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Kick off the New Year Right with 10 Healthy Meal Prep Recipes

Chicken and rice

The new year is almost here, and that means that it’s time for a fresh start!

As we age, focusing on healthy eating becomes even more critical for maintaining energy, health, and independence. But cooking wholesome meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, with a little planning, you can easily prep tasty, nutritious dishes ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week.

At Atlantic Shores, we want to help make healthy eating simple and convenient for our residents. That’s why we’ve gathered 10 easy, delicious, and nutritious meal ideas perfect for making ahead and reheating later.

These recipes are perfect for seniors who want to maintain an active lifestyle with simple, reheatable dishes.

Let’s get cooking!

Benefits of Meal Prepping

Preparing batches of food ahead of time offers many advantages:

  • Saves time
  • Provides more variety
  • Allows for portion control
  • Offers more robust nutrition options
  • Is budget-friendly

When it comes to reheating, meals can be heated up in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop, making it easy and quick to get consistent nutrition throughout your week.

When you make these meals ahead of time, you’ll have more time throughout the week to spend on things you enjoy while not worrying about making sure you get adequate nutrition every day.

Easy Meals for Seniors to Reheat

When prepping meals ahead of time, it’s important to focus on recipes that retain flavor and texture after reheating.

Here are some key tips to make reheating meals a breeze:

  • Choose dishes with saucy or moist ingredients like soups, chilis, and casseroles. These tend to reheat better than drier foods.
  • Undercook vegetables slightly so they don’t get overly soft when reheated.
  • Let meals cool completely before refrigerating or freezing to prevent condensation that can make food soggy.
  • Portion meals into individual containers so you can reheat single servings.

10 Easy Meals to Make Ahead

Here are 10 nutritious and delicious meals that are simple to prep and perfect for reheating throughout the week:

1. Turkey Chili

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups water OR stock (depending on how liquidy you like your chili)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppers*

  • Shredded Cheese
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Sour Cream OR Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips

Instructions:
Brown the ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Transfer to a soup pot and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes. Let chili cool before portioning into containers.

Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop.

2. Chicken and Vegetable Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1⁄4 cup rice (optional)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano to taste

Instructions:
In a soup pot, combine chicken, onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return chicken to soup and add in the frozen veggies. Allow the frozen veggies to heat through, and add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Once cooled, portion into individual containers for easy storage.

Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop.

3. Chicken Fajita Bowls

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fajita seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup rice, cooked
  • Salsa, cheese, avocado etc. for topping

Optional Toppers*

  • Shredded Cheese
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Sour Cream OR Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips

Instructions:
Cook rice according to package instructions and let rest while cooking the chicken and vegetables.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook chicken with peppers, onion, and fajita seasoning for 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Place some chicken and veggies into a large tortilla, top with desired toppings, and enjoy!

Portion rice, beans, and fajita mix into meal prep containers.

Reheat in the microwave to enjoy throughout the week.

4. Veggie Quiche

 

Ingredients:

  • Pre-made Pie crust
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Assorted chopped veggies (spinach, onion, tomato etc)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Press the pie crust into a pie dish. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings. Add chopped veggies and cheese, mix to combine, and then pour into pie crust. Bake 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool, cut into slices, and store in fridge/freezer.

To reheat, put slices on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven for 10-15 minutes.

5. Chicken Apple Salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 1 Apple, chopped
  • 2 Celery sticks, chopped
  • ½ cup Walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper)

Instructions:
In a bowl, mix together chicken, apples, celery, walnuts, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and seasonings. Once mixed, have it on a bed of greens, as a sandwich or wrap, or eat it on its own.

Portion into individual containers and store in the refrigerator.

6. Vegetable Lasagna

 

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna noodles
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Cooked spinach
  • Assorted chopped veggies (mushrooms, carrots, onion etc)
  • Mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
Start by preparing lasagna noodles according to package directions, making sure to cook them only until al dente. Next, in a baking dish, spread some marinara sauce. Then, start layering your ingredients, repeating 3-4 times. Layer noodles, sauce, ricotta, spinach, veggies and mozzarella. To bake, preheat oven to 375°F. Once it’s come to temp, bake it for 45 minutes to 1 hour until hot and bubbly.

Cover tightly and refrigerate or freeze and reheat in the microwave.

7. Vegetarian Chili Mac

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1⁄2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
In a large pot, cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat until slightly translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on the stove for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite toppings.

Portion chili mac into meal prep containers. Reheat individual portions in the microwave.

8. Lentil Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
In a soup pot on medium heat, saute onions, carrots, and celery until slightly softened. Combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to the desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, slowly pour contents into a regular blender and add back to the pot once blended. Allow the soup to warm back up, then serve and enjoy.

Portion the lentil soup into containers and reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop.

9. Chicken and Rice Casserole

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 (10 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:
In a large bowl, combine cooked and shredded chicken, soup, milk, lemon juice, rice, vegetables, and 1⁄4 cup cheese. Once everything is combined, transfer to a greased baking dish. Top with remaining 1⁄4 cup cheese. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let cool before eating.

Portion casserole leftovers into meal prep containers. Reheat individual portions in the microwave.

10. Quinoa Bowls

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1⁄2 cucumber, diced
  • 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing mixture over the quinoa mixture and toss to coat.

Portion quinoa bowls into meal prep containers and place them in the refrigerator to enjoy throughout the week.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

There you have it – 10 easy and delicious meal prep recipes to kick off the new year!

We hope these recipes provide some mealtime inspiration as you start off 2024.

Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!