans easily accessible online or handed the end by trainers and nutritionists through a collection calorie limit, specifically if they space rigid and deliver fewer 보다 1,500 calories per day.

It’s difficult to recognize how many calories a person needs on a day-to-day basis without info like your height, weight, age, sex, and activity level. Plus, it’s vital to remember the calorie calculations space just approximates (10).

If friend would prefer to have a basic idea of her calorie needs, work-related with a registered dietitian or one more qualified healthcare skilled who specializes in metabolic wellness to help determine an appropriate and also safe calorie range to assistance weight loss.

Even despite it may be helpful for some civilization to understand how countless calories they need on a day-to-day basis, the not necessary to counting calories, track foods, or monitor a an extremely low calorie diet for weight loss.

You can still monitor a diet the promotes load loss there is no counting calories. Pick the appropriate kinds of foods to fuel her body, create filling meals, eat in accordance through your feelings of hunger and also fullness, and prepare healthy and balanced meals and also snacks.


There is no one-size-fits-all diet for weight loss. A healthy diet, nevertheless of whether you’re trying to shed weight, should be sustainable, nourishing, nutritionally adequate, and most importantly, enjoyable.

When meal prepping for load loss, it’s crucial to know just how to arrangement meals that are filling and also nutrient-dense.

In general, aim to make most of her meals and also snacks balanced, definition they have to contain a resource of protein, fat, and also fiber.

Getting enough protein at every meal and also snack is essential, as protein is the most filling macronutrient and also helps keep you feeling satisfied between meals.

For example, eating an apple combine with herbal peanut butter, a resource of plant-based protein and also fat, will certainly be an ext satisfying than eating one apple top top its own.

Adding much more fat and protein to her meals and snacks adds an ext calories, however it also helps avoid you from being hungry and also fuels her body with crucial nutrients.

Plus, a greater protein diet helps maintain lean muscle mass during weight loss, i m sorry is essential for maintaining strength, as well as optimal power expenditure (11, 12, 13).

Adding sources of fiber and also healthy fats to meals can also aid ensure your meals space filling, tasty, and also contain a range of nutrients.

Here space a few meal and also snack upgrades the can aid you obtain an idea the what well-composed, weight-loss-friendly meals and snacks might look like.

Instead of…Try this…
plain overnight oats made with water and brown sugarovernight oats made v milk and topped through nut butter, chia seeds, and also fresh berries
a green salad with cherry tomatoes, croutons, and ranch dressinga green salad topped v sliced peppers, avocado, pumpkin seeds, canned salmon, feta cheese, and also a homemade vinaigrette
a fast-food egg sandwichegg muffins made v broccoli, mushrooms, and goat cheese offered with new fruit
a cheeseburger and french fries native the regional dinera homemade spinach chicken burger served with baked sweet potato fries
a chocolate-covered snack bara bento box made with sliced apples, herbal peanut butter, and a few pieces the dark chocolate

Although the a great idea come prepare numerous of your meals and also snacks native scratch, using some premade foods items such as turkey sticks, hummus, whole grain crackers, salad dressings, and an ext can help make her life much easier and save time as soon as meal prepping.


When prepping weight-loss-friendly meals and also snacks, it’s essential to style balanced meals the contain protein, fiber, and healthy fat to encourage satiety and provide the nutrients your human body needs.

As discussed above, any type of healthy diet should consist of mainly whole, nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, entirety grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and also healthy proteins and also fats.

When to plan meals for the mainly ahead, it’s valuable to develop a purchase list. Grocery store lists can aid you stay organized while at the store and also may even aid you make healthier options while shopping (14, 15).

Think of your list as the first step in your meal planning. You’ll want to choose up healthy foods items but also have a arrangement to use them for this reason they don’t go to waste. Frozen and canned fruits and also vegetables critical longer and are typically less expensive.

Here’s an example of a meal-prep and weight-loss-friendly shopping list:

Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, and also grapefruitsNon-starchy vegetables: spinach, peppers, onions, cauliflower, environment-friendly beans, mushrooms, zucchini, lettuceStarchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, potatoes, and also butternut squash Proteins: canned salmon and also tuna, frozen shrimp, chicken breast, skinny ground beef and turkey, and eggsBeans: chickpeas, black color beans, kidney beans, and also lentilsGrains: oats, brown rice, entirety grain pasta, and also quinoaFrozen foods: frozen mangoes, sprouted-grain bread, frozen cherries, frozen broccoli, and frozen spinachDairy and also non-dairy substitutes: milk, unsweetened nondairy milk, cheese, Greek yogurt, and plain yogurtNuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds, organic peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, and cashewsCondiments and pantry: salad dressing, salsa, marinara sauce, mustard, spices, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, garlic, etc.Oils: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.Other healthy fats: avocado, hummus, and tahiniBeverages: sparkling water, coffee, and teaSnack foods: dark cacao chips, turkey sticks, seed butter packets, whole grain or seed-based crackers, whole-food-based bars, popcorn, plantain and also bean chips, etc.

