Opening up my refrigerator on a Monday and seeing meals that are already prepared is seriously beneficial. Meal prepping takes some effort over the weekend, but it’s worth it! This is especially true when lunch time rolls around. Anyone else start to get hangry around 1 pm? Typically I am not able to eat lunch until 1 or 2 pm, and by that time I’m starving. And I am on the verge of fussing at my kids simply because of hunger! Having meals prepped and ready-to-eat eliminates that mean mommy-ness. 😉
Last week I shared 6 healthy ways to meal prep for breakfast, and today I have 7 healthy lunch meal prep ideas for you!
I need you to know that I am NOT a perfect eater. My portions are always too large, and I am forever tempted by tortilla chips and sweets. But, I am not into food waste, so if I have vegetables and other healthy items prepared ahead of time, it’s easier for me to choose to eat those over chips for lunch.
These 7 lunches can be prepped ahead of time, they keep well, and they help you save money on your lunch break.
Chicken, Grains and Greens
Kale Salads. One of the great things about kale, besides all of the nutritional value, is that it does not wilt easily. It can be made into a salad ahead of time without becoming too soft. Plus a little goes a long way and it is very affordable. I like to add crunchy vegetables, a protein, some kind of nuts or seeds, then a dressing on the side.
The above picture shows 2 types of kale salads prepped for the week ahead. One has boiled egg, cucumber, carrots, and hemp seeds. The other has bacon, pepitas, carrots, and I added chopped apple the day of.
leftover grilled chicken, kale, strawberries, avocado, balsamic dressing
Chicken Salad. Preparing shredded chicken in the crock pot is super simple, and making that into chicken salad is easy as well. Plus it will last in the refrigerator for several days. I usually make mine with chicken, paleo mayonnaise (avocado oil and cage free egg based), apple cider vinegar, pickles, celery, and salt and pepper. This is delicious in lettuce wraps!
You could also try this Pomegranate, Apple, Pecan Chicken Salad
Lettuce Wraps. These are a perfectly healthy alternative to burritos or other deli-style wraps. Butter or bibb lettuce make the best cradle for any ingredient you like. I have 3 go-to ways of filling them: 1. leftover chicken, veggies, avocado 2. chicken salad 3. Greek salad ingredients with hummus.
Snack Plates. Who doesn’t love a tray full of pretty food? I know every time I have hosted an event or dinner party, the cheese and charcuterie tray is one of the first things to go. This is a healthier, lunch-style version of that. Combine any fruit, veggies, deli meat, dried fruit, nuts, and plantain chips or crackers for an anything-but-boring lunch! All of these items can be prepped ahead, and we all know that having fruit and vegetables prepped in the refrigerator is key.
Chicken and Sides. This looks like dinner, but it’s actually so easy to prepare in advance. Marinate and grill a batch of chicken over the weekend, cook some quinoa (I always cook mine in chicken stock), and roast a green vegetable. Portion it out into portable containers to pack in a cooler each day for lunch. These are our two favorite chicken marinades: chili lime cilantro and honey mustard.
Buddha Bowl. Hands down my favorite type of lunch! These are vegetarian, but you could also add chicken or even an egg. Quinoa is a great source of protein, and obviously these vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients. I like to roast several sheet pans worth of vegetables over the weekend, including carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. These “bowls” are also delicious topped with a little goat cheese if you’re eating dairy. Buddha bowls can be made of any healthy grains and vegetables you like. I also like to add kale or spinach, avocado, sometimes a fried egg, hemp seeds, and Frank’s hot sauce!
Paleo Sandwich Bread. If you are gluten-, grain-, or dairy-free, this idea is for you! Recently I have made paleo blender bread, and it is kind of amazing! If you are craving a sandwich, you’ve got to try this! FYI, the sandwich in the picture has hummus, which is not paleo.
I hope these ideas are helpful! Here’s to healthy lunching. 🙂