I used to be so against meal prepping meals until I went back to work. Now, meal prep lunch ideas like these save my stomach. Even if I just prep the materials and cook at work (thankfully I have that option).
Making meal prep lunches to take to work is amazing and keeps you on track with eating healthy, working towards your goals and saves your pocketbook too.
Meal prepping is something I used to wonder about quite a lot. I had friends that were super strict on their calorie intake and would prep their meals so they could control how much they were eating at each meal.
But, I often wondered if they got tired of prepping their meals ahead of time and not really having any room for spontaneous meal ideas.
Well, after prepping meals for lunch I can say that I don't really get bored and if I want something different I just use the materials I would have for one dish to be creative and make a different one.
Meal prep meals don't have to be boring.
Some people will prep a whole week at once, but I can't do that living in an RV. So, I'll prep three meals ahead to stash in the fridge.
I say I can't do that living in an RV because I'm not just prepping three meals, I'm actually prepping six meals. My husband and I both work so we both need meals.
The kids eat at school (most days) so I only have to worry about their lunches the morning before they go to school. Pretty easy.
The one thing I love about prepping meals is that it saves time. It seems crazy that you can fix three separate meals in about two hours, but you can.
Save Money And Time With Meal Prep Lunch Ideas
Meal prepping saves both time and money. You will cook all at once either once or twice a week and you'll shop once a week for your meals.
By knowing exactly what you're making for lunch and dinner each day you can plan ahead for meals that are budget-friendly and quick to make.
It's best to find meals you can rotate throughout the month to keep costs down extra, extra-low.
Check out these money-saving worksheets by my friend Victoria. They will help you find budget meals and plan out your meals well in advance.
This feature alone is worth its weight in gold.
If you're able to find meals that come out to about $5-$10 each (depending on serving size) that could be a good bit of money-saving.
Types Of Meal Prep Containers
There are so many options when it comes to meal prep containers. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.
But, when it comes down to it, you have three options:
- Glass meal prep containers
- Metal meal prep containers
- And, plastic meal prep containers
That's about it.
You can get as fancy or as simple as you want when it comes to meal prep containers. You just have to figure out which are the right ones for you.
Think of what you're wanting in a meal prep container and look for ones that have that ability.
- Dishwasher safe
- Oven safe
- Microwave safe
- Locking Lids
- BPA free
Glass Meal Prep Containers
Glass containers are becoming increasingly popular nowadays due to the whole plastic pollution thing.
The eco-community is pushing hard for people to stop using plastic items and opt for more glass and reusable/compostable/natural items. And, I totally get it.
Our family invested in glass meal prep containers and haven't looked back.
The downside for us is that they don't stack well and we live in an RV (which means not a lot of room). So, we compromise by not having too many in the house and only make food for 2-3 days at a time.
Plastic Meal Prep Containers
These are very affordable containers and if you take care of them they will last a long time.
Look for ones that are microwave safe, dishwasher safe and are big enough to hold an entire meal. It'd suck if you buy a bunch and have to use more than one to hold a meal.
You can get them with one, two, or three compartments. So, the options are there!
Definitely look for BPA free though. I know a lot of folks worry about plastic leaching into their food when using plastic. That's why "BPA free" is something to look for when buying plastic containers.
Yes, I can hear it now, "You can still have plastic leech into your food." I get that, but not everyone has space or the money to drop glass containers. Sure, folks can save for it, but they might have bigger priorities at the time.
Stainless Steel Meal Prep Containers
While stainless steel containers are the most expensive, they're also one of my favorites. Mostly because the lids on the glass containers can hold greasy substances pretty well, and that annoys the crap out of me.
But, the stainless steel ones seem to clean a tad easier and I fuss less.
With them being more expensive though, these are more "lunch box" than meal prep containers. Meaning, I wouldn't buy multiples of these for many meals. I would buy one per person and use it to pack lunch the day before. Kind of counterintuitive to the whole meal prep thing, but they're great for kids!
There are two brands I really love and follow:
I love following them both on Instagram because they share lovely photos of how folks use their lunch boxes.
Meal Prep Lunch Ideas To Take To Work
When I first started with meal prep I was so jumbled and a complete mess.
I didn't know how to lay things out, plan accordingly or even when to cook what. It. Was. A. Mess.
But, after a lot of research and many articles read I finally got the hang of it.
Thankfully, there are a lot of recipes out there now that are geared towards meal prep meals so that makes it even easier to plan ahead! All you have to do is search for meal prep meals on Pinterest and you'll be able to find so many of them.
How To Get Started Meal Prepping
Getting started the first time is always the hardest, but it does get easier. And, it's even easier if you plan ahead and have your plans where you can easily access them. If you're not planning and just sort of going willy nilly then it won't end as you'd want.
Planning with meal prep is really key.
So, let's make the initial plan.
- Look around your fridge, freezer, and pantry to see what you already have on hand
- Find meals that are based around what you do or don't have on hand
- Create your shopping list according to what you need to get from the store
Now that you have your meals that you're going to make and your shopping list created it's time to figure out WHEN you're going to shop and meal prep.
I suggest that you shop one day and then meal prep the next.
Many people will shop on Saturday and prep on Sunday. If that fits for your life then go ahead and try that.
Don't worry about separating everything on Saturday, just put up the groceries and eat whatever you had planned for Saturday.
On Sunday the fun begins!
Starting Meal Prepping
- Gather your recipes for all the meals you're wanting to create
- Bring out all your ingredients from the fridge, freezer, and pantry
- This is where there might be controversy... I prep meals individually. You can prep like items at the same time if you want to though.
- So, depending on your method, you'll either separate ingredients by meal or by likeness (onions with bell peppers, roots with potatoes, etc)
- Get cooking!
You might want to put on some music to jam out. Make it fun!
This eBook is one of my favs for meal prepping!
Quick Lunch Ideas For Work
1. Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs from Eat Yourself Skinny
2. Glazed Chicken Meal Prep from Budget Bytes
3. Meal Prep Carnitas Burrito Bowls from Fit Foodie Finds
4. Italian Chicken Meal Prep Bowls from Eazy Peazy Mealz
5. Sheet Pan Greek Chicken Meal Prep Bowls from The Girl on Bloor
6. Cheeseburger Pizza Chicken Meal Prep from Meal Prep On Fleek
7. Honey Garlic Shrimp from Sally's Baking Addiction
8. Korean BBQ Burrito from Pinch of Yum
9. One Pan Whole30 Sausage and Veggies from Meal Prep On Fleek
10. Meal Prep Chicken Fajitas from Sweet Peas and Saffron
11. Salsa Chicken Meal Prep Bowls from Budget Bytes
12. Chicken and Avocado Burritos from Closet Cooking
13. Creamy Vegan Mexican Pasta from Emilie Eats
14. Homemade Vegetarian Chili from Cookie and Kate
Don't forget to pin this post for later!