Meal prepping is a fantastic way to prepare for the week ahead and save yourself tons of time. If you’re unsure where to start, though, we’ve found some of the best meal prep cookbooks out there to make the process even easier.
If you’re focusing on eating healthier and ordering less takeout this year, meal prepping is one of the best ways to do it. Also, when you prepare most of your food for the week in advance, you’ll have more time to spend doing other things.
To get started, you just make a menu for the week ahead and then pick a few meals you can make in advance. Then, you can prep any food you can’t make in advance—for example, you can wash lettuce or berries for salads and snacks, or cut carrot and celery sticks for lunches.
The cookbooks below are popular and particularly handy if you don’t want to have to search through the mountains of recipes online every time you want to prep a meal.
Best Gluten-Free: Cook Once, Eat All Week
Best for Families: Skinnytaste Meal Prep
Best for Weight Loss: The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook
Easiest: Damn Delicious Meal Prep
Best Vegan: Plant-Based Meal Prep
Best Freezer Options: Seriously Good Freezer Meals
Most Unique: Fit Men Cook
Best for Gut Health: Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep
Best for Keto: Keto Meal Prep
A lot of meal prep cookbooks focus on big-batch recipes, but Cook Once Eat All Week, by nutrition consultant, Cassy Joy Garcia, has a slightly different structure. The idea is to batch cook a protein, starch and vegetable at the beginning of each week. Then, you can then create three different meals with them in minimal time.
It ensures you won’t get bored eating the same meal over and over. It also makes cooking during the week a little easier as some of the main components will already be done.
The book serves up 26 weeks of affordable, healthy meals that also taste great, as well as a chapter of bonus, 20-minute meals. There are optional Instant Pot and slow-cooker instructions as well, to save you even more time. It also supports gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free, Paleo, low-carb, and kid-friendly diets.
Cook Once, Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity
For family-friendly recipes that are ideal for meal prepping or just a big dinner, check out Skinnytaste Meal Prep by Gina Homolka. There are more than 120 recipes for snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as vegetarian options.
The beginning of the book offers lots of time-saving strategies and tips on how to meal prep and store your food in the fridge or freezer. The idea is to make one large recipe, then eat it throughout the week. Or, you can freeze them to make them last even longer. There are also some weekly menus for using each recipe.
Like the recipes on the Skinnytaste blog, these are all fairly basic—no fancy techniques or hard-to-find ingredients here. Everything is delicious and full of flavor, but also healthy and good for little kids.
Skinnytaste Meal Prep: Healthy Make-Ahead Meals and Freezer Recipes to Simplify Your Life: A Cookbook
If your goal with meal prepping is to lose weight, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook by Toby Amidor is a great resource. There are over 100 recipes that are both nutritious and delicious, as well as three two-week meal plans that focus on clean eating, weight loss, and bodybuilding.
There’s also a lot of expert advice and tips on meal prep, including the basics on healthy prepping, must-have kitchen equipment, and how best to store, freeze, thaw, and reheat food. There are also tips on mixing and matching healthy meals and general advice on eating to lose weight.
Fans of the popular Damn Delicious food blog will love Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee. The book has over 120 recipes that are low-calorie and designed for weight loss. They’re also simple to prepare, great for beginners, and don’t require any weird ingredients (you probably already have most of them in your kitchen).
There are also lots of tips on meal prepping, storing and freezing food, as well as some weekly meal plans and recommended shopping lists.
Anyone who’s looking for plant-based, vegan options really needs a cookbook totally focused on that, and Plant-Based Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon is the perfect one.
With over 60 plant-based recipes, including desserts and snacks, it’s helpful whether you’re vegan or just trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet. There’s also an introductory guide on plant-based eating and meal prep.
You’ll also find tags for soy- and grain-free, and paleo-friendly recipes throughout. There are some meal plans in there, as well. For those on a diet, there’s also helpful nutritional information for each recipe.
One of the best ways to meal prep is to make food that can be stored in the freezer. Because it lasts longer in the freezer, it can be eaten over the course of a few weeks or even months. This means you don’t have to eat the same meal every day for a week.
Seriously Good Freezer Meals by Karrie Truman has 150 recipes all created to be cooked and then stuck in the freezer. Then, you’ll have a homemade meal all set whenever you’re short on time and want something delicious.
There are recipes for every meal (including desserts and snacks), as well as vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options. A bulk-batch chart makes it easy to make large amounts. Plus, there are beginner, intermediate, and advanced meal plan programs so you can make several meals per day.
Don’t be turned off by the title of Fit Men Cook by Kevin Curry. It’s for anyone who wants to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor. You won’t find any typical meal prep recipes in here! Instead, there are over 100 recipes for flavorful and interesting meals, like Banana Corn Waffles or Juicy AF Moroccan Chicken. It’s all about eating healthy, delicious food.
In addition to the recipes, this helpful cookbook includes tips on healthy living, like grocery lists and how to avoid common dieting pitfalls. Curry also includes his 10 commandments for meal prep, and his own inspiring journey with health and weight loss.
If your main concern is eating for optimal gut health, check out Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep by Ginger Hultin. It includes over 80 delicious, prep-friendly recipes meant to reduce stomach inflammation.
There are six full weeks of meal plans for a simple routine. Each week’s plan includes the recipes, a shopping list of ingredients, and detailed instructions for cooking and prepping. There are also tips for storing and preserving food, as well as ideas for reusing leftovers.
Make your keto diet a little easier with Keto Meal Prep by Liz Williams. It makes it super simple to stay on track throughout the week, no matter how busy you are.
The book includes lots of recipes, as well as three types of meal preps for beginners, those who work out regularly, and those trying to maintain their results. There are eight weeks’ worth of meal plans and snacks. There’s also plenty about the basics of keto for those who are still learning, as well as storage guidance and shopping lists.