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Easy Meal Prep Ideas That’ll Make You Queen of Lunch

Created December 11, 2019
lunch meal prep
Tired of wasting money buying lunch during the workweek? Same. Let’s do something about it.
You can fight the convenience of cafeteria food and save money, thanks to these easy meal prep ideas. If you know where to start, you can create a week’s worth of tasty make-ahead meals that your coworkers will be jealous of. Plus, your lunch meal prep won’t take all weekend to execute either—we promise.

The key to coming up with a lunch meal prep plan that you’ll actually stick to is to pick recipes that are easy to prepare, that keep well when stored in the fridge for up to a week, and that taste delicious enough that you won’t get bored of them. We’ve gathered up our favorite lunch-ready recipes by category to get you started. Note: most of these recipes make four servings, because even we like to treat ourselves to a store-bought lunch at least once a week.

Grain Bowls

grain bowls

A base of grain makes a great blank slate for a week’s worth of lunches. If you cook a big batch of rice, farro or quinoa over the weekend, you can add basically anything you want to it for a variety of meals. If you are making a grain bowl with a dressing or sauce, keep that and other wet ingredients stored in a separate smaller container until you are ready to assemble your lunch—that way, your grains won’t get overly soggy. Here are a few of our favorite lunch meal prep ideas that all start with a hearty grain:

Lettuce Wraps

lettuce wrap prep ingredients

Let’s pivot away from grain bowls and turn our attention to lettuce wraps. Like a salad but more badass because they don’t fall apart when you hold them, a lettuce wrap is a great way to keep work-lunch light and fresh. Most lettuce wraps come with some sort of mixture in the middle, so to keep your lunches tasting fresh all week long, keep that pre-made mixture separate from the lettuce leaves until the morning of. If the inner mixture tastes best when it’s been warmed up, keep the lettuce leaves separate from the mixture until it’s lunchtime, then heat the mixture and assemble. Here are a few of our favorite meal-prep-friendly lettuce wraps for a perfect desk lunch:

Taco Bowls

taco bowl prep ingredients

Much like a leaf of lettuce or a helping of rice, a taco bowl is also a great vessel for premade lunches. Our theory is that if you have a base for your lunch, your meal-prepping will be a lot easier and quicker. Since a taco bowl tastes better warm, keep any fresh components like salsa, slaw or veggies in a separate container until after you’ve heated up the taco bowl, then combine. Here are some of our favorite bowl-filling lunch ideas:

Make-Ahead Soup

Cauliflower Pesto Gnocchi Soup with Parmesan Croutons

When planning a week’s worth of lunches, you can’t go wrong with soup. And if you’re the type who tires of the same flavor day after day, soup might be the best option for you because you can freeze half of the recipe so it’s ready for future lunches down the road. Pair your bowl of soup with crackers or toast for a filling meal. We have so many soup recipes just waiting to be a part of your lunch routine—check them out for yourself.

Sandwiches & Wraps

Thai Chicken Salad Wraps

And finally, the O.G. of make-ahead lunch: the sandwich, featuring his little brother, the wrap! Be sure to tightly wrap each sandwich or wrap in an air-tight container or in plastic wrap to keep the freshness in and the carbs from getting stale. Then pair with a piece of fruit, crackers or bag of chips, and lunch is made.