Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

Make lunch count! These are my go-to healthy meal prep ideas, packable make-ahead recipes, and even my favorite meal prep containers.

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

It’s February, which means that we’re a whole month past the “healthy new year” enthusiasm that we all might have had 34 days ago when the clock struck January 2nd… but I’m here to tell you that you it’s ok(!) if you turned to cheesy comfort food during the polar vortex or if you’re craving chocolate now that Valentine’s Day is getting close. In my opinion, life is too short to (ever) feel guilty about food and one thing that helps me feel balanced is to aim for a healthy lunch.

When I worked in an office, the lunches I packed were some of the healthiest meals I’d eat in a week. They were full of fresh veggies, they kept me from eating out, and they were satisfying enough to keep me from getting too snack-y in the middle of the afternoon. Today, I’m sharing my favorite types of healthy meals to pack for lunch, along with my best tips for prepping and taking them to go.

Do you have tips for packing healthy lunches? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below with your favorite piece of advice.

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

Sturdy salads

My favorite category of weekday lunch. We’re talking pasta salads, noodle salads, slaws, leafless salads, and, of course, kale salads. Vegetables and noodles that hold up well (or even improve) when dressed ahead of time are ideal here.

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

Bowls

Essentially salad’s heartier cousin. My favorite bowls consist of a grain, a protein (chickpeas, lentils, baked tofu, etc.), plenty of raw + cooked veggies, and a yummy sauce. Top with nuts, seeds, herbs, or something pickled for extra texture and pops of flavor.

  • How to meal prep: Depending on the recipe you’re making, cook a big batch of grains ahead of time and prep your protein of choice. This could mean cooking a batch of chickpeas, draining and rinsing canned beans if that’s more your style, or baking cubes of tofu. Mix up your sauce, and chop, steam, or roast veggies for your bowl.
  • How to pack: I like to layer bowl components separately within a single container and mix them together as I eat. Pack sauce on the side!
  • What to make:

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

Sandwiches and wraps

Sandwiches and wraps can get a bad rap as a less-than-healthy lunch, but if you fill them with plenty of fresh veggies and plant-based protein, they can be a great take-to-work choice. Veggies with a hearty spread, chickpea salad, or planks of baked tofu or tempeh are all great vegan filling options. If you’re not vegan, a little cheese can go a long way in adding flavor and staying power to a sandwich.

  • How to meal prep: Sandwiches are best made day-of, but for speedy morning assembly, prep components over the weekend. For example, make a batch of a yummy spread like this spinach hummus, pulse together a chickpea salad, or marinate & bake tempeh for this club sandwich. I also recommend washing and drying greens and thinly slicing crisp veggies ahead of time. In the morning (or the night before), layer your bread with your prepared components. Your lunch will be ready in minutes!
  • How to pack: I like to wrap sandwiches in foil to help them hold together during travel. If you eat sandwiches often, a reusable wrap might be a worthwhile investment.
  • What to make:

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas

Leftovers

Last but not least, leftovers(!) are a great lunch to take to work. Many soups, stews, and curries taste better on the second day, so you’ll do yourself a favor by setting aside a serving for lunch. Loaded veggie pizzas and veggie patties also keep well.

Happy lunching!

4 comments

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  1. Daniella from daniellamariedesign.com
    02.05.2019

    This post could not have come at a better time! Love all your ideas! Thank you.

  2. Caoimhe
    02.06.2019

    This is exactly what I needed to see today, this is so great!

  3. Sarah | Well and Full
    02.06.2019

    Reading this article was perfect timing for me, because I’ve just recently started thinking about how I want to step up my lunch game. All of these were such inspiring ideas! 🙂

  4. You made the boring food look wow! You inspired me to cook better and more importantly a healthy and yummylicious meal! Thank You, keep up the good work!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.