Save yourself time during the busiest hours of the evening by prepping your veggies ahead of time!

How to Prep Veggies for the Week

Meal prepping your veggies ahead of time truly has such an impact on the amount of time spent in the kitchen each evening. When you think about the typical meal (whether it be a casserole, soup, or dinner bowl) and the effort that goes into making it, a lot of time is spent washing and cutting the vegetable component of the meal. I don’t know about you, but spending my time chopping veggies at 5 PM on weeknight (the exact time that my kids need me most, the dog needs to be fed, and my early wake-up is taking its toll on me) doesn’t sound great. Because home-cooked meals for my family are a priority to me, I find this kitchen hack absolutely genius!

Absolutely! The kind of meal prep we’re talking about here has less to do with cooking the veggies ahead of time and more to do with getting them as ready as possible (think: washed, dried, chopped, etc.) so that getting dinner on the table becomes an easier to-do amidst the chaos that tends to come with weeknights.

Kitchen Hack: Wash and chop veggies as soon as you get home from the store.

Ready for the good stuff? Without further ado, our genius hack for veggie meal prep:

  1. Wash your veggies. As soon as you get your groceries home (whether you got them by way of grocery delivery or good old-fashioned grocery shopping), wash all of the veggies that need washing. All of them! Even if you don’t have time to do the rest of the prep, simply washing your produce before stashing it in the fridge will go a long way in your efforts to make mealtime easier (and, for me, to eliminate the potential food waste that comes with the extra step of washing fruits and veggies before being able to grab them for a quick snack or meal component).
  2. Let dry. Lay your veggies out on a clean dish towel (or paper towel) to dry, or dry them by hand. You can absolutely go on to the next step before your veggies are fully dry, but be sure to let them dry completely before storing.
  3. Prep. Once your veggies are washed and dried, prep them for the week’s meals as much as possible. This means that if you need chopped potatoes for Tuesday’s soup, you’ll go ahead and chop them before putting them away. If you need sliced peppers for Thursday’s fajitas, slice them now.
  4. Store. Store each of your now-prepped veggies in a container of your choice. This can be a jar, food storage container, or a plastic bag — whatever tickles your fancy! Then, pop everything in the fridge!

How to Store Chopped Vegetables

Any airtight storage container works great here. I personally prefer a glass jar (like THESE large mason jars), but use what you have! No need to have anything special or fancy in order to utilize this kitchen hack.

Why Meal Prepping Vegetables is a Smart Strategy

Let’s face it: when it comes to cooking dinner, a lot of time is spent in the prep stage (vs. the actual cooking stage), and prepping veggies ahead of time really helps to make the most out of your weeknight kitchen time.


About the Author

Brandi Schilhab

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  1. HI thanks for your site! I’m concerned about length of time in the fridge – what’s the longest you can store prepped veggies such as: cucumber, mushrooms, green beans, and broccoli? Do they lose flavor being processed like that?

    While I do prep SOME items (onions, green peppers, cole-slaw), I don’t prep others because they store so well in the fridge whole – zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, and on the counter – tomatoes.

    One more quick question – do you ONLY buy veggies you’re planning to use within the week’s menu? Nothing extra? I guess I’m a little concerned about waste, and I’m throwing away way too much because I’m making menus and obvious don’t follow through because of mitigating timing (like an afternoon appointment that goes into evening and now I don’t have time to prep – so we get take-out.

    Thank you for any thoughts!!

    1. Hi! Thanks for reaching out. I don’t typically prep cucumber ahead of time (I find that it keeps better left whole), but I’ll prep fruits/veggies like broccoli and green beans up to 4 days in advance. I don’t find that they lose any flavor. This is totally up to you, though! If you prefer keeping your veggies whole until it’s time to cook them, do that!

      I do only buy veggies I plan on using. In fact, with the price of groceries right now, I don’t buy many extras at all. I make a menu each week with 1 or 2 breakfast options and 5 dinners (we do leftovers for lunch), and buy all groceries needed for those recipes. The only extras I buy are snacks and things for my kids. I always plan on my family eating dinner at home at least 5 nights a week (usually 6), but if something does pop up, I make the meal I planned on making the following night (so scoot everything by a night). I hope that makes sense!

  2. But how do you keep chopped peeled potatoes from turning brown??? Or does it just not matter?

    1. Hi Rachel! Yes, the potatoes will brown some when precut and stored in glass jars. It helps if the storage container is airtight (like a mason jar). Oxidation occurs once the potatoes are cut, but does not have an impact on the taste or edibility of the potatoes. So it really comes down to personal preference on the appearance of your potatoes. If you want to try to avoid oxidation, you can always store your cut potatoes in water covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. -Melissa

    1. The browning does not affect the taste. Rinse with vinegar if you want to preserve the color/.

    2. Yes, the potatoes will brown some when precut and stored in glass jars. It helps if the storage container is airtight (like a mason jar). Oxidation occurs once the potatoes are cut, but does not have an impact on the taste or edibility of the potatoes. Some people choose to submerge cut potatoes in water in the fridge for up to 24 hours ahead of when they want to use them to preserve their original color. We find for time-saving purposes, it is worth it to go ahead and give them a chop when prepping in advance and don’t mind the oxidation process coming into effect. If you prefer, you can rinse them and wait to cut until you are ready to cook, or cut and store your cut potatoes in cold water, covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I hope that helps! -Melissa