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?
If it’s been awhile since you last packed lunches — or if you are just getting started — the key is to be organized about it. Start small, meal prepping one dish. Then work your way up to using more meal prep lunch ideas. By starting with a little meal prepping and working your way toward lots of meal prepping, you ensure that it doesn’t become an arduous or overwhelming process.
These meal prep lunch ideas will help. 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.
Salads for Easy Lunches
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.
Filled with bits of onions, carrots and celery and dressed with a variation on my very favorite dressing, Shallot Vinaigrette, this lentil salad is best served warm. It's a little tangy and totally satisfying.
This sultry Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad combines shredded Brussels sprouts, sweet shallots and carrot and potato, all roasted together simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s then tossed with a little balsamic vinegar before roasting some more.
Tender, sweet roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips and shallots with quinoa and peppery baby arugula are tossed with a bold sesame soy dressing. You can dig into this hot or cold — it’s delicious both ways.
This quick and easy recipe for Butternut Squash Soup can be topped with crispy shallots for a comforting fall and winter meal.
Proteins to Meal Prep for Lunch
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.
This easy, garlicky entree is lovely served with rice or mashed potatoes. With just five ingredients (oil, salt and pepper don’t count!), Chicken Snow Pea Skillet is a perfect stress-free dinner for tonight. Serve this easy, garlicky stir-fry with rice or mashed potatoes.
Chicken tenders are marinated in a tangy mixture of lemon, olive oil and spices in this easy recipe for chicken souvlaki.
Meal Prep Condiments and Sides
Scooped onto bowls, served alongside, dipped or spooned onto things, these condiments and sides will elevate your make-ahead meals. I especially love including these with meal prep bowls and salads, adding new dimension to favorite recipes.
I'm completely spoiled because I can make lunch every day. But I still find it so much easier to have everything prepped so I can just grab it when i'm hungry!
About The Author
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, writer, editor and recipe developer who loves fresh tomatoes from the garden, juicy burgers and tacos every day of the week. She is an expert on quick and easy cooking from scratch who loves to help others discover their own cooking prowess. She lives in Maine with her two kids.