Now that school is back in session, it’s more important than ever to have those weekly meals planned to make life a little bit easier for everyone. Preparing your meals in advance can be a game changer for getting organized and saving both time and even money each day if you’re always on the go, working, or just have a busy schedule in general.

Even though meal prep can seem like a daunting task, there are techniques to make it easier. Ask your kids to join in the fun and help!  If time management is a concern for you, think of it as a short-term investment. The time you spend on the weekend going to the store and preparing is time you’ll save during the week since cooking won’t be on your to-do list. 

That being said, there is no magic trick to effective meal preparation, but with a little time, planning, and a few helpful tips from Mahatma® Rice, you should be well on your way!

Plan What Meals to Prep

Think about what meals you would like to eat during the week. Plan what vegetables, proteins, and grain types you will use. Also, plan a vegetarian or vegan meal for the week. It’s a great way to maintain variety in your meal plan. 

Consider Your Needs: What meal or meals could be prepared in advance more easily? Do you require breakfast to make your morning more efficient? Would you want to spend more time in the evening with a dinner that has already been made? 

Get Organized: What time will you be able to set aside to prepare the meals you need? Is Sunday a good day to get ready for the next week? Or perhaps a weeknight evening is more your style? Do whatever is convenient for you. 

Choose Your Recipes: After you’ve determined what you’ll need, you can move on to the enjoyable task of choosing your recipes. Have your kids help!

Write a List and Go Shopping: Using your recipes as a guide, write a list of everything you need to buy and stick to it. This will help you waste less food and also money because you won’t be buying as much in excess. Before rushing to the store, remember to look and see what you already have. 

Prep your Pantry

Choosing components that will keep you satisfied and energized, such as sturdy grains alongside meats, fruits, and veggies, is the secret to any successful meal planning strategy. The meal components you select should ideally be versatile and appropriate for any menu.

  • Choose your Grains: Jasmine, Basmati, White, Brown, or Ready to Heat.
  • Dressings and Oils: Olive or Coconut oil, sriracha, soy or various salad dressings. 
  • Legumes: Black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas (in dried or canned form).
  • Canned Goods: Tuna, salmon, tomatoes, tomato sauce, artichokes, olives and fruit (without added sugar).
  • Baking Essentials: Baking powder and flour (including all-purpose, whole wheat, almond, and rice flour) are vital ingredients.
  • Seasonings, Herbs and Spices
  • Additional Ingredients 

Starting Tips for Meal Planning

Try not to get overwhelmed and take things day by day. Here are a few tips to help make the transition easier:

Use Flexible Meals: Make sure you start with meals that can have different ingredients and fillings, including rice bowls, rice salads, or wraps. 

Slice Vegetables Beforehand: This way you can mix and match them while you prepare your fillings. You might also prefer a few various toppings, such as sauces and mix-ins.

Use Our Quick Cooking Grains: If you’re in a hurry our Ready to Heat variety is a fantastic option to have your meals ready in just a few minutes.  

Recipe Ideas

Now that you have an idea of what your plan of attack is for the week, let Mahatma® Rice guide you on some ideal recipe ideas. 

Breakfast and Snacks

Some dishes may be made in bulk and frozen for later, which is great for saving time on hectic mornings or keeping an eye on your budget. You won’t be as tempted by the vending machine or the restaurant around the corner if you have prepared snacks on hand.

It’s simple to prepare muffins, bars or cups in advance to take with you throughout the week or freeze them for you and your family and then thaw them out as needed. Maybe choose grains that will help you feel fuller for longer throughout the day. We have a few delectable recipes for you to try;

  • Our Puffed Rice Chocolate Bars are a great option for whenever hunger strikes throughout the day. Made with only 5 ingredients, they are packed with flavor and also dairy-free.
  • Chicken and Rice Lunch Box Cups– These filling chicken and brown rice lunch box cups, which resemble muffins, are perfect for on-the-go snacks and are perfect for any time of day. They are packed with creamy cheddar, yummy proteins, and Mahatma® Brown Rice.
  • Savory Rice Muffins– These muffins are the perfect on-the-go snack for wherever the day may take you. 
Savory Rice muffins with nuts
Savory Rice Muffins

Lunch Inspo

Salads and Bowls are quick and easy lunch ideas that are simple to whip up in no time and prep ahead. Our Mason Jar Rice Salad is made with Fluffy Mahatma® White Rice, filling beans, lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, and more. The convenience of eating a rice salad in a mason jar during a busy or chaotic day is one of its greatest appeals. This tasty rice salad is ideal for meal planning in advance, whether you’re at the office, working from home, or on the go. Or try one of our many rice bowl varieties like our Chipotle Rice Bowl with Veggies.

Dinner Ideas

Tacos filled with chicken tinga and rice
Chicken Tinga Rice Tacos

Storage/Reheating Tips

If you’re all about meal prepping, then you know how important it is to store and reheat your meals properly. Nobody wants a soggy or tasteless meal after putting in all that effort! So, here are some handy tips to keep your prepped meals fresh and delicious:

1. Invest in quality storage containers: Make sure you have a good set of airtight containers that are microwave-safe and freezer-friendly. This will help preserve the freshness of your meals and prevent any unwanted leaks or spills.

2. Label and date your meals: It’s easy to forget what’s inside each container, especially if you prep multiple meals at once. Take a few seconds to label each container with its contents and the date it was prepared. This will help you keep track of the freshness and avoid any confusion later on.

3. Portion out your meals: Divide your prepped meals into individual portions before storing them. This makes it easier to grab a meal on-the-go without having to defrost or reheat more than necessary.

4. Store properly in the fridge or freezer: If you plan on consuming your prepped meal within a few days, store them in the refrigerator. For longer-term storage, freeze them instead. Just make sure to cool down hot dishes before putting them in the fridge or freezer to maintain food safety.

5. Reheat with care: When reheating your prepped meals, be mindful of how long and at what temperature you heat them for optimal taste and texture. Follow any specific instructions provided for each dish, but as a general rule, use medium heat settings when using a microwave or oven.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your prepped meals stay fresh, tasty, and ready-to-eat whenever hunger strikes!

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