meal prep recipe meal ideas

Make This Healthy Meal Prep Recipe For Variety Every Day

Following a meal prep recipe and spending time preparing food for your week can make your life so much easier. It can be hard to find a few hours to set aside for cooking, but if you can make the time it is sure to pay off. Below, we prepared a healthy chicken meal prep recipe that allows for a variety of different meals each day. Keep reading below to see the meal prep ideas. 

Meal prepping has many benefits. It can help you stay on track with a healthy diet, save you time so you don’t have to cook on workdays and save you money vs. eating out. This entire meal prep can be completed in about 3 hours, and it will save you money and time each week. 

Some common meal prep complaints are “I don’t want to eat the same thing every day” or “I don’t have the time to cook”. Below I am sharing some ideas and solutions to these hurdles that will make meal prepping better. Keep reading!

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Meal Prep Recipe Common Complaints

PROBLEM: “I get tired of eating the same thing every day.” SOLUTION: Change up your food’s flavors with a variety of seasonings and sauces, so you never get bored throughout the week. This chicken meal prep uses different seasonings on the same pan of chicken, so you can have different flavors on different days.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Meal prep with various seasonings and ingredients so you have a different meal every day. / Bridget Coolick

PROBLEM: “I don’t have 3-4 hours to cook every Sunday.” SOLUTION: Think of meal prepping like doing your laundry. Like the washer and dryer, the oven does most of the work for you. You just have to be there to prep it, put it in the oven and take it out. My suggestions below let the oven do all of the cooking for you, so you don’t have much “active” cooking time. This allows you to do other things while you are meal prepping. 

SOLUTION (cont.): And if Sunday doesn’t work for you, pick a day that does work. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. It can be whatever day you will have a few hours in the house. Spending a few hours cooking one day means more time with your family or doing other things you want to do.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Cook on a day that you will be home for a few hours and you’ll have lunch ready for the week. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Menu – Chicken Legs

  • Taco chicken leg with black beans, peppers and onions
  • Taco chicken leg with sweet potatoes and zucchini
  • Taco chicken leg with rice, peppers and onions
  • Italian chicken leg with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts 
  • Italian chicken leg with rice and zucchini 
best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Mix and match proteins, starches and vegetables for a variety of meals each day. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Ingredients

  • 4-5 Chicken Legs, bone-in, skin-on (you can use breasts or thighs – whatever you like)
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 cup wild rice (or your favorite rice or grain)
  • 2 cups broth, stock or water (1 ¾ cup for the rice, ¼ cup for the beans)
  • 2-3 bell peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 zucchini or squash
  • Olive oil
  • Taco seasoning
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
It’s helpful to gather ingredients together before you start cooking. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Steps – Helpful Equipment 

  • Oven
  • 2-3 sheet pans (these Nordic Ware pans are my favorite)
  • 1 sheet pan or broiler pan with a wire rack (this non-stick pan is perfect)
  • Cutting board
  • Rice cooker (here’s an inexpensive one), multicooker or InstantPot (or medium saucepan and lid) –
  • Small saucepan
  • Large mixing bowl (optional but helpful)
  • Parchment paper (optional but very helpful for clean-up)
  • Aluminum foil (optional but easier clean-up)
best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Sheet pans and parchment paper are helpful meal prep tools. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Steps – Cooking The Chicken

Start by prepping your chicken. Remove chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before it goes into the oven so it can get closer to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pat dry with paper towels and brush with a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over two pieces of chicken, pressing it down and rubbing it in (including under the skin where you can). Using the taco seasoning, repeat on the remaining two or three pieces of chicken. 

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Season the chicken with different spices, but cook it together to save time. / Bridget Coolick

Line a baking sheet or broiler pan using aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Place the chicken on the rack and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Turn down the oven (don’t open the door) to 350 degrees and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Check the internal temperature – it’s done when it reaches 185 degrees for chicken legs and thighs. For chicken breast, it is done at 165 degrees.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
For crispy skin, cook chicken on a broiler pan with a wire rack. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Steps – Cooking The Rice

While the chicken is cooking, prep your sides. Start by cooking the rice since that will take the longest. Measure one cup of your favorite rice (I used wild rice) and place it in a colander. Run it under cold water for about 5 minutes to rinse it. If you have an InstantPot or rice cooker, follow the instructions on the rice and cook in water or broth for about 60 minutes.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Rice cookers make meal prep easy because they do the work for you. / Bridget Coolick

You can also cook it in a pot on the stove by bringing the rice and broth to a boil, then cover and let simmer. Follow instructions on the package for the amount of liquid and timing. A general rule let simmer for 30-60 minutes depending on the type of rice. As for the liquid, use 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cup of liquid for every cup of rice.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Add broth to the rinsed rice, set the timer and it’s ready in 1 hour. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Steps – Cooking The Veggies

Start by prepping a sheet pan. Line it with parchment paper and set it aside. Start with the sweet potato – cut in ½-1 inch rounds and toss in a mixing bowl, coating with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Chop and season sweet potatoes before placing them on a baking sheet. / Bridget Coolick

Once the chicken is finished cooking, remove from it the oven and turn the oven back up to 400 degrees. Place the pan of sweet potatoes in the oven and cook for 35 minutes.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on a lined sheet pan and place in the oven. / Bridget Coolick

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, chop your zucchini to your liking, in ½-1 inch pieces. If you don’t like cutting fresh vegetables, you can save some work by buying already chopped vegetables at your grocery store. Rinse out the mixing bowl. Toss thickly chopped zucchini in the bowl, coating with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Chop and season the zucchini and other vegetables so they are ready to put in the oven. / Bridget Coolick

When the sweet potatoes are finished, remove them from the oven and add in the zucchini, and cook for 20 minutes. Rinse out the mixing bowl and repeat with the peppers/onion and Brussels sprouts. Cook each on a sheet pan in a single layer for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven to cool.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Cut, season and roast your favorite vegetables to add variety to your meal prep menu. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Steps – Cooking The Beans

Open the can of black beans and rinse them in a colander under cold water. Place them in a small pot or saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Season the beans with the taco seasoning and a small amount (2 tbsp) of the leftover veggie broth. Simmer on the stove over medium heat, covered for 10 minutes. Remove the beans from heat and let cool.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Seasoned black beans are so tasty and only take minutes to make. / Bridget Coolick

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Meal Prep Recipe Steps – Storage Containers

Depending on where you plan on eating the food, you can get meal prep containers and divide the food among the containers. I recommend glass containers if you are microwaving the food, but if you are eating at room temperature, plastic or aluminum containers are a good lightweight option. Simply divide each piece of chicken, along with a grain or starch with some of the veggies. Feel free to mix and match, below is a sample menu of meal prep ideas as a suggestion based on the foods we prepped.

best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Use containers to prepare portioned meals that are ready to grab and eat. / Bridget Coolick

Meal Prep Recipe Menu – Chicken Legs

  • Taco chicken leg with black beans, peppers and onions
  • Taco chicken leg with sweet potatoes and zucchini
  • Taco chicken leg with rice, peppers and onions
  • Italian chicken leg with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts 
  • Italian chicken leg with rice and zucchini 
best healthy meal prep recipe for variety every day
Create portioned meals with different components and flavors so you never get bored. / Bridget Coolick

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