Chicken Meal Prep Ideas - Healthy recipes and cooking tips for a healthier lifestyle

Chicken Meal Prep Ideas

April 20, 2024
Chicken Meal Prep Ideas

Chicken is one of the most popular foods to use when meal prepping due to its versatility. It’s tasty, economical and easy to turn into a variety of healthy recipes, no matter what your flavor preference. And if you’re looking for chicken meal prep ideas, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll share lots of easy ways to meal prep with chicken, as well as plenty of healthy chicken meal prep recipes.

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A go-to meal prep food, this white meat is lean, cooks quickly and can be used in all types of dishes, from savory and sweet to spicy and exotic. You can meal prep chicken for popular Italian dishes like Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Scallopini or comfort food favorites such as Chicken Casserole or Chicken and Biscuits. Whether you’re looking to make soups, stir fries, salads, casseroles or sandwiches, you’ll never run out of tasty and easy ideas for chicken meal prep.

Benefits of Chicken Meal Prep

Chicken is a great protein option for healthy prepped meals because it’s low calorie and low in saturated fat. This can help with weight management and keeps your heart healthier. You’ll also find that chicken is a versatile meat so you’ll never get bored with chicken meal prep recipes because you can always change up your flavors and side dishes. You’ll also find that chicken is easy to portion out before or after it’s cooked. Chicken breasts, chicken tenders, chicken thighs, shredded chicken and cubed chicken are easy to divide up into multiple meal-prepped servings you can eat throughout the week.

Ready to get started on meal prepping chicken? Here are some tips on how to meal prep chicken to create protein-packed dishes, as well as meal prep recipes for chicken that will keep your weekly meal routine anything but boring.

Healthy Chicken Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

Meal prepping chicken for lunch is a great way to have a convenient, nutritious and inexpensive meal ready to eat each day. Many meal-prepped chicken dishes can be enjoyed cold, while others are easy to reheat in a microwave in your office’s breakroom. Whether you are in the mood for a salad, sandwich or soup, or you prefer eating leftovers from dinner, you’ll never run out of chicken meal prep recipes that satisfy.

Here are some tasty and healthy chicken lunch ideas:

Chicken Salad Recipes

Meal prepping chicken salads can provide you with healthy meals to enjoy throughout the week. The key to keeping salads fresh and crisp is to keep the ingredients separate until the day you plan to eat them. Store cooked chicken and lettuce in separate containers, and use heartier vegetables like bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, onions and broccoli for added nutrition and flavor.

On the day you plan to eat your meal-prepped salad, combine the ingredients into one container, storing the lettuce on top. You can make a simple dressing, such as a Sesame Maple Vinaigrette or a Green Goddess Dressing. Pour the dressing over your salad right before you eat it to ensure it doesn’t get soggy.

Switching up your salad toppings and dressing will help you create a different salad for each day of the week. Make a Cobb Salad on Monday, enjoy a Roasted Chicken And Spinach Salad on Wednesday and then end the week with an Orange Thai Chicken Salad packed with the delicious flavors of Mandarin oranges and creamy peanut butter.

Chicken Soup Recipes

Not only is soup a delicious and comforting meal, it’s also easy to store in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to eat it. That’s what makes meal prepping soup so popular. Many soups are gluten free and full of healthy ingredients, like this low-calorie recipe for Santa Fe Chicken Soup, or this protein-packed Quinoa Chicken Soup.  

Soups can be made in large batches so you’ll have enough for several meals, like our Chicken Noodle Soup that makes enough for 16 servings. Just freeze in individual-sized containers and you’ll have healthy comfort food ready to reheat and enjoy at a moment’s notice.

Chicken Sandwich Recipes

Sandwiches are great for meal prepping. Chicken’s mild flavor pairs well with a variety of sauces, vegetables and breads, which makes it the perfect addition to sandwiches and wraps. A Chicken Sandwich with Avocado is a simple but healthy way to enjoy chicken for lunch or try this Chicken Avocado Wrap. To ensure every bite of your sandwich tastes fresh, wait to slice the avocado until you’re ready to eat.

If you want a bit more pizzazz, you’ll love our Curry Chicken Salad Wrap, which can be pulled together in minutes. Creamy Greek yogurt, sweet grapes and crunchy celery all combine to make a delicious meal-prepped sandwich that will be the envy of your coworkers.

Healthy Chicken Dinner Meal Prep Ideas

When you walk in the door at the end of a long day, preparing a healthy dinner from scratch can seem daunting. But instead of pulling up a food delivery app on your phone, having meal-prepped dinners waiting for you makes it easier to eat healthier and save money. There are plenty of healthy dinner ideas with chicken you can prepare in advance that will taste delicious when it’s time to eat them. Here are some you won’t want to miss:

Chicken and Rice Recipes

Chicken and rice dishes are easy to meal prep and reheat well. After cooking the recipe, store the chicken and sauce together to help keep the chicken tender and flavorful. You can also cook up a large batch of rice and store it in single-serve portions. Our Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole and Chicken and Rice Stew are flavorful and healthy meals. If you’re a fan of Indian flavors, add a little spice with this recipe for Butter Chicken with Ginger Brown Basmati Rice.

Chicken and Pasta Recipes

Chicken and pasta dishes are hearty and flavorful, and they can taste just as delicious reheated as they did when you first cooked them, making them another meal prep favorite. Just store pasta separately from the sauce and other ingredients when possible or it may become soggy. If you enjoy a hearty casserole, meal prep this Brown Rice Penne Chicken dish. Another delicious chicken and pasta recipe that’s teaming with the delicious flavors of garlic and parmesan cheese is our Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta.

