What’s the number one thing my nutrition clients say they need to succeed? More ideas to meal prep Mexican food.
That’s right–not knowledge, or motivation, but preparation.
And I see how few resources my Latina clients have to help them plan and prepare meals that include the type of food they like to eat!
So I’ve done the work for you and put together a list of your favorite heritage Mexican foods that work well for meal prep. Keep reading for a bunch of meal inspiration.
Is Mexican Food Healthy?
One of the reasons there aren’t enough meal prep resources for Mexican food is because of the common misconception that Mexican food isn’t healthy.
But the truth is traditional Mexican food can be very healthy, and can be an easy way to add fiber, legumes, and vegetables while eating your favorite foods.
The Key to Healthy Mexican Meal Prep
The truth is, most homemade Mexican meals are already relatively healthy.
There are no strict rules about what is healthy or unhealthy.
But one basic principle you can follow to make sure all your meal prep meals are well-balanced and nutritious is to include at least one carb, one protein, and one vegetable source in your meals.
(Need help figuring out which Latino foods are carbs, proteins, and vegetables? Check out my free Latino Food Groups guide)
One reason Mexican-Americans may feel it’s more difficult to meal prep is because so many meal prep ideas rely on the oven or the slow-cooker, and these tools aren’t used as often in Mexican food!
But despite not using the oven as often, Mexican food has plenty of meals that can easily be prepared ahead of time.
Mexican Meal Prep Recipes
I’ve compiled some of my favorite Mexican meals to meal-prep
If you have the time to cook a dish ahead of time and eat that over the next few days, most traditional Mexican recipes will work. Here are some traditional Mexican recipes that are perfect for meal prepping. They take 30 minutes to an hour to cook, and reheat well.
I’ve also included a few meal prep recipes that are even faster (check out the nopal black bean salad and the pescado empapelado).
Best Mexican Meal Prep Recipes:
The classic chicken with rice dish (literally) is a perfect meal to cook on Sunday and bring to lunch the next day or two. This reheats well.
- Add more veggies by increasing the amount of peas used, or swap out the peas for frozen mixed vegetables (like peas and carrots)
- Add a quick side of avocado or tomato slices for an extra veggie boost
Stews like pozole are great for meal prep because you get a lot of meals out of 1 hour of prep work, and they reheat well. In fact, I think pozole tastes better the next day!
- Pozole verde is already a complete meal with carbs, protein, and vegetables.
- To add extra veggies, pre-chop some cabbage, radish, and onions and sprinkle them on top of your bowl just before serving.
Tortilla soup is a classic for a reason! Soup is a perfect make-ahead food, and tortilla soup is nourishing without leaving you overly full.
- Customize your veggie servings by adding shredded cabbage or avocado slices on top.
Chicken tinga is a simple but flavorful chicken dish. Prepare it ahead of time and then serve it in different ways throughout the week: on tostadas, on a torta, or in a rice bowl!
This is not a classic chiles rellenos recipe, but it is better suited for meal prep! Use leftover rice and beans for a really simple meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes.
A rare Mexican recipe that uses the oven! Take advantage of this to make meal prep and clean-up easier.
Enchiladas already provide carbs, protein, and a small amount of vegetables. Serve with a side of beans and extra veggies (avocado salad, maybe?).
This recipe is the best of both worlds, you can make it in less than 10 minutes AND it makes great leftovers.
Eat this salad cold with tostadas and avocado slices for a complete meal.
Pescado Empapelado (Fish in paper packets)
Okay hear me out, I know we don’t usually think of fish as a great meal-prep option, but you can prepare these individual fish foil packets two days ahead, and cook just before serving. It’s a simple recipe with minimal cleanup, making it a great choice for meal prep.
The foil packets will have protein, fat, and vegetables. Serve with rice or corn tortillas for a simple, complete meal.
Other Meal Prep Strategies for Mexican Food
I also often remind my Mexican-American clients that a lot of our heritage foods are assembled at the table, and we can use that for easier meal prep!
For these dishes, all you need to do is prepare a protein and maybe some beans, and then assemble everything 5 minutes before meal time. Serve these meals with a variety of vegetables like salsa, shredded cabbage, and radish slices.
- Burrito bowls
For any of these meals, you can use your favorite protein. I especially recommend this instant-pot barbacoa, and the tinga de pollo (earlier in this post).
It’s also a good idea to prep a batch of beans to serve throughout the week. The absolute simplest way to prep beans is this classic frijoles de olla recipe. When in doubt, make this one!
Having a plan and being prepared are two of the most important factors for success with nutrition.
For my Mexican-American clients, it can feel like meal prep and enjoying cultural foods just don’t “go” together.
But the truth is, there are plenty of meal prep-friendly Mexican meals that taste like home AND will help support your health goals.
In addition to recipes that reheat well, look for Mexican meals that are assembled at the table, like tostadas and tacos for easier meal prep.
And if you need help brainstorming ways to build balanced meals using your favorite Latino heritage foods, check out my free 5-day Latino meal planner. Sign up below to get your copy!