These days, more and more people are getting into meal prep. The idea is to spend a few hours cooking during the weekend, for example, so you can enjoy healthy but affordable meals prepared for the week. It’s meant to help you eat smarter, spend less, and save time.
Now when you’re just getting into meal prep, it might feel like it’s all fun and games when you watch those “quick” meal prep tutorial videos. That’s until you’re actually in the kitchen, knee-deep in pinned recipes and too many ingredients, with the faint scent of something burning in the air.
Biting off more than you can chew is a common mistake for meal prep rookies—trust us, we’ve been there, too. It’s easy to get excited about fancy recipes, but it’s important to start with the basics.
Here are five Instagram accounts to follow if you’re a beginner looking for meal prep guides that are actually doable. Check out these accounts for easy, yummy recipes that make for Instagram-ready photos.
Lucy Mountain is a fitness and nutrition coach who’s all about the “No BS” life and that includes her regular meal prep. Her simple one-pot recipes are perfect for beginners.
If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to batch cook just one meal at a time like your lunch baon for the week. Try her ground turkey and veggies with naan recipe, which you can cook in the span of a K-drama episode. Feel free to find substitutes, like ground chicken instead of turkey, based on what you like, what’s available at the grocery, and what fits your budget.
Don’t be pressured to make everything from scratch; you can always experiment down the road. For now, try using things like frozen chopped veggies and ready-made seasoning like what Lucy does for her typical meals.
The great thing about meal prepping is that you have full control over what goes into your food. Take advantage of this and cook balanced meals to help you stay fuller for longer. Lucy’s typical plate is a portion of protein, a portion of carbs, two portions of veggies, and some sauce or dip. You can use this as a guide to build your own meals.
If you’re not the type to eat the same thing four to five times a week, try batch cooking ingredients instead of meals. For instance, self-care coach Jamie Amendell makes a batch of sweet potatoes and uses them for salads, protein bowls, and snacks throughout the week.
Here, she cooks the sweet potatoes with eggs and veggies in a skillet for breakfast. You can even eat it off the pan, which makes for fewer dishes to wash.
One thing you don’t often see in meal prep videos are the leftover ingredients like veggie scraps. Don’t let these go to waste—try making a frittata or an omelet with leftover veggies for a quick, delicious meal.
You can find more easy recipes on her feed and via the “Cooking” Highlights on her IG Stories.
Looking for easy vegan recipes? Sadia Badiei, the dietitian behind the Pick Up Limes online community, shares written and video recipes for plant-based eaters.
You can find beginner-friendly recipes for wraps, sandwiches, rice bowls, salads, and more on her IG feed, blog, and YouTube channel.
If you’re just starting to become curious with the vegan lifestyle, you can start with her high-protein bento box ideas.
Even if you’re not the type who would ever give up meat, her colorful, yummy-looking posts will make you want to give her recipes a try. They’re perfect for #MeatlessMondays or if you just want to up your daily veggie intake.
You can also find snack and dessert inspo on her feed and “Recipes” Highlights.
Another great thing about meal prep is that you can make food that you actually enjoy eating—no more sad lunches! For Filipino dishes and other cuisines that comfort both the belly and the soul, check out the feed of recipe developer Joey De Larrazabal-Blanco. The blogger’s recipes include Bistek Tagalog, Baked Dalagang Bukid, and Munggo topped with the week’s leftovers—all best eaten with rice, of course.
Joey doesn’t post a lot of meal prep in the stacked containers sense of the word, but you can get inspo from what she cooks for her family of four. If you’re just cooking for yourself, one recipe makes at least four meals, yes? Her recipes are also easy to double or triple as needed.
Joey’s feed will inspire you to cook with local ingredients and make magic using leftovers. Find out how you can make your own gourmet bottled daing, sampinit (local wild raspberry) jam, garlic leftover lechon, and more by checking out her IG Story Highlights.
A great way to start your meal prep is to check what you have in your fridge and pantry before looking for recipes and getting groceries. This is what blogger and photographer Tracy Benjamin does at the end of the week, so she knows what meal to prep during the weekend.
Have leftover rotisserie chicken? Turn it into chicken soup. Have leftover bread? Turn them into chips or croutons. Being creative with your leftovers means you can save money and avoid food waste.
Tracy isn’t the type to eat the same thing the whole week, and you can see how she uses her batch-cooked ingredients to make a variety of meals for the week.
Scrolling through Tracy’s feed, the advanced stuff might seem intimidating (she makes her own kombucha!), but keep in mind that she’s been meal prepping for years.
Remember that you don’t have to strictly follow every meal prep guide—get creative and find out what works for you. Use these Instagram accounts simply as inspo, cook at your own pace, and have fun while you’re at it.