Bringing lunch to work isn’t just a way to save money. It’s also a way to eat well, both in terms of flavor and health. These meal prep lunch ideas will help.
Lunch meal prep starts with a plan. What do you want to eat? What do you like to snack on? What will you pack for your main lunch dish?
That’s where these meal prep lunch ideas come in. Beyond being easy to prepare for several days’ meals, these dishes are also big in flavor and flexible too. Mix and match the recipes you find here with pasta, rice or even a big, fluffy batch of quinoa.
Some salads — like caesar salad or tossed salad — are best made in the morning, transported with dressing on the side and enjoyed the same day at lunch time. Others, like the ones included here, are perfect for meal prep since they can be completely made in advance.
One batch of soup can be lunch for several people for days. It’s simple, easy and great for making ahead.
These protein recipes can be eaten in a variety of ways: with a grain, on salad, alone, on rolls. The flexibility means that you can transform one dish into several easily during the week. Also consider making a batch of hard-cooked eggs, which make a great protein for lunches too.
Condiments and Sides
Scooped onto bowls, served alongside, dipped or spooned onto things, these condiments and sides will elevate your make-ahead meals.
Pickled Red Cabbage
This recipe isn’t the sweet variety of pickled cabbage (like you’d find jarred in the grocery store). It’s bold and tangy; a brilliant side dish.
Lemon Rosemary White Bean Dip
The creamy Lemon Rosemary White Bean Dip is filled with a wonderful mix of earthy rosemary, pungent garlic and tangy lemon zest. A perfect dip!
Peppery radishes get a sweet dill makeover in this easy recipe for pickled radishes. These are great on rice bowls, salads and so much more.
Spicy Mango Salsa
Spicy Mango Salsa is a sweet and spicy salsa, perfect for dipping, spooning onto nachos and tacos and enjoying with omelets.
Garlic Ginger Carrot and Cucumber Quick Pickles
With a quick pickling process, these Garlic Ginger Carrot and Cucumber Quick Pickles are easy to make and have a lovely Asian-inspired flavor.
Lunch meal prep, explained
Learn more about lunch meal prep in this handy resource: Everything you need to know about lunch meal prep.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.