healthy meal prep for a week

You guys. I am so in love with my new niece. She’s so snuggly and sweet.

Snuggling with Everly

She’s absolutely perfect, and I can’t believe we got lucky enough to have this blitz in Tucson so we can enjoy all of this amazing family time before we move onto the next adventure. The girls have loved seeing their new cousin (Liv loves holding her, and P keeps a small distance and says, “Baby. Baby.”), and I definitely look forward to the day when we’re back here, and they’re all playing together!

Helping Out with a New Baby

I’ve spent some memorable time smelling her sweet baby smell and letting her snooze on my chest when I come to visit, and I also try to help out in any way I can. I don’t like to show up empty-handed to any family with a new baby, let alone my brother and my SIL. When I thought about the things that were the most helpful to us when Liv and P were newborns, a few things came to mind:

-Naps and/or showers (usually courtesy of the madre or nana. I’d feed P or Liv and they’d say, “Go nap or shower.” And I would. And it was THE BEST.)

-Help with anything around the house or with the dogs. The poor dogs were often neglected, so my mom or MIL would leash them up for a walk around the neighborhood. 

-FOOD. Takeout was awesome, but homemade was even better.

I remember eating a lot of sugar, and feeling so happy when my friend Whitney brought soup over. It had protein and veggies, warmed my soul, and I could heat it in a mug and eat with one hand. Done and done.

To set Kyle and Meg up with some healthy eats to enjoy this week, I thought it would be fun to make some staples to have in the fridge: Paleo bread, overnight oats, salad beasts, lactation cookies, and hearty soup.

Meal prep for a week of clean and protein-packed eats. See how much you can make in an hour! All the steps are at

Madre and I also ordered a Sunbasket because they’ve been wanting to try it, and it makes healthy delicious dinners super easy.

Since I was already planning on meal prepping for the week, it was a breeze to double the recipes and pack some up for Kyle and Meg.

Meal prep for a week of clean and protein-packed eats. See how much you can make in an hour! All the steps are at

Here’s How I Did One Week of Meal Prep in One Hour.

 One week of healthy meal prep in one hour! See how to do it at


Overnight oats (oats, almond milk, peanut butter, cinnamon, maple syrup, berries, cacao nibs)

Paleo bread

Salads (chicken, quinoa, chopped veggies and kalamata olives)

Soup (chicken breasts, onion, chopped zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, broth, bone broth, fresh herbs)


1. Place 2 chicken breasts on the bottom of the Instant Pot. Season well with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can also make the soup in the slow cooker, but it will take longer (about 5 hours). No big deal if you’re doing this on a Sunday and have time for it to cook!

2. Start chopping veggies for the salads and soup. For everything I chopped, half was reserved for salads, half went into the instant pot.

3 celery ribs (soup only)

4 carrots (peel and dice)

1/2 cucumber (salads only)

3 bell peppers

3 zucchini

1 sweet onion (soup only)

3. Rinse and start boiling the quinoa. I did 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of chicken broth.

4. Finish the soup and get it going! Add the chopped veggies to the Instant Pot (on top of the seasoned chicken), 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, add 1 carton of chicken broth, and 8 oz of bone broth (or more chicken broth).

Soup ingredients in the instapot

Season well with salt and pepper, then top with 5 sprigs of thyme and 3 large sprigs of rosemary. Set on the “Soup” setting for 15 minutes. (I still can’t believe it cooks everything in 15 minutes of active cooking.)

fresh herbs for soup

5. Brown chicken for the salads. Dice two chicken breasts (into bite-sized pieces), and season well with salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, and smoked paprika. Cook in a little olive oil in a large pan until completely cooked. Remove from heat to cool.

chicken cooking on the stove

6. By now, the quinoa should be done cooking. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat to cool.


7. Preheat the oven and start the Paleo bread. It was my first time making a double batch, and it came out really well. Just keep an eye on it because ours got a little toasty on top.

