Meal Prep Part 3: Lunch/Dinner Edition

By | 2018-05-03T20:02:24+00:00 May 6th, 2018|

Look at you! I see those healthy, well-prepared breakfasts you’ve been eating. Someone is becoming a master student of meal prepping! Now that you’ve gotten the basics down, and warmed up with breakfast, let’s move on to those bigger meals: lunch and dinner. We’ve collected a few excellent options that are both high in nutritional value, and also easy to prepare ahead. Give them a try!

Mason Jar Salads. A sure-fire way to give your co-workers lunch envy is with a mason jar salad. When prepared the right way, these easy meals will stay crisp and fresh in the fridge for up to five days. While salads are an excellent way to fit a bunch of veggies into your day, don’t stop there! Consider layering in proteins like grilled chicken or fish, beans, tofu, or low-fat cheese, a few nuts or seeds for crunch, or a high-fiber, whole grain, like cooked quinoa. The key to keeping your salads crisp? Make sure to put liquids like dressing at the bottom, then layer heavier items up to delicate leafy greens at the top.

Turkey Burgers. Because who doesn’t love a good burger? To make an all-star patty that will make any nutrition specialist proud, start with roughly 4 ounces of lean ground turkey for every burger you plan to make (or any other lean, ground meat). Mix in 1-2 eggs, a dash of milk, and just enough whole-grain breadcrumbs to create a smooth consistency. To boost both the taste and nutritional value, play around with additions like diced onion, fresh or dried herbs, chopped greens, cauliflower rice, shaved parmesan, and flavor enhancers like Worcestershire sauce, salsa, garlic, or hot sauce. Then, simply grill or bake your patties, and combine with a nutritious side dish of grilled veggies or a garden salad. Meal prep bonus: make a big batch at once and freeze a few burgers to use later for a quick meal.

Burrito Bowls. Forget that expensive take-away bowl, make a much better one yourself! Start with your favorite burrito ingredients, like marinated meats, sweet corn, beans, pico de gallo or salsa, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet peppers, avocado, and low fat cheese. Make a marinade by combining spices like chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, red pepper, and cumin with a canola oil and allow uncooked meat to absorb the flavors for 30 minutes in the fridge. Once you’ve cooked and chopped your meat, use storage containers to combine your favorite burrito fillings into single-meal servings. Bonus tip: use shredded lettuce or cauliflower rice in place of traditional rice for a more nutritious bowl.

Wraps. Prefer to eat with your hands? Wraps can be another easy meal choice. Completely customizable, they fit into mostly any meal plan. Start with your wrap of preference, ideally a whole grain option, or large-leaf lettuce like romaine for a starch-free version. Pick a protein, such as grilled chicken, salmon, egg salad, or tempeh, plus a good variety of vegetables like spinach, sprouts, shredded carrots, sliced tomatoes, sliced peppers, or cucumber. Other approved additions include hummus, low-fat cheese, beans, fermented veggies, or fruit. Once you’ve added all the fixings, roll up and wrap tightly to store in the fridge for a few days.

Cold Bean & Quinoa Salad. Last, but not least, a super nutritious and delicious summer-inspired salad. There is almost no way to make this incorrectly, so feel free to play around with the ingredients! Simply combine black beans, edamame, sweet corn, chopped peppers, cooked quinoa, avocado, and chopped red or green onion. Make a simple dressing of lime juice, rice vinegar, canola oil, plus a pinch of sugar, salt, and chopped cilantro. Add the dressing and mix well. Keep in the fridge for a quick meal, or portion into containers to take on the go!

For more ideas check out the recipes section of the media library. Now, go become a meal prep master! Enjoy!

About the Author:

Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of the NYC metro area. Her passion for improving lives through good nutrition was born early on, when she experienced first hand the positive impact of healthy eating. After completing formal training, Lauren went on to earn a certificate of training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to writing, Lauren also provides individual nutrition counseling and teaches nutrition classes through the VHPGO portal. When she isn’t busy encouraging healthy habits in her VHP clients, she focuses on her toughest clients: her spouse & three daughters.