23 Meal Prep Recipes for People Who Just Want to Have Lunch
Believe it or not, Instagramming about your #wellnessjourney is not required.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin.
You do not have to be a CrossFit-doing, keto-diet-following, Lululemon-wearing millennial in order to be a person who meal preps. In fact, lets take this moment to reclaim the concept of meal prepping from the overly health-conscious assholes out there. What meal prepping all boils down to is making sure you have a lunch to take to work all week long so you don’t subsist on coffee and water and that limp granola bar you found in the bottom of your desk drawer until you finally cave and order takeout at 3 PM. This is both for your health—not in a *healthy* way, but in a, like, your body needs calories before mid-afternoon way—and for your budget. Desperate Seamlessing starts to take a toll on your bank account after a while. There’s just no need for this, friends.
Sure, it takes a little bit of advanced planning and sacrificing your Sunday evening to putting in a little kitchen time, but you’ll be happy you did come Monday afternoon. The key to effective meal prepping is not just making big batches of things, it's picking things that actually hold well in the fridge for several days, and also reheat well in a work setting. (Made homemade pho this weekend? Good for you! Now try assembling that, bean sprouts and all, in your office kitchen's microwave.) We pulled together a bunch of recipes that are first and foremost delicious, but that also exhibit all of the other important habits of highly effective meal prepping. Please don’t be someone who Instagrams it, though. (Although if you do, tag us! ;) )
Chicken thighs are cheap, taste way better than chicken breasts, and, if you’re not worried about maintaining a perfectly crispy crust on the skin, reheating these guys is super simple.
Feeling like Monday might be a wing and thigh day, but you might be more in the mood for white meat on Tuesday? Roast a whole chicken and take your pick of parts to suit your mood.
This is it. This should be the end of the list. If by some chance you happened to not put two and two together, let us remind you: the Japanese have been winning the meal prep game since far before any fitness bloggers started putting quinoa and blanched veggies in Tupperware. You can watch chef Elena Yamamoto put together this bento box in a video, too.
Make meal prep easy with a one-sheet salmon recipe like this one, that comes together in under a half-hour, and wonder why you've been so freaking lazy and not doing this before.
Meatballs are an ever-popular meal prep category for protein for some reason that we can’t quite identify, but we’re just going to go with it. You most certainly don’t have to make these meatballs out of bison meat—substituting a lean ground beef would be fine.
The painfully health conscious version of meal prepping will have you believe that no grain or starch belongs in your Tupperware other than brown rice or quinoa. Eff that. This rice—cooked with chicken stock for extra flavor—also has a hearty amount of sauteed kale, so that’s one more way to get your veggies in for the day.
Why choose bland, boring white rice when you can have wild rice? With a mild dandelion green pesto, this rice makes for a flavorful starch that will go with any number of proteins and veggies.
This kimchi fried rice is one of our most popular recipes here at MUNCHIES, and we think it would look real good in your lunch box.
Get these potatoes nice and crisp by rotating and flipping them while they roast in the oven, then let them cool completely before putting them in containers for the week so they maintain at least a little texture.
Treat yourself to the least sad desk lunch possible with fancy AF Hasselback potatoes with tons of fresh rosemary and olive oil.
Maybe you know that lunch isn’t your only problem spot of the day. Maybe you get hungry as soon as you get to your desk and have to stop yourself from getting a candy bar from the office vending machine at 10 AM. Make a big batch of chef Michael Solomonov’s hummus and bring a Ziploc of raw veggies for dipping, and you’ve got yourself covered when the urge to snack hits.
Simple roasted chickpeas—from a can! You don’t even have to worry about cooking them yourself from their dry state!—and garlic mashed potatoes are a winning combo for lunchtime, and they’ll go well with just about any protein you want. (Or forego meat altogether!)
If you’re not meal prepping for the sake of maintaining your triathalon training routine, then blanched or steamed veggies are wholly unnecessary. These roasted carrots, with plenty of olive oil and tangy yogurt and crispy garlic, are by no means dull.
Roasted root veggies are a simple way to make meal prep super easy and efficient (chop, toss with oil and salt, put in oven—done!), with a reliable reheat outcome. (They won’t be AS CRISP as they are coming out of the oven when you nuke ‘em, but they’ll be close.)
This is the kind of dish that is so hearty and full of tasty components that its basically a whole meal in and of itself, but it would work well as a side to whatever protein you’re feeling this week.
Keeping all your veg components raw ensures that this slaw will stay crisp and fresh even if you’re storing it in the fridge for a few days.
This darling of every modern American cuisine-serving restaurant in the United States in the last 10 years is also a super simple option for making in big batches for lunches throughout the week.
Looking to keep lunchtime vegan for a change? Give Natalie Portman’s simple chickpea and veggie stew a try. Pack it with rice or barley.
It’s hard to make a bunch of sandwiches in advance without everything going soggy, but a galette? This’ll keep in the fridge all week, and all you need is a simple side salad to call it a full meal.
All this eggplant and tofu one-sheet-wonder needs in order to be lunch is a bed of the grain of your choice.
Want to give meal prepping breakfast a try, too? Make yourself a nutrient-packed smoothie the night before, and wake up to what will definitely be a much better morning than usual. Skip the cannabis honey, maybe—or don't.
If you make a big batch of this recipe in advance, you've got a snack or breakfast ready to go all week—just add yogurt.
Have your blueberry chia pudding all ready to go and soaking overnight, then top with whatever other mix-ins you've got on hand (nuts, fresh fruit, coconut flakes) for a virtuous and tasty start to the day.