8. While the Paleo bread is cooking, assemble the salads. In Mason jars, I added the chicken, then quinoa, then the chopped veggies, kalamata olives, and topped with romaine. You can use any greens you love, but put them on top so they don’t get soggy. Later when you’re ready to eat, just add dressing, cover, shake, and serve. 

mason jar salads

9. Next, make the overnight oats. In each jar, I added about 1/2 cup of the Trader Joe’s gf super oats, and about 1 cup of almond milk. I drizzled in a little maple syrup, cinnamon, and mixed well. I topped each jar with a blob of almond butter or peanut butter, some cacao nibs, and berries. Raspberries and blueberries tend to hold their shape the best.

overnight oats

10. When the Paleo bread and soup are cooled and ready to go, pack everything up to either share with friends, or store in the fridge. I transported the salads and overnight oats in jars, the Paleo bread in a sealed glass dish, and the lactation cookies I had made previously and frozen.

Healthy meal prep for a week

So tell me friends: how’s the meal prep going? What’s your favorite thing to make ahead for the week? I love breakfast cookies, baked breakfast cookies, and this egg casserole.

Friends with kiddos: what was your favorite meal post-baby?? Post-birth sushi was everything I’d been dreaming of.



More meal prep posts:

5 days of healthy daytime eats

An hour of clean eats

One week of healthy snacks

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  1. Kelsey Graf on February 15, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Love this! Whenever friends have babes, we do a meal train sign up online so you can see what other meals they’re getting around the time you head over so they aren’t eating enchiladas 5 times 😉

    Have you done a post on any food prepping you’ve done prior to having P or Liv? It would be awesome to hear what’s worked well from the parent perspective of prepping food before the beeb arrives!

    • Diana on February 15, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Do you just do this via google docs (or something similar) or is there some amazing purpose built tool?

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:39 am

      we’ve done meal train before too and LOVE it
      i didn’t do a ton of food prepping before liv and p were born. i always had good intentions, but was lucky to make a couple of soups to have in the freezer and macaroons for the nurses

  2. Reenie on February 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

    That’s sweet of you to do. I love salads in a jar ~ I’ve been making those again for lunch at work. I make them on Sunday ~ and they stay fresh all week. I don’t add the salad dressing at the bottom, I could never get the ratio right so I just leave a bottle of vinegarette at the office. So easy. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

      yes, they last so long!!
      and totally agree on adding the dressing right before eating

      • Anna Becker on March 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        Any idea on why salads in a jar last longer than in something else? Just curious. I like salad, but get tired of fixing it. If this works well I’ll have to try it. One prep, many salads!

  3. Christina @ on February 15, 2017 at 7:18 am

    That is so sweet of you (and so impressive in one hour)!! I definitely missed salads when I first had my baby! If I ever tried to make a salad, he seemed to wake up and need something before I could eat it….and eating it one handed did not go so well lol. They are lucky to have you nearby!

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

      same! soup was always easier 🙂
      thank you <3

  4. Julie on February 15, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Wow, your the best SIL ever!!! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

      <3 <3

  5. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on February 15, 2017 at 7:54 am

    This is better than any present you could give someone. When I had surgery last year, I prepped a bunch of food but after a few weeks it ran out. It would’ve been really nice if I had a friend do this. Sometimes the simple things make the best gifts.

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:37 am

      it seriously helps so much. after my hand surgery, i had a particularly hard time feeding everyone

  6. Robin Morehouse on February 15, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Love this! My tip is to bake the chicken – less hands on time. I just cover 2 glass Pyrex type pans with foil and add chicken (season as desired) and bake in pre-heated 325 oven for 25 minutes. Easy peasy and the chicken turns out great.

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:37 am

      YES. that’s such a great idea

  7. India on February 15, 2017 at 9:00 am

    I love this. My best friend just had a baby and these ideas are great. How do you like the almond flour from TJs? I haven’t seen that, but the paleo bread looks yummy (although some of the reviews on her site say it’s dry – I trust you!). THanks for sharing!

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:37 am

      it’s a little dry, but nothing a little butter and honey can’t take care of. i love it with eggs in the morning or topped with jelly
      it was my first time using the almond flour instead of the almond meal and i really liked it

  8. Kristin on February 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Thanks for sharing! That’s impressive! I’m doing a seminar tonight about meal planning/prepping and this would be a good example to show the group!

