Mix & Match Meal Prep – 5 Recipes, 10 Healthy Meals
Some people can eat chicken, rice, and broccoli every night for the rest of their lives and not get bored. (If that’s you, you should DEFINITELY get into meal prepping. 😆)
But not all of us are quite so happy with the same food day after day.
If meal prepping feels like making a huge batch of ONE meal and then being stuck eating it all week… it’s time to mix and match your meal prep.
Mixing and matching keep meal prep simple AND adds variety to your week.
Below we outline just how easy mix-and-match meal prep can be. And we’ve included a few recipes to get you started. Before you know it, you’ll be inventing your own mix and matches that might even become your favorite meals!
What is Mix and Match Meal Prep?
Many meals consist of the same basic ingredients but manage to taste so differently. A change in seasoning or sauce can turn a bowl of rice and chicken from a curry to a burrito bowl.
Mix-and-match meal prep fills your fridge with basic ingredients to build multiple meals throughout the week. It also gives you a plan for meal combos to add tasty variety to your menu.
As you pair the ingredients in new ways each night, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to add variety without adding hours of additional meal prep.
What Types of Meals Make the Best Mix and Match Meal Prep?
You can use any combination of meals that share similar ingredients to build a mix-and-match menu. But these meals work particularly well:
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Open-faced toasts
- Bowl meals (grain bowl, buddha bowl, etc.)
- Eggs (omelets, frittatas, etc.)
- Tacos, burritos, quesadillas
Experiment with meals you enjoy to find the right level of variety with the least amount of prep time.
Mix and Match Meal Prep Made Easy
Let’s start with the basics – all you need is four easy components to create endless mix-and-match food combinations. These four food groups will become the building blocks of all of your meals. Mix and match them to create new meals every day.
- Protein – Choose a protein: animal or plant-based. You’ll keep your meal prep time down to a minimum if you stick with one animal protein for the week, but you could prep two fairly quickly if you want the extra variety.
- Starch – Make a large batch of 1-2 complex carbohydrates. If you’re going for low-carb options, you could use cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles here.
- Non-starchy Veg – Load up on your favorites. Keeping several frozen veggies on hand is a great way to mix and match throughout the week without needing to commit to using up a single fresh vegetable.
- Dress it up – Use sauces, seasons, dips, and dressings to add variety and flavor.
In these four easy food groups, you’ll fill your fridge with each meal prep component you need to build a variety of meals. You can either store the meal prep in a large, single-ingredient storage container and quickly assemble a meal each day. Or you can portion the meals into individual storage containers with unique combos and dressings so they’re ready to go throughout the week when you’re hungry.
“No-prep” Mix and Match Ingredients
Adding variety to your menu doesn’t need to require more cooking. These no-prep items pack a flavorful punch without adding prep time. Stock your fridge with a basic protein, carb, and veg for the week’s meal prep, and then keep some of these items on hand to easily add variety to your meals.
- Use different spices or herbs each night to mix up the flavor. If you’re new to cooking, here are a few spices you want to have in your kitchen: paprika, curry powder, cinnamon, thyme, dried basil, and turmeric.
- Raw vegetables. Add some raw veggies to a lunch box to mix up the meal. With a tasty dip in the fridge, raw veggies make a quick and healthy snack, too.
- Leafy greens. Make a simple side salad or add greens to a dish like cooked pasta or stir-fry. Baby spinach, lettuce, or kale are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal.
- This great source of protein is a cheap and easy ingredient. Scramble, fry, boil, frittata, and more to add variety to your meal.
- Nuts and seeds. Add to salads or grain bowls for a boost of nutrition and flavor. Not only will these provide texture and variety to your dish, but they’ll also serve up a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fats, including omega-3s.
- Another great source of healthy fats, avocados pair well with breakfast, lunch, or dinner dishes. Try some on toasts, sandwiches and wraps, or grain bowls and salads.
- Fermented foods. If you enjoy the unique flavors of kimchi or sauerkraut, add them to your sandwiches, salads, grain bowls, and stir-fries. Not only will you get a dose of flavor, but you’ll also get gut-healthy probiotics.
