How to Organize Meal Prep for Quick & Easy Dinners

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Meal times can be crazy. Baby’s crying, kids are grumpy, everyone’s hangry. Organize meal prep so the witching hour isn’t so witchy. And neither will you be.

array of prepped ingredients

Meal prep is a daily gig for most of us, but it can get harried.

Maybe you’re busy from morning right until dinner time. Maybe dinner time rolls around and lo and behold! That’s when the baby will take nothing but your arms.

Maybe the whole thing just feels too overwhelming and you’re not where to start. You’ve got good intentions but, well, those good intentions don’t get dinner made by themselves.

Organizing your meal prep can help you get a home cooked meal on the table even on the craziest of nights. 

Organize Your Meal Prep

Ask yourself these questions as you think about dinner tonight:

1. Have you got a meal plan?

Everyone plans their meals. Some just do it in line at McDonald’s when they place their order.

You and I both know that if you did it a little sooner than that, you’d increase your chances of a healthier, more economical meal.

Savvy meal planning can help you do that, but it doesn’t take much! Just jot down a quick list of meals based on what you’ve got on hand right now.

If you need help, you can choose from one of my deluxe meal plans to make it super easy! (They’re what I use most weeks.)

Create meal plans for at least the next couple days.

grocery bag and flowers on front seat of car

2. Did you get the groceries?

I love to grocery shop. It’s one of my favorite household chores. However, that means I often need to hold myself back from buying too much or shopping too often. Others struggle with making sure they’ve got what they need.

Check what’s in the cupboards, fridge, and freezer so you don’t overbuy. Hit the store for the necessities during a quiet time of day when you’re not hungry. It will help you feel calm as well as organized.

Plus, you won’t buy too much or too little.

Wherever you land on the grocery haul spectrum, be sure you’ve got what you need for the next few days.

3. What do you need to thaw?

The freezer can be the home cook’s best friend — when she remembers to thaw things in time for dinner. Ahem.

Take a gander at your meal plan. What meals have you planned three days out that you could probably start thawing in the fridge now?

Thawing is an essential part of meal prep. Pull those items out now so that in three days, your roast will be ready to cook. 

enchilada ingredients

4. What can you chop, shred, slice in advance?

Pre-slicing, chopping, and shredding vegetables, meats, and cheeses can make meal assembly so much quicker and easier. So can pre-cooking grains and proteins.

Create a quick list of things you’ll use in your meals this week, things like chopped onions, sliced olives, shredded cheese, cooked and shredded chicken.

Having these ingredients all ready to go will make dinner times easy peasy.

5. What can you make ahead completely?

Are there meals you can just make ahead completely and then stash in the fridge or freezer until later?

Lasagna or Cheese Enchiladas are awesome for this. Or how about meal components like Seasoned Taco Meat or Homemade Pinto Beans?

Do whatever meal prep ahead of time that you can. Cook when you have the time, eat it without a fuss when you don’t.

6. Schedule time to do it.

It’s one thing to put “meal prep” on your to-do list. It’s a completely different thing to actually schedule a time to do it.

When you assign a particular time on the calendar to it, not only do you organize meal prep, but you make its chances of happening increase dramatically. 

Yes, good time management has a huge impact on your kitchen and meal times.

Don’t just talk about doing it, do it.

collage of meals in meal plan

Get some help with meal prep if you need it.

I created the Kitchen Winner Meal Plans with you in mind. It’s designed to help you go from theory to practice.

This monthly meal planning service is more than just a plan of random recipes dropped in your inbox.

Each of the 35+ Kitchen Winner Meal Plans provides:

  • 7 full menus complete with recipes
  • a coded grocery list (the codes allow you easily to omit a recipe if you need to)
  • a complete meal prep checklist to help you bring meal planning dreams to meal prep reality!

When you subscribe, you’ll get instant access to all the plans available, with more being added each month. It’s a great way to organize meal prep without breaking a sweat.

Get a free sample plan here:

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. The busier we get, the crazier it becomes to get food on the table. I’m trying to make sure the freezer is stocked with meals and that I have many slow cooker recipes I can use. The more hands-off the cooking, the better.

    We shared this post on 1099 Mom. Thanks!

  2. sara says

    shared on my blog:
    love this!

Share Your Thoughts