It’s tough to cook up healthy, satisfying meals three times a day, seven days a week, but you can save yourself some time and some work by planning ahead. Meal prep is simply working ahead of time to consolidate your meal planning and cooking so that you have less work overall. It also lets you enjoy quick and easy meals throughout the week.
A lot of busy parents will practice meal prep methods, making large portions on their free days and then drawing from those large quantities to make smaller meals throughout the week. This lets them squeeze out a nourishing and enjoyable meal in less time and create something tasty at the last minute.
We know beginning of the week meal prep is a big deal with a lot of our readers, as people these day lead very busy lives. They don’t have time to spend an hour or two cooking for dinner or 45 minutes for lunch. They are looking for quick meal ideas that are practical and yet healthy too. That can seem like a lot of demands to make from cooking, but proper planning pays off with some decent meal prep ideas.
We want to share some meal prep for pescatarian readers. These are ideas that incorporate fish and veggies most of the time, keeping in mind that pescatarians need a source of protein that doesn’t involve meats other than fish. Nutritionally balanced meals can be tough when you exempt most kinds of meat from your diet, but they don’t have to be bland and boring. Here are a few of our top ideas for pescatarian meal prep.
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Cajun Shrimp and Pasta
Not only is this dish great for combining with other side dishes to mix things up, but it’s really easy to make a lot of it initially. Shrimp cooks very fast in a skillet, and a big pot of pasta can be done cooking in 30 minutes. The Cajun part of the dish is easy enough to add in later, just in case you want to change up the flavour of the dish later on in the week.
We recommend using a bottle of dry Cajun seasoning that you can simply toss in the skillet with the food when you warm it up throughout the week. Just sprinkle some on your shrimp and pasta and mix with a little butter on medium heat for a couple of minutes. That’s how easy it is to put this meal back together.
The best pasta for this meal is rotini- the little corkscrew pasta. You can garnish with garlic butter and parsley, if you like.
If you want to make a bunch of pasta and shrimp on your day off and then make some new meals from the same food later on, there are a few options. You can add some spicy peppers to the mix to make a New Orleans- inspired dish, for taste, heat, and colour.
A niçoise is a Greek salad that is made from hardboiled eggs, black olives, tomatoes and either tuna or anchovies. Then, it is all drenched in olive oil (or lightly garnished, if you like). It’s a delightful salad and one that stays fresh all week if you store it in airtight container. The tuna is going to be a more popular choice, we think, but you do use what you like. You can make heaping helpings of this salad and store it in the fridge, pulling some out when you’re hungry.
One great way to make this part of your pescatarian meal prep plan is to add more ingredients to the salad each time you have it. You can use shredded cheese, croutons, green olives, lettuce, spinach leaves and more.
This is also a great food to take with you to work for lunch. It stores nicely in the fridge and isn’t messy at all. It’s also one of the easiest meals to prep on our list.
Salmon and Rice Pilaf
Salmon is a bit more fragile than some of the foods we have talked about so far, so be careful how you store it. It won’t stay good for long in the fridge after it has been cooked. You may want to freeze this meal for better storage and to ensure freshness.
Grilled or baked salmon is simple enough to make, but keep in mind that baking can take a little while. This meal prep pescatarian idea involves rice pilaf, usually made by combining cooked rice, peas, and vegetable stock.
If you are freezing the dish, be sure to divide it into meal-size portions so that it is easy to only take out what you need each day. If you want to mix things up and have something a bit different, then you can place the pilaf in a baking dish and mix in some eggs. Bake it for a few minutes to make a simple rice casserole.
Black Bean and Fish Burritos
This is one of the higher protein pescatarian meal prep ideas, as you’ll benefit from protein in the black beans and whichever fish you choose. We recommend not putting the filling in the burritos initially. Just make up your black beans, fish, corn, and whatever else you want to use and store it in a separate container from the burritos. Trying to make up burritos that are filled a few days ahead results in a soggy burrito, and no one wants that.