Chicken and Vegetable Recipes

Chicken and vegetable dishes make for healthy and easy meal prep. Stir-fry dishes are especially ideal chicken meal prep recipes because they not only store well in the fridge or freezer, but also reheat easily. This Chicken Stir-Fry can be prepped in just 30 minutes and our Southern BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry is so delicious you’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that can rival its flavor. Another delicious recipe is Sweet and Sour Chicken, a succulent stir-fry packed with the flavors of pineapple, bell peppers and fresh garlic. Thanks to these tasty chicken meal prep dinner recipes, you won’t even miss Chinese takeout!

Other Chicken Meal Prep Recipes

For healthy meal prep ideas for lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with making almost any type of dish using chicken breast. Meal prep with chicken breasts takes advantage of this lean protein that’s low in fat and calories. Chicken breast recipes abound, and it’s easy to add flavor with seasonings and sauces.

This simple recipe for Honey Dijon Chicken only uses four ingredients along with every day spices. Our Balsamic Chicken has a classic flavor that goes great with many side dishes or can top a hearty salad. In the mood to grill? Prepare the marinade and salsa in advance for this Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa and then pull it all together before eating. The possibilities are endless, so experiment with different flavors to discover your favorite meal prep recipes for chicken.

Chicken Meal Prep FAQs

Here are answers to some common questions about meal prepping with chicken:

How long can I store cooked chicken in the refrigerator?

Cooked chicken can stay fresh in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. To avoid the risk of salmonella when meal prepping chicken, cook the chicken fully and refrigerate it within two hours. Store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil.

Can I freeze cooked chicken?

Cooked chicken that has been frozen properly is safe to eat for up to 6 months. To freeze cooked chicken, place it in an airtight freezer bag or container, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Storing the chicken with a glaze or sauce can help keep your meal-prepped chicken recipe moist and flavorful.

What's the best way to reheat cooked chicken?

You can reheat meal-prepped chicken in the oven, a skillet or microwave. To reheat in the oven, cover the chicken with foil and heat for 15-20 minutes at 350°F. You can also reheat chicken in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave for 30-second intervals until the chicken is fully warmed. Make sure your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before you eat it.

How do I prevent my chicken from drying out during meal prep?

Avoid overcooking chicken, which can dry up the juices and turn the chicken rubbery. Marinating or brining the chicken helps add moisture and flavor. Storing it in a sauce also helps.

Should I marinate chicken before cooking?

Marinating chicken before you cook it adds flavor and moisture but you don’t want to marinate it too long. If you are meal prepping ingredients but not cooking a meal until later, prepare the marinade in advance but don’t marinate the chicken until shortly before you’re ready to cook it. Uncooked chicken should not sit in a marinade for more than 24 hours.

How do I know when chicken is fully cooked?

Before storing meal-prepped chicken, make sure it’s fully cooked by cutting into the center to ensure it is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Chicken is fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, which you can verify with a meat thermometer.

Can I meal prep chicken with different flavors for each day?

Absolutely! Because chicken is such a versatile meat, it blends well with a variety of flavors. You can cook your chicken with some basic spices and then add different flavors later on. Some ways to flavor chicken include using lemon, barbecue sauce, honey dijon, peanut sauce and balsamic vinegar.

How many days in advance can I meal prep chicken?

You can meal prep chicken about 3 to 4 days in advance, as long as it’s properly stored in the refrigerator. Any chicken you plan to eat after 4 days should be frozen to ensure it’s safe to eat.

Can I cook chicken in bulk and then portion it out for meal prep?

Cooking chicken in bulk is a convenient and efficient way to ensure you have protein-packed meals to enjoy throughout the week. Just make sure the chicken is stored in an airtight container in the fridge and is eaten within 3 to 4 days of cooking, or freeze it for longer storage.

What are some creative ways to use leftover chicken in meal prep?

The beauty of meal prepping with chicken is that there are so many ways to use this protein. Just raid the fridge and you’re sure to find something you can make with chicken, including salads, sandwiches, pastas and soups. You can even use it on pizza, like this Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

How do I prevent my chicken from becoming rubbery when reheating?

To prevent reheated chicken from becoming chewy or rubbery, warm the chicken on a low heat setting on the stove or use short time intervals in the microwave. Storing chicken in a broth or sauce also helps keep chicken moist and tender so it doesn’t dry out when reheating.

Are there any safety tips I should know when handling and storing chicken?

Always use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination with other foods. Raw and cooked chicken should be wrapped tightly or kept in an airtight container in the fridge at a temperature below 40°F. After purchasing raw chicken, cook it or freeze it within 48 hours. Cooked chicken should be eaten within 3 to 4 days.

How can I make sure my chicken stays tender and juicy after reheating?

To ensure your meal prepped chicken stays juicy when reheated, microwave it covered with a damp paper towel or add some broth to your dish.

Meal Prepping Made Easy

If you had been wondering how many ways there were to meal prep chicken, you now know the possibilities are endless.

To get started with chicken meal prep, just cook up some chicken with your favorite spices and see where your mood takes you throughout the week. Keep your mind open and your fridge full of healthy fruits and vegetables that bring out the delicious flavors found in protein-rich chicken and you’ll always have a meal that’s as delicious as it is nutritious. You can also browse the many healthy chicken recipes we have on our site.

For other easy prep meals, check out these high protein meal prep ideas or our healthy meal prep lunch ideas. And if you’re looking for other high protein recipes to try, we also have some easy salmon meal prep ideas.

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