Chili is a great option for healthy meal prep. This classic comfort food makes for a hearty dinner and an easy meal prep idea for the next day.

One time saving tip for meal prep is to just cook extra for your dinner and set it aside for your meal prep for lunch the day after. After all, you already did most of the work, now you get to enjoy your hard work twice.

Simple and Easy Classic Chili for Healthy Meal Prep
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Some consider meal prep to just be “leftovers”. When done the right way with portion control and better side options, your leftovers can be a nourishing dinner and a healthy meal prep option.

When you’re craving some comfort food, chili is a great option. It’s just one of the foods that taste better the next day. It can generally be made with items you already have in your refrigerator and pantry.

ground beef for chili, simmering on stove

Once you have a basic chili recipe, feel free to experiment and add or subtract different things. You can try ground turkey instead of ground beef for a leaner protein. You can also omit meat entirely for a vegetarian option. Traditional Texas chili doesn’t include beans.

For this chili recipe, I like to keep the simple, that’s why it’s a classic chili. You can alter different amounts of the spice to your specific taste. This simple chili recipe is a great “base” chili recipe to build upon. The chili itself require very little prep work, perhaps the chopping of an onion or garlic.

broccoli cooking for meal prep

While the chili was simmering and blending all of the flavors together, I cooked some organic broccoli on the side. For some more veggies, I also made cauliflower rice. For some healthy carbs, I then combined it with some brown rice. If you’re doing keto or low carb, feel free to just use cauliflower rice or omit the rice completely for your meal prep.

cauliflower rice and brown rice for meal prep

cauliflower rice and brown rice for meal prep

The great thing about chili is that you can freeze it! If you’ve made a really big batch, you can divide some for your week’s meal prep and then freeze the rest for a few weeks.

I use the small microwave-friendly containers to separate my chili from my side. If you have sides, it’s also better to heat your chili separately (especially if it’s frozen)

Simple and Easy Homemade Chili for Healthy Meal Prep

Simple and Easy Classic Chili for Healthy Meal Prep

First, some frequently asked questions about chili for meal prep.

How to store chili

Once your chili has cooled off, you can store in an airtight container like this for your meal prep. For frozen chili, I prefer to store it in an airtight glass container like this, or if you are short on storage space, then you can store in a freezer bag.

How long does chili last in the fridge?

When chili is properly stored in a sealed container, it can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

How long does chili last in the freezer?

When properly stored, chili in the freezer can last 3-4 months for the best quality.

Simple and Easy Classic Chili for Healthy Meal Prepped for refrigerator

How long does chili last after being frozen and then thawed?

When you thaw frozen chili, it’s best to put in in the refrigerator to thaw. Chili that has been thawed in the fridge can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before cooking. If you thaw your chili in the microwave or stove top, that chili should be eaten immediately.

How can you tell if chili has gone bad

If you open the container and there’s a bad smell or weird appearance, it’s generally gone bad. If it tastes bad, throw it out. If it has mold growing on it, then definitely throw it out.

Simple and Easy Classic Chili Recipe for Healthy Meal Prep

Simple and Easy Classic Chili for Healthy Meal Prep

Simple and Easy Classic Chili for Healthy Meal Prep

A simple chili recipe with easy instructions for a healthy meal prep plan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 6
Calories 380 kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 gloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild salsa
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 tsp cornstarch optional
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Add oil to large pot and heat up for one minute on medium high heat. Add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
  • Add in ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat, if necessary. Pour in tomato sauce, salsa, and chili beans. Then add in chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well-combined
  • Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat low to simmer. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If chili is too watery, add 1tsp of cornstarch at a time to thicken.
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