How to Plan and Prep Your Meals for the Week

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I’m always looking for ways to save time and money, so when my pal Kelly shared with me what she was doing, I knew I had to post it here at the blog!

She told me that she had a problem of purchasing food for her weekly menu only to have food purchased for a particular meal get eaten ahead of time. Not good. So she came up with the idea of meal planning and then placing all the meals in corresponding bins in her fridge.

She says she puts in all the ingredients she’ll need for the meal, “all the way down to the sour cream!”

Incidentally, she is also doing this for her smoothies:


I particularly heart that idea! Love the nice green spinach you’re throwing in there, Kelly! YUM!


She tells me she also preps lunches and snacks this way, and that it’s helping her keep her calorie count in check too. So you save money, save time, and you stick to your diet because it’s all prepped and ready to go? Sounds like a lot of WIN to me!


Want some plastic containers like these for your own fridge? Snapware has a great line of food storage products designed to fit together nicely in your fridge or freezer. I’m particularly partial to the Snapware Smart Store System of heavy duty modular storage containers that come in ten different sizes, all with locking lids (see above).

Thanks so much, Kelly, for allowing me to share what you’re doing! I’d love to know if anyone else does something similar? Or other ways to stay on task with your meal plan for the week? Please share!

Did you like this post? Make sure to check out these other “best of” posts here at The Coupon Project:

30 thoughts on “How to Plan and Prep Your Meals for the Week”

  1. Such an awesome idea! I do prep my husbands lunches and breakfasts for the week, but our fridge isn’t quite big enough to accommodate the bins like Kellie has. I love those same bins though for my linen closet for storing toiletries and such.

  2. I love it! With a teenage boy in our home, I find myself frequently leaving “Eat this and Mom will hurt you!” post-it notes on particular ingredients in our fridge. This is much more organized and less likely to get tampered with ;). Thanks, Angela & Kellie!

    • LOL, I have to leave post it notes, too with two teenage boys at home! DO NOT EAT…..THIS IS FOR DINNER. One of my sons loves bananas and seems to eat them 5 at a time, so I’m also frequently writing MOM’S on the outside of a banana if I plan on eating one.

  3. ^Lori, and less threatening? lol

    Great idea. What does she do if more than one recipe requires sour cream? Put it in the first one only?

  4. I, too, have a space challenged fridge. I just started doing this earlier this week (great minds think alike), but use zip lock bags. I pack up dinner ingredients and smoothies in individual bags. Making a smoothie is so quick and easy this way. I do all my prep on Saturday. It has really freed up my time during my busy week days/nights.

    • Love the meal prep ideas…Just a problem with storing fatty food like some recipes pasta, spag,casseroles, cheese, raw bacon etc. They can leach the BPA type plasticisers out of the zip bags
      And plasticisers are not good for your health

  5. This is such a fabulous idea!! I can’t wait to try it in our fridge! Thanks so much Angela and Kellie!!

  6. Great Idea even for me who is a senior citizen and is always tossing away foods that I forget about or even eating them instead of keeping them with what I wanted them for… Wow.. Will now have to go out and find some of those bins…

  7. This sounds like a great idea… I’ve wanted to get into the meal prepping, more than just buying and planning, but I can’t seem to make myself make everything ahead. The idea of cooking for hours a day once or twice a month is just awful to me hahaha. Thanks for the idea!

  8. This is another keeper! I knew there were good mommy-saavy ideas, kitchen tricks, and tips that I was missing out on! LOL I so love this blog! Thank you for sharing this superstupendous idea! I will be definitely be doing this particular stragety for my family. I was doing something similar to this, but with gallon size ziploc bags. This is waaaaayyyyy better than what I was doing! Once agian, thanks for sharing. Be blessed.

    • I love your enthusiasm and have been enjoying reading your comments this evening! Welcome aboard – glad to have you a part of the community here! 🙂

  9. I work full time as a nurse, my husband, a Navy vet is starting back to school next week. We have an 11 year old daughter and a very witty 6 year old son who keeps us on our toes . Dinner is our time to catch up on our days. These tips will be just the start I need. Any ideas on finding bins? I especislly like the organized smoothie .ingredients, genius!

  10. I have three school age kids and I will buy stuff for lunches for week or more and make week worth of sandwiches if meat and cheese put in indivual baggies and freeze than I put in large plastic bag small baggies of chips,fruit cups,make up carrots,celery in baggies in fridge than in morning assemble the lunches for my kids add capri sun roaring waters saves time for me morning are always hectic. I am making toasted cheese sandwiches tonight and in morning do thermos of tomato soup for kids to take to school I also made sponge cake in muffin pan was perfect for kids in their lunches said their friends were wanting to trade for their lunches.

  11. Awesome idea! But I wonder if you could do this in the freezer instead of the fridge? I plan meals for two weeks at a time (yay for biweekly paychecks…!) and sometimes, if I lose track of time on a certain day and keep putting things off til the end of the two weeks, some things go bad and I end up kicking myself for not using it and having to improvise, etc. Also, what about putting meat in the bins as well? Could you double-bag it or is it a strict no-no?

  12. I love this idea, but I think what I would like to do is get a couple of the containers to separate things like lunchmeats all into one, and breakfast ideas into one. Because they kids will take the lunchmeat they get out and put it into different spots of the refrigerator and then you don’t know what you got. By putting into one container the kids can grab the container out and then when I go to check it will be all in one spot.

  13. Do you add things that are normally kept at room temperature with the rest of the pre-packed lunches/meals and put them in the fridge? For example, if you had something like crackers or pretzels, could you put those in the fridge ahead of time, or would they go soggy or soft?

    • I pack lunches for the while family each night and I refrigerate the entire lunch box. I have never had any issues with chips,crackers or anything getting soggy. I am excited to try this idea because my husband is responsible for cooking dinner because he is home first, but I think a second fridge will have to be purchased first!

  14. What an awesome idea! I think I would premeasure everything also using plastic baggies or containers. Don’t have room for the bins but gallon storage bags would work in a basket.

  15. I’ve seen that same idea used in the pantry, so that if you are going to make hamburger helper, in the fridge box for Monday you might have hamburger and sour cream and in the pantry box for Monday you might have your box of hamburger helper or a box of noodles and a can of cream of mushroom.
    Also for those with space issues, I would think a gallon freezer bag with the stuff in it would work just as well.

  16. If you’re worried about plasticizers leaching into your foods, most shoe stores are extremely happy to get rid of their shoe boxes, AND they come in a variety of sizes, if your fridge is small, just use boxes for kids shoes

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