Are you stuck in a routine of buying an overpriced, unhealthy lunch from a cafeteria just because you think you don't have time to make lunch? I'm going to show you how easy it can be to take just a couple of hours over the weekend to make lunch. Meal-prepping is the only way I get to bring a healthy and tasty lunch to work. If I didn't take a couple of hours on the weekend to meal-prep, I would have to buy lunch and I refuse to do that! So the next time you think you don't have time to meal-prep, think seriously about what else you are doing that is so important. I bet most of the time, you can make lunch and still have time to do other things.
Here are 7 of the best lunch ideas to meal-prep with recipes. You won't believe how easy meal-prepping can be.
#1 STIR FRY'S
I love stir fry's for lunch or dinner because you can rely on frozen organic vegetables, which are already chopped. That makes life so much easier and faster. Add a variety of sauces or herbs or spices. Then layer the vegetables on rice or pasta. If you feel like you need meat, chop up a chicken breast or cook up ground turkey or chicken. Below are recipes for stir fry's and some sauce only recipes.
Easy Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry with Zoodles from Cook Eat Paleo
Pea and Farro Stir-Fry from SELF
Egg Roll Skillet Stir Fry from Cooking Classy
Garlicky Swiss Chard & Chickpea Stir Fry from Dishing Up the Dirt
Spicy Pork and Asparagus Stir Fry from Nom Nom Paleo
#2 SALAD BOWLS
Salad bowls are another easy prep meal because you can make a bunch at a time. I usually bring dressing on the side so the salad doesn't get soggy. Salad varieties are endless! With or without meat; use whole grains or not; add legumes or meat or temphe or tofu. I included recipes for dressings as well. While I would love to tell you that buying dressing at the grocery store is OK, it really isn't. Pre-made dressings have a lot of refined sugar and sodium, making a healthy salad not so healthy. Try to make a batch of your own and store it in the refrigerator.
Salmon Quinoa Bowl from SELF
Greek Salad Bowl from Rainbow Delicious
Taco Salad Lunch Bowl from Kristine's Kitchen Blog
Mexican Quinoa Chicken Salad Lunch Bowl from Project Meal Plan
Vegan Sushi Bowl from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken
#3 PASTA DISHES
Pasta is not just for dinner. Pasta dishes can be very healthy especially with the variety of options available. There is pasta made from legumes, rice flour and vegetables. Make pasta salad, pasta bowls or pasta bakes. Sauces can be really easy such as tomato sauce or pesto. I really love Simply Organic Pesto Sauce Mix. It is so easy to make and it is organic, which is so much better for our bodies since we are avoiding chemicals and pesticides.
Easy Pasta Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod
Almond Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Chicken from Sweet Peas and Saffron
Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad from Budget Bytes
Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Pasta from She Knows
Penne Pasta Primavera from Yellow Bliss Road
Soup is a very hearty lunch. Especially because you can add lots of vegetables. Also, soup can be hot or cold. There are so many unique ways to make soup, I'll just let you enjoy the recipes below.
Healthy Barley Soup from Watch What U Eat
Beef Potato and Quinoa Soup from Skinny Taste
Simple Chicken Soup with Spring Veggies from The Cozy Apron
Easy Gazpacho Recipe from Love and Lemons
Peach Gazpacho from Love and Olive Oil
#5 PROTEIN BOXES
At the local grocery store, they sell protein snacks with nuts, cheese and a lean meat. Why not make that yourself? You can customize it to how you like to eat your proteins. Maybe you aren't a big fan of cheese or are lactose intolerant. You can replace it with dairy-free cheese or another lean protein source. Also, don't use lunch meat in this type of lunch. It is full of nitrates which, in some cases, can damage cells and morph into molecules that may cause cancer. (Source: Live Science) Instead, boil organic eggs or cook and slice chicken breasts instead.
Chicken Whole Wheat Avocado Tomato Mixed Berries from Ambitious Kitchen
Tortellini Skewer Lunch Prep Boxes from The View From Great Island
Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box from Kay Nutrition
DIY Bistro Box from Good Cheap Eats
Pesto Chicken Wrap Bento Box from Fit Foodie Finds
#6 SANDWICHES AND WRAPS
There are so many options to make sandwiches with or without bread. Portabello mushrooms make a hearty "bun" or an avocado as a "bun". Look at how interesting sandwiches can be!
Low Carb Cucumber Sandwich Recipe from Organize Yourself Skinny
Lettuce Wrap Sandwich from Lexis Clean Kitchen
Avocado Turkey Hummus Wrap from A Sweet Pea Chef
Loaded Veggie Wraps from Food with Feeling
Ranch Veggie Wraps from a Mindful Mom
#7 STUFFED POTATOES
The most basic stuffed potato can be made healthier. I usually whip up the potatoes and then stir in cooked chopped spinach or broccoli florets. But look at how creative you can get with stuffing potatoes! This takes lunch to a whole new level.
Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato with Feta, Olives and Sundried Tomatoes from Gourmande
Baked Potato Tacos from Framed Cooks
Thai Baked Sweet Potatoes from A Couple Cooks
Twice Baked Salsa Potatoes with Veggies from Oh My Veggies
Baked Potato with Ground Beef and Broccoli from SELF
I hope this post about lunch ideas inspires you to make more of your own lunches. If you make any of the above, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heather_lee_donahue and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share!
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