How to Turn Your Summer BBQ Into a Week of Meals

Ingredients set out for a BBQ

We all know meal prep is an important way to get organized, save money and have a supply of healthy meals on hand. But when it’s hot and sunny outside, few of us want to be stuck inside the kitchen cooking. Luckily if you have a grill, you can create a week’s worth of healthy meals while enjoying yourself outdoors. Here’s a rundown of items that can all center around a Sunday barbecue of healthy seafood and white meats.

Start with Protein

Meal prep with grilled fish

An extremely efficient way to prep for the week is to grill up a few different proteins, which will serve as the centerpiece of your weekday meals. You can grill whatever you like—whether that’s fish (we like this recipe for Tilapia), shrimp or chicken breasts.

After your BBQ, pack the leftover protein up in the fridge to dole out during the week. Use them to top off fresh salads or serve with a side of vegetables. Cooked fish and meat lasts three to four days in the refrigerator. Cooked shrimp should be completely cooled then refrigerated within two hours of cooking, and stored in an airtight food storage bag or container.

Add Grilled Vegetables

Meal prep with grilled vegetables

Grilling vegetables is incredibly fast and easy, and provides a great smoky flavor you’ll love. You can cook most vegetables in aluminum foil packets, but a stainless steel grilling basket can also come in handy. Any vegetable can be grilled—you just need to know how long to cook each of them.

Squash, potatoes and onions need about 15 minutes on the grill, whereas tomatoes and green onions only need about 5 minutes. For the best results, cook similar vegetables together. You can also use skewers for an easy way to flip your veggies for even cooking. If you use wood skewers, be sure to soak them in water for about 20 minutes to avoid smoke.

Consider Carbs

Quinoa salad with fish and vegetables

If you have a side burner on your barbecue, you may also want to cook up some carbohydrate accompaniments. It takes 30 minutes or less to whip up some quinoa, boil a pot of pasta (you can try rice noodles or quinoa pasta if you are avoiding gluten), or cook up some couscous. You can then store in the fridge and reheat to serve as sides, or use as the basis for refreshing summer salads, such as tabbouleh.

Mix It Up

Mix and match meals with BBQ leftovers

Now that you have a supply of protein, grilled veggies and sides ready to go in your fridge, it’s time to mix and match to create a variety of meals. Here are some ideas:

  • Coconut pineapple shrimp skewers for dinner one night, then use any leftover shrimp to top off a simple mixed green salad.
  • Tilapia tacos with cucumber relish. Use any leftover fish in a vegetable hash.
  • A spinach and strawberry salad topped with a grilled chicken breast. Later in the week, you can use up any leftover chicken for another chicken salad, or make the same salad but put a Tilapia fillet on top.
  • Veggie sliders with potato salad, which you can transform into a delicious crispy roasted potato side dish later in the week.
  • Tabbouleh salad topped with strips of grilled chicken, or a skewer of scallops.

With a little advance planning and effort, you can prep a whole week’s worth of meals on Sunday while you enjoy time outside with your family and friends. Want more tips? Find out about some no-cook side dishes and which staples to include on your grocery list.

Photo credits: melis / Shutterstock Inc., Zsolt Balog / Shutterstock Inc., Africa Studio / Shutterstock Inc., Piyato / Shutterstock, Y Photo Studio / Shutterstock Inc.