Quick and easy meal prep lunches for when you’re on the go!
I’ll admit… I was reluctant to try meal prepping at first. I wasn’t convinced that it would actually save me time or money, and I didn’t like the idea of spending a chunk of my weekend in the kitchen. BUT–I decided to try it for a few weeks, and I began to appreciate it. I wouldn’t say that I love it, but I can say that I have saved myself both time and money by meal prepping. And, I’ve developed a system of go-to healthy meal prep lunches to make it a cinch!
I share more about my meal prepping strategies in my post Meal Prepping Made Simple.
In addition, meal prepping lunches for myself and myself and my husband allows us to eat healthy consistently. First of all, I buy all the ingredients and make it myself, so I can control what’s in our food. Secondly, I can properly portion out meals so that we get the right amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in each meal. With both of us being super active, it helps us stay on top of our nutrition.
Furthermore, meal prepping lunches has saved us money. Though eating out is sometimes necessary, we are less likely to spontaneously gab take-out if we know that there’s a meal already prepped for us. And, planning out meals to prep helps eliminate food waste. Plus, I can shop for exactly what we need for our meals that week–nothing more, nothing less. Here are some of my go-to, simple and healthy meal prep lunches.
My go-to healthy meal prep lunches
- Asian stir fry with basmati rice: This one can be made a variety of ways. I like to cook the rice on the stove top or in my pressure cooker. I use Trader Joe’s organic basmati rice from India (it is the easiest type of rice to digest). You can add an type of veggies you like–I either roast or saute veggies like broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus and more. You can also make this with meat (chicken, beef, shrimp) or make it vegetarian with tofu or tempeh. I usually scramble an egg and add to my husband’s dish for added protein. To add flavor, I make a sauce of grated ginger, minced garlic, this almond butter, sriracha, coconut aminos (soy-free soy sauce substitute), sesame oil, honey and sesame seeds. You could always use a store-bought one, but I like to know exactly what’s in my sauce. Many pre-made options can have added chemicals and sugar.
- Pesto pasta with asparagus and meat balls. This one is super easy. I basically buy all of the ingredients and assemble. I like to use Trader Joe’s lentil pasta and their kale cashew pesto, or sometimes I make my own. For the asparagus, I chop it into 1 inch pieces. Then, I roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. For the meatballs, I like to use Beetnik’s grass-fed beef meatballs–they’re both paleo and gluten-free. Also, they’re frozen and only need to be reheated in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Crunchy Thai quinoa salad: This vegan and gluten free salad is full of flavor! It’s also customizable to your dietary needs and preferences. Plus, it can be eaten hot or cold.
- This sweet potato, broccoli and chicken bake. I separate the chicken so I can eat the veggies alone!
- These paleo and lectin-free chicken tenders. I don’t eat meat, but my husband does and he loves these!
- Veggie burgers: I like these two recipes best. This Plant Paradox-friendly burger can be made with or without meat. This vegan burger is delicious as well, and can be made gluten-free.
Meal prep staples
These are foods I like to use in my go-to healthy meal prep lunches. They’re easy to cook, last a few days in the fridge, and they travel well.
Protein: ground beef, chicken, eggs, tofu, tempeh, shrimp, salmon, etc.
Veggies: (roasted) broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, (raw) salads, carrots with hummus, avocado (squeeze a little lemon juice on top to prevent browning)
Carbohydrates: roasted sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, millet, gluten-free pasta (I like this lentil pasta)
Snacks: I usually throw in a few extra snacks to complete the lunch so we can make it through a long workday. I like to pack mixed nuts, protein bars, protein shakes, fruit (apples and oranges travel well), or some sort of healthy-ish chips, popcorn, and sometimes a little chocolate!
Another great thing about these meal prep staples is that they can be cooked a variety of ways. You could use your pressure cooker, crock pot, air fryer, or just keep it simple by cooking in the oven or on the stove top.
Looking for ways to save money on groceries? See my post on Shopping for Healthy Food on a Budget.
Keys to meal prepping success
- Use portable and reheat-able containers, something that will taste good reheated, retaining flavor and freshness (like these from Amazon!).
- Make sure that what you prep will last for a few days and won’t go bad–you can always freeze meals, too, if this is an issue!
- If prepping salads, make sure to store the dressing separately to avoid soggy veggies.
- Use separate containers for hot and cold items so you can reheat only what you need to!