1. Grains - Making grains like quinoa, brown rice or farro ahead of time can make your weeknights so much less stressful. They’re an absolute must in my book. The grains I’ve mentioned keep super well in the fridge, but you can also spritz a little water on them before re-heating them up in the microwave. Pair them with a protein and veggie when you get home from work for a balanced and satisfying meal.
2. Roasted Veggies - Since veggies take a decent amount of time to cut and then roast, especially the big ones, doing them all at once on a large baking sheet or two can really make a difference. It’s also much easier to make healthy choices when you have healthy food on hand, so being able to reach into the fridge and have vegetables ready to put on your plate is definitely the best way to make sure you’re not derailing your diet at night. I like to roast broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, brussels sprouts, and even peppers and onions sometimes. I’ll add some of these roasted veggies to a grain bowl (that I can prep ahead of time!) or even fresh pasta.
3. Meat, Tofu and/or Fish - I grew up with my mom making chicken cutlets on weekends so that she could pack them in her lunch, but love making these to have on hand for dinners, too. They’re super easy to make, but they do take time to set out ingredients, so doing it over the weekend is helpful! I also like to make any ground turkey or beef to have on hand for those grain bowls that keep coming in handy, some tacos, or even on top of a salad. If you’re a vegetarian, meal-prepping tofu is great, too. If you don’t feel like making these proteins ahead of time, or would just prefer them fresh, you can at least put them in a plastic bag with marinade so that they are ready to go when you come home at night.
4. Hard-Boiled Eggs - This isn’t for everyone, but hard-boiled eggs are so great to have in the fridge. They’re a great snack, but since we’re talking dinner, I personally like to add these on top of a quinoa and kale salad with pesto, a cobb salad, or if you’re fancy, in ramen. Eggs provide extra protein, plus a ton of nutrients, so they’re great to add on to a meal.
5. Beans - If you’re like me, you like to buy dried beans in bulk because a) they’re cheaper and b) you get more bang for your buck. I like to soak my beans all day on Sunday (or overnight on Saturday) so that I can boil them at night and have them ready to go throughout the week. Black beans are great for homemade burrito bowls, in salads, or quesadillas. Chickpeas are amazing too and I’ll usually make my all-time favorite sriracha roasted chickpeas to either have as a little hors d’oeuvres or on top of salads to add crunch and flavor. Since dried beans do take a little more effort, prepping them in advance when you have the time makes life just that much easier.
Jordan Drankoski is the one woman star of the foodie blog Dancing for Donuts. She's a regular guest writer on ToBox serving up inspiration and recipes for the mind and soul. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes, hiking, trying new restaurants and visiting new places.