If you tend to skip lunch because you haven’t gotten time to make anything, these healthy lunch ideas are sure to make life easier. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is essential for self care. Meal prep has become a buzz word these days. I’ll be honest – it is not always as easy as it sounds, either. In theory, you should be able to plan out your entire week’s meals in nice, organised containers and not have to think about anything again from there. In reality, you need to first find time to spend on preparing meals and you also have to factor in things like freshness.
With that said, there are a number of go-to healthy lunches that can be easily made a bit in advance. Rather than trying to prepare an entire week’s worth of lunch, aim to have a few days sorted. This will help to save time without adding extra hassle to your already busy life. I use these healthy lunch ideas on a regular basis and they really do make life easier. They are not only healthy but also rather delicious, too.
Healthy Lunch Ideas to Make Ahead
Want to know the secret to preparing lunch in advance? All you really need to do is make enough food to see you through the next few days. It’s that simple. Make a big batch of food for supper and then package the leftovers either in separate containers or even in individually portioned sandwich bags that you can keep in the freezer. This will allow you to grab and go in the morning without having to think. You won’t spend any more time on preparation than you need to, as you are cooking one meal. The only effort required is putting food into servings.
Some of my favourite healthy lunch ideas to make ahead include the following:
With summer on its way here in Cape Town, salad bowls are always a winner. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a boring salad that barely sees you through to the afternoon, either. Adding quinoa, barley, cracked bulgar wheat or other grains, along with lentils, beans, chopped vegetables, tinned corn, tinned peas, seeds, sprouts, and other yummy ingredients will make your salads fun and interesting.
Veggie stew or curry.
This is by far one of my favourites. I love to make a big batch of vegetable curry or stew in my electric frying pan. It is always delicious the next day. Stew and curry both freeze well, so I add to sandwich bags and put individual portions into the freezer. I can just pop a bag out, put into a bowl and microwave for a few minutes at lunchtime. I love a mild curry that is full of pumpkin, sweet potato, cauliflower, red or yellow peppers, lentils, beans, and spices such as Cape Malay curry powder, turmeric, and cloves.
Rice bowls are another favourite. I usually make these on the stove. Years back, I used to make a giant pot of rice and dried lentils, then add chopped celery, mushroom, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and other vegetables. These days, I like to cook the rice separately, then do a light fry up of mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, peas, broccoli, kale, and anything else I feel like adding. It’s easy and light, keeping well in the fridge (and even freezing just fine).
Although pasta doesn’t always freeze that well, it can keep in the fridge for a few days. Pasta does not have to be unhealthy, either. Rather than going for overly rich pasta that is full of cheese, try a lighter pasta or a pasta salad that contains lots of natural protein and vegetables. I love using a good pesto along with beans, spinach, rosa tomato, mushroom, and other fresh ingredients.
Soup freezes very well and it’s also super easy. My go-to soups include a seriously easy (as in flop-proof) carrot and coriander soup, equally simple spinach and pea soup, and pumpkin soup. The base for all of these is sweet potato. I add dried red lentils to the carrot and pumpkin soup and dried peas to the spinach and pea soup. I also sometimes cheat and get the soup packs that contain chopped veggies and dried beans.
And there you have it… plenty of healthy lunch ideas that can be prepared in advance. Do you have any ideas to share? Share your healthy lunch ideas in the comments below and tell me which lunch you find the easiest.