Can you imagine the satisfaction of pulling all of your dinner ingredients from the fridge with one motion, instead of gathering them from the pantry, fridge, and drawers? Make-ahead meal bins simplify the prep process by centrally locating all of your ingredients, making for the quickest start to dinner!

Top down view of 4 plastic container bins filled with groceries on a wooden surface.

Make-Ahead Meal Bins

Y’all, I am not kidding when I say that this hack changed the dinner game for me. I don’t know why, but getting out all of the ingredients that I need for a specific meal always seems to take way longer than it should! This hack makes it so that you’re grabbing ONE thing (a meal bin) versus 10 things (individual ingredients) in order to get dinnertime started.

Kitchen Hack: Create meal bins with the ingredients for each night’s meal.

This hack is incredibly simple to weave into your routine (truly, it takes very little effort on your part but has a really huge return).

  1. Plan your meals for the week. The first step here is deciding which meals you’re going to enjoy for the week. I typically cook dinner six nights a week, and before I grocery shop, I decide exactly what those meals are going to be.
  2. Shop. Get your groceries via whatever method works best for you (full disclosure: I do grocery delivery 100% of the time).
  3. Sort your groceries in bins by meal. Set your meal bins on the counter (mine are labeled with the days of the week) and as you unload your groceries, place any ingredient that you purchased for a specific meal into the corresponding bin (think: if you bought tortillas for Wednesday’s fajitas, place them in Wednesday’s meal bin). Once you’ve gone through the groceries that you just bought, grab any of the ingredients for the week’s meals that you already had in the pantry or fridge, and place those in the meal bins also. EVERYTHING can go into the bins, y’all! Dried rice or pasta, canned beans, spices – they’ll all be perfectly fine to sit in the fridge for a couple of days.

Our Favorite Meal Bins

While these clear plastic bins are our very favorite option, you can absolutely use any basket or bag that you have. Reusable grocery bags work really well here, so if you’ve got those lying around, use them – don’t overthink what you’re actually storing your ingredients in!


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Brandi Schilhab

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