Healthy 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 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 meal prep ideas, tricks, and tips.

Do you have go-to tips for healthy make-ahead lunches? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below with your best meal prep ideas!

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas

Here are favorite meal prep ideas:

#1: 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 Meal Prep Ideas

#2: 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.

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas

#3: 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:
  • Falafel
  • Chickpea Shawarma Wraps
  • Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches
  • Spinach Hummus Lunch Wraps
  • Chickpea Pan Bagnat

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas

#4: 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.

Let me know what your favorite meal prep ideas are!

If you loved these meal prep ideas, check out our healthy breakfast ideas, healthy lunch ideas, and easy dinner ideas!

5.0 from 2 reviews

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas - Broccoli Quinoa Bowls

 
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Cook time
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Author:
Recipe type: main course
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into pieces
  • 3 large kale leaves, chopped (about 3 loose packed cups)
  • Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 watermelon radish, or 3 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup fresh leafy herbs (ie, mint, basil, and/or dill)
  • 1 batch Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 batch Lemony Pea Pesto
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water and a large bowl of ice water. Drop the broccolini into the boiling water and blanch for about 1 minute, or until tender but still vibrant green. Transfer the broccolini to the ice water and let it cool for 1 minute. Drain and set aside to dry as you make the other components.
  2. Place the kale into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Massage the leaves until they soften and wilt down.
  3. Divide the quinoa among 4 meal prep containers. Add the kale, watermelon radish, avocado, herbs and broccolini. Season with drizzles of olive oil, squeezes of lemon juice, and sprinkles of salt and pepper. Add the roasted chickpeas and top with dollops of pesto.

12 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  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!

  5. Haley
    04.03.2019

    So many meal prep ideas. I love it!

  6. Simone Athena Santollo David
    05.06.2019

    I really love broccollies its so yummy healthy tasty vegan preparation. Recipes and tips are fantastic! Thank you..

  7. Sally from battlecreekcarpetcleaning.com
    05.29.2019

    Do you have any ideas on how to ‘fix’ a vegetable if its a bit older than you would like/bought some bad ones. Throwing them out would be a bit wasteful, but it’s not as good as fresh ones.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.29.2019

      Hi Sally, I love this idea for a whole new post – thank you, I’m inspired to come up with a group of ideas around this topic!

  8. Scarlet
    08.20.2019

    I love all your ideas for healthy meal prep and how you break it down for prep and packing. That broccoli quinoa recipe looks fab too. Pinning to try soon!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.21.2019

      thank you! I hope you love the recipes!

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.