Ultimate Meal Prep For Weight Gain: Ideas + Recipes

December 15, 2023

If you’re committed to achieving your fitness goals and establishing a sustainable weight gain plan, meal prepping is your ultimate weapon. By proactively planning and preparing your nutrient-dense meals in advance, you gain a sense of control over your nutrition, portion sizes, and macro intake to achieve your muscle gain goals. Whether you have a demanding career, academic commitments, or a busy family life, this comprehensive guide equips you with practical tips, mouthwatering recipes, and expert guidance to make your weight gain journey effortless.

Within our extensive library of over 2000 chef-created recipes, we have meticulously curated a selection of delightful dishes packed with macros that will help your quest for healthy weight gain. While planning your weekly meals, whether you're targeting a specific diet like low carb or aiming for a calorie surplus, we highly recommend consulting a registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance.

If you’re ready to take charge of your weekly meal prep routine and enjoy a sustainable path toward your desired weight and well-being, let's dive into the world of ultimate meal prep for weight gain!

The Best Diet For Building Muscle

When it comes to building muscle, the right diet plays a crucial role in achieving your goals. Weight gain, which is essential for muscle growth, is accomplished by consuming a surplus of calories through a well-planned bulking diet. However, it's important to note that muscle growth should be combined with regular physical activity, such as resistance training, to maximize results.

To determine the exact number of calories you should consume, it's important to consider your body type and calculate your caloric needs based on your muscle gain preferences and physical activity levels. To gain muscle, you’ll need to enhance your protein intake and adhere to a high-calorie diet. However, you will also need to strike a balance and avoid excessive consumption, as it may lead to undesired gains in body fat. This personalized approach ensures that you are providing your body with the necessary fuel to support muscle growth without excessive calorie intake.

Understanding the right macronutrients (macros) for building muscle is equally important. Protein, the most essential macro for gaining lean mass, should be a cornerstone of your diet. Incorporating lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes, into your weight gain meals helps provide the necessary amino acids for muscle repair and growth.

Carbohydrates, the second vital macro, fuel your workouts by replenishing glycogen stores and supporting muscle recovery. Opt for high-quality carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as they provide sustained energy and essential nutrients. Avoid simple carbohydrates that can cause spikes in sugar levels and offer little nutritional value.

Fat, the third essential macro, serves as a source of long-lasting energy. Since fat provides more than twice the calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates, it's important to moderate your intake. Consuming too much fat in a calorie surplus can lead to increased fat storage. Choose healthy sources of fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.

Incorporating nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables into your diet is crucial. They not only provide high-quality carbohydrates but also supply essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Lean proteins, as mentioned earlier, are vital for their amino acid content and should be prioritized in your meals.

By following a well-balanced diet that includes the right balance of macros, quality proteins, and nutrient-dense foods, you can provide your body with the necessary ingredients for muscle growth while supporting overall health. Combine this diet with a consistent exercise routine, and you'll be on your way to achieving your muscle-building goals.

Meal Prep For Weight Gain: Tools and Tips

Setting yourself up for success with healthy eating and meal prep starts with taking the proper planning steps and stocking up on the right staples. By incorporating a handful of savvy tips and tricks in your routine, you can transform your approach to meal prepping and experience the benefits of an organized, efficient system to stay on track.

Here are some of our top tips for how to successfully meal prep:

  • Build a library of your favorite recipes that align with your macros: Compile your all-time favorite meal prep ideas that are in line with your nutrition goals. For fresh inspiration, explore Hungryroot’s selection of 2000+ recipes
  • Design a weekly menu with your weight gain goals in mind: Plan a weekly meal schedule that includes a variety of delicious meals that cater to your muscle-building goals. Make sure to look thoroughly at the nutrition panels as you are designing your meals for the week so you can make sure you’re fulfilling your desired macros.
  • Make a detailed shopping list: Organize your grocery list by category, or by your menu plan to save time while staying within your food budget at the grocery store. Stock up on core pantry staples and healthy foods like lean meats like ground beef, whole grains or low-carb alternatives like cauliflower rice, fruits, and leafy vegetables. Make sure to stock up on healthy snacks like peanut butter or hard-boiled eggs that can carry you in between meals. Don’t have time to grocery shop? Hungryroot’s wide selection of good-for-you groceries transforms into scrumptious recipes, delivered straight to your doorstep. To learn more, check out Hungryroot’s grocery selection.
  • Batch cook and meal prep ingredients: Set aside dedicated time for prepping and cooking multiple meals at once, which can save you time and effort during busy weekdays and help maintain a consistent meal schedule. Consider investing in meal prep containers and slow cookers to save time.
  • Eat frequently and consider pre and post-workout meals: On days when you are physically active, it’s important to support your body with more carbs and calories than on your rest days. You can accomplish this by eating small snacks throughout the day and supplementing yourself with pre and post-workout meals. Consider eating a carb and protein-packed meal a few hours before your workout. For post-workout, you’ll want to load up on quick carbs and protein while keeping fat moderately low to allow for faster absorption. Consider protein shakes, chocolate milk, cheese, or lean protein meals.
  • Leverage convenient grocery and meal delivery services like Hungryroot: For busy folks juggling various responsibilities, Hungryroot can be a lifesaver when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Our wide selection of good-for-you groceries, delivered right to your doorstep, means more quality time spent on achieving your health goals. Take our personalized quiz today and discover a world of protein-packed mealtime possibilities just for you!