The easy way to spice things up with this meal is to change out your fillings each day, trying to add or substitute something new to keep things interesting. You can make your burritos very spicy one day and then pack them out with cheese and warm that for a minute to get a gooey burrito treat.
Always store your burrito shells someplace dry. You can keep them in the fridge, but be sure to keep them in an airtight bag or container so that they don’t spoil. Later in the week you can change up your meal by turning your burritos into enchiladas. All you have to do is make up your burrito like normal and then drizzle taco sauce and melted cheese on the outside, topped with the shredded lettuce and a dollop of sour cream.
Veggie Stir Fry
We like how versatile stir fry is as pescatarian meal prep idea. You can add things to the meal and use different foundations each day. On Monday, you can have the stir fry veggies with noodles, and on Tuesday it can be egg fried rice. You can make up sweet and sour fish to go with it, as well as homemade wontons or soup. The stir fry is great on its own but also delicious with a variety of sides.
If you are looking for pescatarian meal prep for weight loss, we suggest boiling the veggies first to cook them and then frying them up in very light oil for just about a minute. That way, they aren’t saturated with oil and are more boiled than fried. Instead of having egg fried rice or fried noodles with the meal, you can use boiled rice or boiled noodles.
One of the advantages to being a pescatarian is that you will be more inclined to try new kinds of seafood dishes instead of going for the chicken dish on the menu every time. One of our favorite strictly pescatarian comfort dishes is seafood soup. When going out to eat and all of your friends are having chicken tenders or steak, you can indulge in a bountiful soup made with shrimp, white fish, and scallops.
There are tons of ways to make seafood soup, and if you want to vary it for the week, you can add in different veggies each time- potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, etc. Using vegetable broth as a base makes it very flavourful and saves you some time preparing the soup, and you can store this in the fridge for use within the week or the freezer to store it for four to six months.
Storing Foods for Meal Prep
If you want to prepare your meals ahead of time and make a lot of food at once, you need to consider how you are storing it. You want your food to be fresh when you are ready to eat it.
If you won’t eat the food in the few days, it needs to be stored in the freezer. You can always portion out what you will need for the week and keep it in the fridge, and then put the rest in the freezer.
It’s not a good idea to warm up food multiple time and put it back into the fridge. Every time you do that, you diminish the flavour and increase your risk of food poisoning. Instead, only warm up what you need from the fridge, leaving the rest to stay cold.
It’s important to use airtight containers and watch for signs of spoiling, especially with foods like shrimp that can cause gastric issues if they are not stored properly.
If you are taking the proper precautions, then you can make the most of meal prep. You will save yourself a ton of work and cut down on food prep time throughout the week.
What are some essential ingredients to have on hand for pescatarian meal prep?
As a pescatarian, your diet includes fish and seafood, so it’s important to have a variety of those, either fresh or frozen. Other essentials include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain pasta), and sources of plant-based protein such as lentils, beans, and tofu. Healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts, as well as a selection of herbs and spices, are also key to creating flavorful, nutritious meals.
How long will these pescatarian meal prep dishes stay fresh in the refrigerator?
Most meal prep dishes can stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Fish and seafood dishes should ideally be eaten within the first couple of days for the best quality. If you want your meals to last longer, consider freezing them. They can often be frozen for up to a few months, although the texture of some ingredients may change slightly upon thawing.
Can these pescatarian meal prep ideas be adapted for special dietary needs or preferences, such as gluten-free or dairy-free?
Yes, these meal prep ideas can certainly be adapted to meet different dietary needs. For gluten-free adaptations, make sure to use gluten-free grains and check the labels of any sauces or condiments for hidden gluten. For dairy-free adaptations, substitute any cheese or dairy-based sauces with non-dairy alternatives. Many pescatarian meals are naturally adaptable since they focus on fish, fruits, vegetables, and grains, which can all be chosen to fit within these dietary needs.