- Add a homemade vinaigrette to your salad or grain bowl to create easy flavor changes throughout the week.
Having these items on the shelf or in the fridge keeps variety at your fingertips so you never have to get bored with your meal prep.
Put this info into action with some easy meals using the starter menu below. Cooking tips, recipes, and mix-and-match combos give you a complete beginner’s guide to mix-and-match meal prep. You’ll love the convenience of pulling meal prep from your fridge and you’ll love the flavor of each unique combo.
10 Mix and Match Meal Prep Recipes in Under 1 Hour
Let’s get you started with an easy mix-and-match menu for inspiration.
- Protein: chicken breasts and chickpeas
- Starch: quinoa
- Non-starchy vegetable: braised kale and roasted veggies (onion, zucchini, bell pepper, sweet potato, yellow squash)
- Seasonings, dressings, toppings: various
FMC Mix and Match Tips:
- Need more calories? Consider adding avocado, raw or roasted nuts, or a protein shake to the meals.
- New fewer calories? Avoid heavy sauces and instead, use salsas and dressings to add a LOT of flavor and variety.
- Keep common items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer to easily give these meals a flavor makeover.
Prepare the ingredients according to the meal prep recipe and then mix and match in the combos below for 10 delicious and healthy meal prep meals.
MEAL COMBO 1
From your meal prep, dish a portion of quinoa as your base.
Just before mealtime, cook a scrambled egg (or egg white) and chop tomato, avocado, and green onion. Mix them all together for a simple grain bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
MEAL COMBO 2
From your meal prep, dish a portion of quinoa as your base.
Just before mealtime, add fresh blueberries (or another favorite berry), dried cherries, almonds (roasted or raw), and a splash of almond milk. Enjoy for breakfast like a bowl of oatmeal.
MEAL COMBO 3
From your meal prep, dish a portion of quinoa, grilled chicken, and roasted veggies for a complete and ready-to-eat meal.
MEAL COMBO 4
From your meal prep, dish a portion of quinoa, spicy chickpeas, and roasted veggies. Add tahini sauce for extra flavor.
MEAL COMBO 5
From your meal prep, dish a portion of spicy chickpeas and braised kale. Add avocado and lemon.
MEAL COMBO 6
From your meal prep, dish a portion of grilled chicken and roasted veggies for a simple and ready-to-go meal.
MEAL COMBO 7
From your meal prep, dish a portion of grilled chicken, roasted veggies, and braised kale. Add a homemade peanut sauce.
1 ½ Tablespoons raw peanut butter
1 Tablespoon lite soy sauce
1 Tablespoon water
Sriracha to taste
MEAL COMBO 8
From your meal prep, dish a portion of quinoa, spicy chickpeas, and braised kale. Add a low-calorie Italian dressing or your favorite vinaigrette and a splash of lemon juice.
MEAL COMBOS 9 & 10
From your meal prep, dish a portion of braised kale. Add chicken one night and spicy chickpeas another. Add avocado, bell pepper, and lemon.
Quick Herb Roasted Veggies
- Set oven to 400F.
- Place all the veggies in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and seasonings. Toss to coat.
- Place the veggies on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or in an air fryer.
- Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 400F or in an air fryer for 20 minutes at 360F.
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- Set oven to 400F.
- Season chicken breasts.
- Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once hot, spray it with a little olive oil, then add the chicken breasts. Sear on each side for 3 minutes, then bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through.
- Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Once hot, add oil and garlic. Flavor the oil for about 1 to 2 minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high.
- Add the chickpeas. While they sear in the skillet, add the smoked paprika. Shake the skillet to coat the chickpeas, then add lemon and a pinch of sea salt & pepper. The chickpeas are finished when they have a light sear on the outside.
- Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once hot, spray with olive oil then toss the shredded kale. Quickly stir so it doesn’t burn, then pour in the water to create steam and continue stirring.
- Once the kale has turned vibrant green, about 2 minutes, then remove the kale from the skillet and season to taste with a pinch of sea salt & pepper.