By implementing these tips, you won’t let your busy schedule get in the way of a successful healthy meal plan to achieve your weight gain goals.

Our Favorite Meal Prep Recipes For Weight Gain

Welcome, future meal-prep masters, to your treasure trove of curated recipes designed to help you achieve your muscle gain goals. This collection covers a variety of recipes, caters to different dietary needs, and ensures you won't fall into a rut of eating the same meal day after day. Let's start cooking up your new healthy lifestyle with some of our favorites from the meal prep menu.

Shrimp + Turkey Sausage Gumbo: This recipe is a winning combination for muscle and weight gain, providing both delicious flavor and protein-packed nutrition. Featuring tender, wild-caught gulf shrimp and savory hot Italian turkey sausage, this gumbo is simmered to perfection in a superfood tomato-based sauce with a combination of creole red beans, jumbo yellow onion, and a delightful blend of spices. Packed with a whopping 47 grams of protein per serving, this gumbo will fuel your muscles and support your fitness goals. This recipe also features 12 grams of dietary fiber and only 17 grams of fat, striking a perfect macro balance for a wholesome meal. 

Roasted Chicken Thigh Pad Thai Veggies: This protein-packed meal brings a balance of flavors and nutrition to fuel your muscles for post-workout success. Tender, boneless chicken thighs are complemented with sauteed stir-fried veggies to provide a delightful balance of essential carbs and nutrients. Coming in at a hearty 430 calories and 31 grams of protein per serving, this meal provides the right boost of protein, leaving you energized and nourished when you’re active throughout the week.

Chimichurri Steak + Creamy Butter Bean Mash: If you’re looking for a restaurant-quality, protein-packed meal, then look no further than this hearty recipe. This meal features tender grass-fed sirloin steak accompanied by creamy and flavorful butter bean mash. The organic butter beans are simmered until softened and then mashed with a fork to create a luscious texture to complement the steak. Lastly, green beans are steamed until tender, providing an additional source of essential nutrients and complex carbohydrates. With just 12 minutes of prep, this meal provides 520 calories and a whole 47 grams of protein to fuel your body and satisfy your hunger!

Korean BBQ Chicken Zucchini Stir Fry: This Korean-inspired dish is bursting with vibrant colors, delightful textures, and a perfect balance of nutrient macros. Seasoned zucchini rounds are cooked until caramelized and paired with the bold flavors of Korean BBQ-style chicken. The rich and tangy sauce envelops the chicken, infusing it with authentic Korean flavors. In just 11 minutes, you can enjoy a protein-packed, delicious meal with only 350 calories and 35 grams of lean protein. This dish is perfect for those looking for variety while fueling their muscles to support an active lifestyle.

Zesty Honey Mustard Pork + Creamer Potatoes: With its simple preparation, this recipe effortlessly brings together a hearty blend of flavors and nutrition. Indulge in the savory goodness of pork loin, which provides a generous dose of protein, and creamer potatoes, which offer a great source of carbohydrates for sustained energy. To tie the recipe together, a generous spread of zesty honey mustard sauce adds a tangy and sweet element that complements the savory pork. With 600 calories and 32 grams of protein per serving, this protein-packed meal is an excellent choice for muscle recovery and growth.

Gingery Grilled Chicken Brussels Rice Bowl: In just 15 minutes, you can savor a balanced combination of flavors and macros in this gingery grilled chicken rice bowl. Brown rice quinoa blend is paired with tenderly roasted brussel sprouts and seasoned grilled chicken breast. A drizzle of sesame ginger sauce ties the bowl together elevating the dish with tangy flavors. This nourishing meal provides 520 calories, 14 grams of fats, and a generous 32 grams of protein to fuel your day.

Cilantro Lime Chicken + Steamed Broccoli: Perfect for weight gain, indulge in the mouth watering flavors of cilantro lime chicken paired with steamed broccoli in this protein-rich recipe. Flavorful and juicy chicken is sauteed till tender, while the broccoli adds a refreshing and vibrant touch to the plate. With only 390 calories per serving, this dish provides 35 grams of protein to support your muscle-building goals. It’s a low-carb option that delivers both taste and balanced nutrition.

Super Honey Poppyseed Chicken Protein Bowl: Elevate your protein game with this lean, chicken protein bowl packed with sweet and savory flavors. This bowl features a tasty combo of super blend salad, lentil quinoa rice mix, and seasoned grilled chicken breast. The tender chicken is seared and paired with a warm and flavorful lentil quinoa rice mix. The super blend salad adds a refreshing crunch and a balance of essential nutrients. For a finishing touch, drizzle on the delectable honey poppyseed dressing. With 530 calories and 34 grams of protein per serving, this bowl is a powerhouse of nutrition to fuel your muscles and is easy to eat on the go. 