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:36 am

      so awesome!!

  9. Christine on February 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

    These are awesome and always some of my favorite posts! I would love to see a vegetarian version with dinner ideas because I feel like it’s always centered around chicken. It looks so easy (and cheap to use chicken)but I get stuck in a rut on how to do vegetarian versions. Usually it’s adding hardboiled eggs and black beans to salads but I need more soup ideas!

    • Fitnessista on February 15, 2017 at 10:26 am

      i would make the soup the same way, and then stir in garbanzo beans and maybe some cooked quinoa or brown rice to make it more filling! instead of sautéing chicken for the salads, do blackened tempeh instead. YUM

  10. Crystal on February 15, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    When I was younger I worked in a hospital kitchen, and we actually had really good, fresh cooked meals for patients. I loved delivering trays to the OB unit, because it was often the first food new moms would get post birth, and they would be SO happy to see me lol. I still remember the mom who literally handed her baby over to someone and was like, “I’ll take that pizza now, thank you very much!”

    • Fitnessista on February 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

      haha i love that!

  11. Jayne C. on February 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Ah! SO helpful. You are a rock star Gina!

  12. Lesley on February 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Gina, I would love to email you about reflux but I only see an email address for sponsors in your about section. I’m probably missing it right in front of my eyes. Do you have an email address you share?? Thanks so much!

  13. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on February 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    It was meant to be that you ended up in town to be there to care for your new niece. And your meal prepping is on point! Our friends do a Google spreadsheet to provide dinners every night for the first two weeks when a new baby is born in the group, which everyone seems to appreciate. 🙂 Have a great afternoon, Gina!

  14. Juliana on February 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Are things that you make on Sunday really still fresh tasting on Friday?? For me it always ends up being blah by the end of the week, no matter what it is! Tips?

    • Fitnessista on February 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

      i prefer 3 days of prep. i think everything is more fresh that way. technically it lasts 5 days, but i like to make everything to eat within 3 days, or things i can freeze

  15. Sam @ Hygge Wellness on February 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    That was so sweet of you to cook them all that delish food! I’m sure they really appreciated it. Thanks for sharing how you do it all in under 1 hour. It usually takes me so long!! But it’s worth it : )

    • Fitnessista on February 17, 2017 at 10:53 am

      totally worth it!

  16. Andrea on February 16, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Such great ideas! Love this!

  17. Katie @ Live Half Full on February 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I did a HUGE stock up post-baby and shared about it here:

    I have a girlfriend due next month and I’m planning on making her freezer steel cut oats, lactation cookies and one freezer dinner!

    Recently I’ve been trying to prep a breakfast, some roasted veggies and then make a meal on Sunday that’s large enough to have some leftovers. My next thing is going to be adding some toddler meal prep, I feel like I’ve been slacking so this week I chose three things to keep on hand for my son.

  18. Ashley s on February 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    So cute! You are the best sister-in-law You don’t find any issues with overnight oats that sit with milk more than one night? What would you say is the limit? Sometimes I prep them for the week, but then don’t add no milk until the night before. Of course I run the risk of forgetting the night before, which happens sometimes

    • Fitnessista on February 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

      i find that 3 days is perfect

  19. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby on February 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Love this! I tend to go overboard and meal prep for like 3 hours, while I feel like I’m a rockstar when I’m done I also feel like I need a drink and a nap! ha ha

    • Fitnessista on February 17, 2017 at 10:45 am

      hahah seriously!

  20. Ashley Morris on March 2, 2017 at 4:13 am

    I love this post – I’m always looking for easy, all-in-one-place meal planning ideas. Thank you for sharing!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      thank you so much for reading!

  21. Lindsay @ Hot Mess, Cool Day on March 7, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I was so happy for a salami and provolone sandwich with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano! Yum!

  22. Akhil on April 11, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Thank for this amazing Recipe Fitnessista! Your blogs are awesome and the recipes and instructions are truly helpful in losing weight

  23. Nina on April 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Oh my god, you just made me sooo hugry! But thanks for this, will try and copy it as soon as we get back home.

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