This is just a suggested shopping list. Your shopping list will adjust weekly relying on the meals and snacks you select to meal prep.


Focus on spend whole, nutrient-dense foods items like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, entirety grains, beans, and also fish. Fill her refrigerator and also cabinets with healthy, meal-prep-friendly foods and also make a arrangement to prepare them into healthy and balanced meals and snacks.

In addition to a well-organized shopping list, having actually some kitchen devices on hand renders meal prepping easier.

Having a range of long lasting containers in a variety of shapes and sizes is critical for enjoy the meal prepping.

Try keeping glass and stainless steel food storage containers on hand.

Shop because that glass meal-prep containers, which are easily accessible in a variety of sizes, online.

It’s quite to have actually containers in different sizes and also even try some through multiple compartments, both for snack boxes and also keeping foods items separate.

A well-designed having lunch bag or deliver tote is essential for meal preppers as well. A great choice because that a food deliver tote will certainly be insulated and have a location for ice cream packs to store your food cool.

Shop because that an insulated lunchbox or larger lunch dead online.

Consider how plenty of meals she planning ~ above prepping and also taking v you ~ above a daily or nightly basis. If it’s just one meal and a snack per day, a smaller lunch bag will certainly suffice. If you prepping many meals, take into consideration buying a larger tote.


Having a well-stocked kitchen can help you enjoy the meal prep, and a few key tools, such as storage containers and also lunch boxes, deserve to be very useful.

A healthy and balanced diet has tendency to be low in nutrient-poor, ultra-processed foodstuffs and included sugars. These incorporate foods and beverages like quick food, candy, sugary small goods, sweetened cereals, deep-fried foods, soda, and also other highly refined items.

Reducing intake of these foods is essential for everyone, no just people who desire to melted excess body weight. However, it’s specifically important to cut earlier on these foodstuffs if you’d favor to encourage fat loss.

This is since research mirrors that diets high in ultra-processed foods and included sugars are connected with weight gain and also obesity, and a number of chronic illness like diabetes and also heart an illness (16, 17, 18, 19, 20).

If her diet is at this time high in ultra-processed foods items and included sugar, cutting back can help you shed weight and also improve your overall health.

However, that’s not to say that you should fully avoid her favorite foods. A well-rounded, sustainable diet should constantly leave room for you to enjoy your favorite foodstuffs on occasion.

Just remember the the bulk of her diet should be consisted of of nutrient-dense whole foods prefer the ones noted above.


Even though a diet short in ultra-processed foods items and added sugars is ideal for all at once health, a well balanced diet have to leave room for you to reap your favourite foods.

If you’re brand-new to meal prep, you might want come start gradually by preparing just a couple of meals a week. As soon as that i do not care a habit, add a few more meals.

It’s also a smart selection to prep meals that you it seems to be ~ to have the most trouble through in terms of making healthy choices.

For example, if you typically resort to a fast-food lunch due to the fact that there are very few options near your worksite, start prepping having lunch at home. If you have actually a habit that grabbing a donut and also coffee on your means to work, start with prepping breakfast.

Once you’ve decided on how plenty of meals you’d prefer to prep, choose a day that you have actually time to prepare and set aside one hour or 2 — depending on the variety of meals you making.

Browse the net for meal-prep-friendly recipes and take screenshots or print out the recipes and also ingredient lists. Usage these recipes to develop an organized grocery list.

Go grocery shopping a job or 2 ahead of your meal prep day so you have whatever you require to produce healthy meals for the week ahead.

It may seem choose a lot at first, yet you’ll get better at meal prepping the more you execute it, and you’ll number out recipes and also strategies that job-related for you.

Simple weight-loss-friendly meal and also snack ideas

Now the you’ve determined to take on meal prepping to create healthy meals to support weight loss, you may want a few meal and also snack ideas to get you started.

These meals and snacks space all easily made in advance, and many rely on staples the are simple to store on hand, favor eggs, oats, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, and rice.

Here room a few weight loss and also meal-prep-friendly breakfast, lunch, dinner, and also snack recipes that space tasty and an easy to make.

Breakfast ideas

Lunch and also dinner ideas


Bento boxes. to fill a multi-compartment food container through your favourite snack foods items like fresh fruit, veggie sticks, hummus, seed butter, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and also nuts. Add a variety of foodstuffs for flavor, and also aim to incorporate protein, fiber, and a healthy and balanced fat.

There’s no doubt that meal prepping could assist promote load loss. However, enjoy the meal prepping is just a small component of a bigger puzzle that provides up healthy and balanced weight loss.

If you desire to shed weight, there are a number of factors come consider, consisting of getting enough sleep, suitable hydration, anxiety reduction, and engaging in enjoyable and consistent physical activity.

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Weight loss deserve to be difficult and bring away time, lots of self-love, and patience. It’s often valuable to construct a support mechanism that contains a registered dietitian, a therapist, and also trusted loved ones favor friends and also family to support you through your journey.


If you’re a enjoy the meal prep newbie, start slowly by prepping just a few meals a week. Stick through nutritious, yet straightforward recipes prefer the ones noted above to save time in the kitchen.