Oven Roasted Salmon with Couscous Brussels: Treat yourself to this gourmet culinary delight that provides a good balance of nutrition with its protein-rich salmon and carb-packed brussels sprouts. The Atlantic salmon fillets are skillfully cooked in the oven and paired with tri-color pearled couscous and sauteed Brussels sprouts, offering a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. The vegan caesar dressing adds a luxurious and creamy twist to the Brussel sprouts, while the fresh lemon zest imparts a tangy and refreshing flavor to the salmon. With a hearty 800 calories and 40 grams of protein per serving, this recipe is a great option for your most active days.

Coconut Curry Tofu Broccoli Wrap: In this dish you can savor the rich and aromatic coconut curry perfectly complemented by hearty tofu veggie bites. Tender sweet baby broccoli adds a vibrant crunch to every bite. Wrapped in a wholesome sweet potato wrap, this protein-packed meal is as satisfying as it is delicious. With just 10 minutes of preparation, you can enjoy this recipe that provides a hearty 440 calories, 14 grams of healthy fats, and 29 grams of protein.

BBQ Chicken + Asparagus Spears: Get ready to savor the irresistible flavors of this protein-packed dish that will fuel your muscles and satisfy your cravings. This recipe combines juicy boneless chicken thighs, seared and coated in a mouthwatering original BBQ sauce. To add contrasting flavors and textures, the star of the dish is paired with fresh, sautéed asparagus spears. Each serving provides a generous 33 grams of protein and 520 calories per serving, striking a good balance for a satisfying, weight-gain meal.

Grilled Pork Protein Bowl with Fresh Salsa: This high-protein, high-calorie recipe is perfect for busy weekdays when you’re on the go but want to keep yourself energized and satisfied throughout the day. This meal features tender, grilled boneless pork chops paired with a nutritious and hearty lentil quinoa rice mix topped off with zesty, fresh salsa. In just 5 minutes, you can enjoy a healthy meal that packs 31 grams of protein and 470 calories per serving. It’s a convenient option for busy individuals who want to prioritize their weight gain goals without sacrificing flavor.

Garlicky Turkey Tenderloin Potato Hash: This quick and easy recipe is perfect for a flavorful and nutritious meal that’s ready in just under 15 minutes. The tender and flavorful turkey tenderloin provides a lean source of protein to support your muscle growth and maintenance. While the sauteed bell pepper and onion mix provides a dose of veggie-based, essential nutrients. A drizzle of creamy, indulgent avocado crema ties the flavors and textures of the dish together. With 510 calories and 42 grams of protein per serving, this potato hash is a well-balanced meal to support your muscle-building goals while keeping you energized.

Cheesy Mushroom Vegetarian Frittata: For days when you want to bulk up on energy for breakfast, this gourmet, restaurant-quality recipe is your perfect match. This vegetarian frittata is not only flavorful but also packed with protein and essential nutrients to fuel your day. In just 17 minutes, you can create a culinary masterpiece featuring sautéed diced onion, earthy mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes that are mixed in with pasture-raised liquid whole eggs, giving the frittata its fluffy and satisfying texture. Not only does this frittata taste amazing, but it also provides 480 calories and 35 grams of lean, egg-based protein to support muscle health and keep your hunger at bay.

Ribeye Steak + Sweet Potato Fries: This delicious dish brings together juicy ribeye steak with crispy sweet potato fries, creating a perfect balance of protein and healthy, complex carbohydrates. Skillfully seared ribeye steak is combined with baked sweet potato fries and roasted broccoli florets for a mouthwatering dish that’s packed with 650 calories and 33 grams of protein per serving. Prepare to savor every bite of this tender ribeye steak, crispy sweet potato fries, and flavorful roasted broccoli. 

Meal prepping is a powerful tool to support your weight gain and muscle gain goals. By taking the time to plan and prep your meals in advance, you set yourself up for success even on the busiest weekdays. When meal prepping for weight gain, it’s important to consider your macro balance. Focus on incorporating high-protein foods to support muscle repair and growth. Complex carbohydrates should also be a key component, providing the quick energy needed for intense workouts and replenishing glycogen stores. Don’t forget to include healthy fats, which play a vital role in sustained energy and overall well-being. 

By incorporating a wide range of ingredients, flavors, and textures, you can keep your taste buds engaged and prevent mealtime boredom. Explore different protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, or legumes, and experiment with a variety of grains, vegetables, and healthy fats to keep your meals exciting and enjoyable.

Meal prepping offers a practical and efficient way to stay on track with your weight gain goals and active lifestyle. Seize the opportunity to prepare delicious meals ahead of time and watch your efforts in the kitchen translate into progress towards your muscle gain goals!

We know life gets busy, and that’s where Hungryroot comes in! Our expert chefs have crafted a wide variety of mouthwatering recipes and protein-packed groceries that cater to your health and nutrition goals. Say goodbye to those tedious grocery store trips and hello to easy dining at home, all within minutes. Dive into our personalized quiz here and discover the perfect recommendations just for you!

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