Healthy Meal Prep Lunch Ideas - Healthy recipes and cooking tips for a healthier lifestyle

Healthy Meal Prep Lunch Ideas

April 12, 2024
Healthy Meal Prep Lunch Ideas

One of the best ways to eat healthier while saving money is to meal prep lunch. By spending some time getting your lunches ready in advance, you’ll be setting yourself up for success because you’ll have a healthy meal ready to grab as you walk out the door each day, even when you’re short on time. The best lunch meal prep plan takes into consideration what you like to eat and how easy it is to store and transport the lunches you make.

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Stumped for meal prep ideas for lunch? We’ve put together several tips for easier meal prep along with healthy meal prep ideas for lunch and a selection of meal prep recipes that will keep you satisfied throughout the day. It may take some time to get used to meal prepping, but once you get the hang of it, you’re likely to wonder why you didn’t start meal prepping earlier! It’s easy to do, can save you lots of money (especially if it stops you from ordering take-out for lunch) and also helps you eat healthier.

Benefits of Meal Prepping for Lunch

While preparing any meal in advance can make your life easier, lunch really takes the cake when it comes to the benefits meal prep offers. That’s because lunch is often the meal you most commonly eat while you’re out of the house – whether at work, at school or on the run. It’s the time when you’re most likely to grab unhealthy foods from restaurants or take-out, costing you money and jeopardizing your commitment to healthy eating. But by spending time to meal prep lunch, you’ll always have a healthy meal on hand when you need it. This keeps more money in your pocket and also helps you stick to a healthy eating plan without feeling deprived or stressed.

5 Tips for Easy Lunch Meal Prep

There are no hard and fast rules for lunch meal prepping. Whatever works best for you will make you most successful. But here are a few tips that can make healthy lunch meal prep a breeze:

  • Plan what you want to eat throughout the week – This will make food shopping easier. You may also want to coordinate your lunch meal prep with what you plan to cook for other meals to make food prep even easier.
  • Decide if you’ll eat leftovers for lunch – One easy way to have a meal prepped lunch ready to go without much effort is to make extra for dinner and then pack it up to take with you for lunch the next day.
  • Make the same meal for multiple lunches – It’s easy to meal prep lunch if you’re willing to eat the same thing for more than one meal. That way, you can prepare food in a large quantity and divvy it up into more than one serving so you have lunch for a few days.
  • Use similar ingredients – Even if you don’t want to eat the same thing every day, you can save time and money by using the same ingredients in different ways. Grilled chicken can be used in a salad one day, a wrap the next and served with rice, beans and salsa on a third day.
  • Invest in quality storage containers – Meal prep containers don’t have to be anything fancy, but if you invest in quality containers that are sized and shaped to fit the kinds of meals you eat, you’ll find it easier to store and serve meals.

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes

Need some inspiration for meal prepping lunch? Here are some recipes worth trying, whether you prefer cold or hot lunches. They’re easy to make, store well and will fill you up. Trying to eat more protein? These high protein meal prep ideas also make great lunches.

Bowls and Salads

Chicken and Quinoa Buddha Bowl – You can store these in a jar for an easy and portable lunch to take on the go.


Veggie Chickpea Sandwiches - These work best when you make the filling ahead of time but wait to assemble the sandwiches shortly before eating.

Soups, Stews and Chili

Hearty Beef Stew - This is the perfect example of a healthy dinner that can be turned into a meal prepped lunch the next day.

How to Meal Prep Q&A

Here are answers to some common lunch meal prep questions:

How do I prevent my meal prepped lunch from getting soggy?

  • The best way to prevent soggy lunches is to use meal prep containers with separators so you can keep foods in their own compartments. If you’re making a sandwich or wrap, pack the filling separately and assemble the sandwich right before you eat.

Can I reheat lunch meal preps?

  • If you have a microwave where you eat lunch, it’s easy to reheat your lunch. Use glass meal prep containers instead of plastic if you want to reheat in the storage container or put the food on a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Don’t microwave food in plastic containers.

Are there any lunch meal preps that don't require reheating?

  • Don’t have access to a microwave or prefer cold lunches? Sandwiches, salads and bowls are some of the best meal prepped lunches. You can also bring a selection of cold finger foods, such as rolled deli, cut up veggies and dip, nuts and fruit.

How can I keep my meal prepped lunch safe to eat if I don't have access to a refrigerator?

  • To keep your lunch safe to eat, pack it in an insulated cooler with an ice pack. This should keep it cool enough until it’s time to eat. If your lunch will be subjected to high heat (such as being outside for hours in summer heat), consider bringing lunches that won’t easily spoil.

Why should I consider meal prepping my lunches?

  • Not only can you save time and money when meal prepping lunches, but you can also eat healthier. By making your own food at home, you have control over portion sizes and what goes into your lunch so you can limit the fat, sodium, sugar and calories.

Can I meal prep lunches for the entire week?

  • Many people meal prep lunches for the whole week. Sunday is a popular meal prep day and you can make enough food so you have lunch throughout the week. If your prepped meals include food that spoils quickly, just eat those meals earlier in the week.

What are some simple lunch meal prep ideas?

  • The simplest way to meal prep is to pack up leftovers from dinners you’ve made. Salads require some work to cut everything but store easily. Sandwiches are easy meal prep lunches, although you may not want to put the filling on the bread until you’re ready to eat so it doesn’t get soggy.

How long can lunch meal preps last in the fridge?

  • Most foods will last in the fridge for up to a week, but that timeframe may be shorter if your lunch includes foods that spoil easily, such as those containing fish, mayo or other delicate items

Can I freeze lunch meal prep?

  • A great way to keep meal prepped lunches fresher if you’re not going to eat them until later in the week is to freeze them. This works well for soups, stews and other cooked foods. Freezing is not recommended if you’re meal prepping salads or sandwiches.

What containers are best for lunch meal prep?

  • The best meal prep containers are ones that fit the types of foods you eat. Many people prefer meal prep containers with individual compartments so they can keep foods separate. You may also want to buy silicone cups to separate foods like fruit, veggies and nuts.

Should I cook everything before meal prepping lunch?

  • If you’re prepping a cooked lunch to take on the go, it’s best to fully cook the meal so it just has to be reheated. But if you’re eating at home, you may prefer preparing ingredients in advance but cooking at the last minute (like many people do for meal prepped dinners).

How much time does lunch meal prep usually take?

  • The amount of time it takes to meal prep lunch depends on what kinds of food you’re making and how many meals you’re prepping. It often doesn’t take long to meal prep lunch, however. Get the family involved and it may go even faster!

How do I prevent my lunch meal prep from becoming bland or unappetizing over time?

  • Don’t want lunch to be bland or boring? Add sauces and seasonings to kick up the flavor. In fact, using the same ingredients but adding different sauces throughout the week can make the same foods taste different each day.

How do I start meal prepping for lunch?

  • New to meal prepping and feel overwhelmed? Start small and just meal prep one or two lunches at a time. An easy way to do this is to make extra for dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find easy ways to meal prep lunch that don’t take much time.

Meal prepping for lunch is a great way to eat healthier. Because there are so many foods you can easily pack for lunch, it’s one of the easiest meals to meal prep. Since you’re most often out of the house midday, it’s also one of the best meals to meal prep, saving you time, money and calories. If you’re new to meal prep, read through our lunch meal prep ideas or try one of our delicious and healthy lunch meal prep recipes. Before you know it, you’ll be a meal prep master!

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