Your Meal Prep Master Plan for the New Year
Upgrade your Sunday night routine with these leftover-friendly recipes and chic lunch containers
Follow food editors Ellen and Maya as they share what they’re eating, drinking, and cooking each week. Subscribe to The Sunset Pantry newsletter.
Cook Once and Eat All Week
Feeding oneself can be both a pleasure and a pain. I love to cook, but there are times, especially during the week, when it feels more like a chore. Don’t get me started on weekday lunch, when hunger takes the reigns and $15 salads start becoming routine. The best way to beat it: Meal Prep. Taking an hour or two on a Sunday to boil eggs, wash greens, roast veggies, and whiz up a vinaigrette or two in the blender will deliver on your weekday happiness in spades. Cooking big batches of leftover-friendly meals is another way to ensure reliably delicious dining all week long. I tend to go for items that get better with age, like carnitas, roast chicken, or veggie chili. I recommend this recipe by SF chef David Nayfeld of Che Fico, who goes the extra mile to build flavor with dark chocolate, brown sugar, and tons of warm spices. Portion it out in beautiful containers (like Maya does, below), and you’ll be winning at lunch every single day.
—Ellen Fort, food editor
The Lunch Container That Actually Gets Me Excited to Meal Prep
Like many people who want to organize their life a bit more in the new year, I am a meal prep participant. A participant with a new exciting reason to spend my Sunday night roasting veggies in bulk: this glass floral to-go container. It’s one of those small things—like your favorite non-stick pan or trusty wooden spoon—that makes cooking a lot more enjoyable. Released as a part of Urban Outfitters’ new kitchen collection, the thick glass container is large enough to fit enough food to keep you full and satisfied all afternoon and it’s microwave and oven safe. Plus, the base is split into two sections so your pita does not disturb your dip during any morning transportation. Here are four dishes I’m already planning to meal prep in my shiny, new botanical-themed lunch box:
- Composed Mediterranean Salad (jammy eggs! Artichoke hearts! SALAMI!)
- Chicken Sausage and Vegetables Sheet Pan Supper
- Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche
- Kasha (Roasted Buckwheat) with Kale and Pancetta (I also want to try this with farro)
—Maya Wong, assistant editor
More to read this week:
- The healthy, effortless recipes you should be cooking this January, from a Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde to a Butternut Squash and Corn Soup.
- Simplify your life with these make-ahead meals that taste great now and even better later.
- You love your almond milk, but did you know its production is harmful for bees? Try these other plant-based milks instead.
- The delicious, bubbly, non-alcoholic, and sometimes CBD-infused drinks we highly recommend if you’re taking part in Dry January.
- 12 of our favorite Meatless Monday recipes that won’t leave you hungry.
- Leafy greens, berries, whole grains, and more anti-inflammatory foods with recipes to match.
Looking for more inspiration? Head over to Sunset Recipes for our winter cooking highlights.