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Your Guide to Meal Prepping Healthy Lunches for the Week

Your Guide to Meal Prepping Healthy Lunches for the Week

Words Heather Ramsdell

Weekday lunches have to be filling to get you through the rest of the day and easy to transport or put together if you’re not eating it at home. Try these easy recipe ideas to get started meal prepping.

We want to use the weekend to prep everything (breakfast & lunch) so it’s smooth sailing with healthy options waiting in the fridge for us. Each of the components is adaptable, so after four weeks, by the time you’re bored, the habit of planning and prepping may have already taken root! At that point, expand, play, and adapt. Read on for the recipes, plus get more meal prepping tips.

Healthy Meal Prep Lunch Ideas

  • Poached Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon
  • Roasted Veggie Chips + Black Pepper Dill Yogurt Dressing
  • Big Batch Quinoa
  • 4 Soups-in-One

Poached Chicken or Seafood

Poaching is an easy way to get tasty results. Here we use the same ingredients for poaching chicken, salmon and shrimp. Gently poached chicken breasts are mild and sweet tasting, juicy and tender. They make some of the nicest chicken salad around, but you can shred them for chicken tacos, slice or chop for salad, or even toss into a stir-fry.

Poaching salmon is easy and requires very little cleanup. The result is tender and mild.

Shrimp takes just a minute in the poaching liquid and yields great results for any salad or grain bowl.

Poached Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 ½ lbs), 1 ½ lbs salmon filet, pin bones removed, skin off or 1 pound large shrimp

¼ tsp peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1 crushed garlic clove

Handful of celery leaves

Lemon rind, optional

1 ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Put a silicone steamer into a medium pot and nestle the chicken, salmon domed-side-up or shrimp on the sling. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic clove, celery, and two five-finger pinches of salt. Add water to cover the chicken by about half an inch.
  2. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic clove, celery, and two five-finger pinches of salt. Add water to cover the protein by about half an inch.
  3. Bring the water just to a boil over high heat. Turn it down to a simmer so the bubbles slow down but the water will still move.
  4. For chicken: Cover and simmer until the center of the chicken breasts reach 160 degrees when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 15 minutes.
  5. For salmon: Simmer until the salmon is firm to the touch and just cooked through to the center of the thickest part, about 5 minutes, or about 130 degrees on a digital thermometer.
  6. For shrimp: Simmer until the shrimp turn pink and curl and are just cooked through to the center of their thickest part about 1 minute. Pull the shrimp from the water and lower the steamer into the ice water to stop the cooking.
  7. Transfer all proteins to a sealable container and store refrigerated until ready to eat.

Healthy Chips & Dip Recipe

Making your own chips is easier than you think,  especially if you use a mandoline to easily slice your veggies thin. They’re healthier than store bought chips and you can “chip-ify” so many different things, from beets and carrots to parsnips and apples. Get our favorite healthy chip recipes here and tips on how to use your mandoline for restaurant-quality results. Then make the Black Pepper Dill Yogurt Dressing below and enjoy your healthy chips and dip.

Black Pepper Dill Yogurt Dressing

Makes 5 servings:

Ingredients

1 cup greek yogurt

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Juice and zest from half lemon

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into a dressing shaker. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are smooth and combined. Divide into 5 small containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Shake before use.

Quinoa Recipe

This quinoa is ready to eat. Bring it as a salad, make it into the bed for a veggie bowl or stir fry. Optional flavorings such as a pinch of curry, smashed garlic clove, ginger slices, red chili flakes, olive oil, or a parmesan rind can bring interest and fun to this simple and nutritious dish.

Breakfast & Lunch Prep-19

Big Batch Quinoa

Makes 4 cups:

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa

4 cups water

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in water. Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium pot to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the grains plump and cook through and the white thread becomes visible around each grain, 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork, replace the lid and let rest another 5 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Meal Prep Soup Base Recipe

This soup base is incredibly versatile and can easily be made into four (or more) different kinds of soups, just by making a few tweaks and additions. Try the four ideas below or get creative and make up your own soup ideas. Plus, check out these tips for making and storing better soups.

Soup-12

4 Soups-in-One Base

Makes 4 quarts soup:

Ingredients

8 cups vegetable stock

¼ cup olive oil

2 onions, very finely minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they are soft and just turning golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, continue to stir, cooking until the garlic is fragrant, another minute. Add stcok. Remove from the heat, divide broth and onions into four equal portions.

Use the Base Above to Make These Varieties:

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 3 cups cubed butternut, steamed until soft
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Toasted pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Put 2 cups of the stock with some onions, butternut, and curry powder into a blender. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve, heat the soup and garnish with toasted pepitas

Beet Dill Soup

  • 3 medium cooked beets with skins
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Generous grindings black pepper
  • Sour cream for garnish

Put ½ cup of stock, the beets, dill, vinegar, and black pepper into a food processor and pulse to chop beets into uneven pieces no larger than peas. They should still have some texture. Transfer to a container with 1 1/2 cups of the stock with some onions. Taste and season with salt. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve, heat the soup or serve chilled, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and sprig of dill.

Black Bean Soup

  • 3 cups drained, cooked black beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro stems
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • Cilantro, jalapeno slices and yogurt, for garnish

Pulse some of the beans in a food processor to break them, up and release their starch. Add the rest of the beans, chili powder, cilantro, and lime juice to the food processor with 2 cups of the stock with some onions. Pulse to combine. Taste and season with salt. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve heat in a medium saucepan over high heat until steaming, and add cilantro leaves, jalapeno and a dollop of yogurt for garnish.

Tomato Soup

  • 1 15.5 ounce can tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Croutons for serving

Put 2 cups of the stock with some onions, the tomatoes, parmesan, and olive oil with the onions into a food processor. Pulse to puree. Transfer to a container. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. To serve, heat in a medium saucepan over high heat until steaming, top with croutons.

Ready to get meal prepping? Learn the building blocks of a perfect meal prep lunch, plus the supplies you’ll need and easy recipes that freeze well.

Shop this post

OXO Silicone Pressure Cooker Steamer OXO Silicone Pressure Cooker Steamer Shop Now
Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Shop Now
One Stop Chop Manual Food Processor One Stop Chop Manual Food Processor Shop Now
16-Piece Smart Seal Glass Container Set 16-Piece Smart Seal Glass Container Set Shop Now
Stainless Steel Pro 13-Piece Cookware Set Stainless Steel Pro 13-Piece Cookware Set Shop Now
By Heather Ramsdell

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