I cannot tell you how many times I forget to defrost something for dinner before I leave for work. Then, I arrive home at the end of the day and am at a loss. I want to serve my family a healthy meal, but I am short on time and need something fast to get on the table. Thankfully, by using a few of these meal prep ideas, you can stay on track at mealtimes.

There are a number of methods you can use to make sure you have an easy idea for dinner every night. But, the key is to plan out your meals for the week. Each weekend you need to decide what you’ll be having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the following weekdays. Then head to the grocery store to stock up on everything you need to make those meals. It won’t do you any good to decide to have spaghetti for dinner if you have no pasta.

If you never seem to have time to grocery shop, you might want to consider using a meal delivery service. You order your meals once a week and the fresh ingredients, along with a recipe card, arrive at your home. Then, it’s simply a matter of choosing which meal you want to make on which night and then follow the simple directions. There are a wide variety of different meal preferences including organic, low-cost, and allergy-friendly.

Another option you can use for meal prepping is freezer cooking. With this method, you shop and prepare the meals ahead of time and then you freeze the meals in re-usable metal pans. When you get home from work, you simply grab a pan of lasagna or macaroni and cheese and put it in the oven to bake. No need to defrost a meal. It’s there when you need it.

Batch cooking is another easy meal prep idea. With batch cooking, you make a large meal on the weekend and then use up leftovers during the week for new meals. So, on the weekend you might make a roast chicken (or two). During the week, you could make chicken a la king, chicken stir fry, chicken salad sandwiches, and chicken quesadillas. Just add a frozen vegetable or a fresh salad and you have a healthy meal even if you’ve forgotten to defrost something.

I hope a few of these meal prep ideas will help make dinner time a little bit easier for you!