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Easy Healthy Meal Prep: Quick Lunches (or Dinners) To Grab N’ Go For Work

Easy Healthy Meal Prep: Quick Lunches (or Dinners) To Grab N’ Go For Work

I’ve been wanting to do this whole meal prep thing for awhile now. Even though I’m surrounded by food all day at work I don’t really have a lot of options to choose from. If I’m taking a quick lunch and just want a quick bite my options are even more restricted. There are no places to go outside of my job within a reasonable distance and even if they were closer they’re really not the best health wise.

Cooking at home not only gives you the ability to control your portion size, but also gives you control over the seasonings used as well as the fats used (oils, butter, etc.). I didn’t venture too far into the “meal prep” google search but I do know how I want MY lunch packed.  I don’t want to eat the same thing 5 days in a row so I decided on a three day venture with 2 or more meals prepped in advance. That way you can rotate between the different options to not get bored.

I picked up some cheap reusable (bpa free and microwave safe) containers from TJMaxx for pretty cheap (only a buck a piece) and if (and when) I  decide to go hard as a meal prepper,I’ll up my container game to something more permanent.

I came up with a couple of recipes for you to try at home that are pretty simple (especially since these two recipes contain rotisserie chicken) and wanted to give you some simple guidelines you can use when prepping your meals:

 

Protein- The “Powerhouse” of your meal which includes poultry, beef, cheese, fish, and plant based protein (tofu) should be 3 to 4 ounces in size (about the size of an iphone-the small one)shun knife steak lilchefchic

   

 

 Veggies– Everything from Kale to broccoli to cabbage can be used here. A portion  size is about 1/2 cup.basket food fresh pexels

   Fruit– Should be not bigger than a tennis ballberries blackberries blueberries

   

Carbohydrates-Whether you’re packing some steamed rice or a baked potato try and keep it at 1/2 cup.blur close up cooked pexels

Nuts– Not only do they help keep the hunger pangs away, but nuts such as almonds or walnuts are a heart healthy crunchy option for a snack or thrown into a meal. Keep the portion size small though. No bigger than the size of an egg.background brown close up pexels

   Fats– Fat adds flavor. We all know that. But this is one of the areas you’ve got to keep an eye on for portion control. Try and keep the fat below 2 tablespoons for your each meal as well. You can always choose a healthier fat like avocado, olive, or coconut oil in place of butter in your cooking.green south african avocado

The following recipe was inspired by a dish at one of my favorite local noodle bars. It’s actually served cold which makes it even simpler to dive into when lunch time comes! This is 1 of the 2 recipes I used my rotisserie chicken in and it is very good! It is a Cold Thai Noodle Dish served with a Peanut sauce and scattered with fresh herbs.

Thai Peanut Sauce with Asian Noodles (Cold)

Peanut Sauce (Makes about a cup and a half):

  • 2 Tablespoons Fish sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)

  • 1″ Piece Fresh Ginger, peeled

  • 6 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter (I used Crunchy but Creamy is Fine)

  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

  • Pinch of Red Chili Pepper Flakes

  • 1 Clove of Garlic

  • 4″ piece lemon grass (use only tender middle and discard outer hard husk); chopped

Blitz all the above ingredients above in a food processor until smooth. You can use it now or store it in a closed container for up to one week.

Noodles:

Asian Rice Noodles (Vermicelli)-100 gram bag
Cook half of noodles according to package instructions (6 to 8 minutes) and drain in colander. Make sure to rinse noodles throughly to keep them from being sticky. Hold to side.

Veggies and such:asian veggies mealprep lilchefchic

  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1 large carrot (or two small), peeled and julienned (cut into thin strips, or use

  • matchstick carrots from grocery store)

  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts

  • Small bunch cilantro

  • Small bunch mint

  • Small bunch basil (Thai basil if possible)

  • Small bunch chives

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Unsalted peanuts, chopped

  • lime wedges

Chicken:

1/2 Rotisserie Chicken from your Favorite Chicken Joint (or Grocery store:) ).
Remove breast meat and thinly slice. Pull dark meat and shred with fingers or fork.

Combine:

Toss cold noodles in peanut sauce. Toss in Chicken and coat salad before plating in your three containers. Scatter with chopped peanuts. Place veggies and sprouts in side compartment along with all fresh herbs and sliced lime. Package up small containers of extra sauce for each container.
Voila! Lunch is Done!
summer rolls lilchefchic
Recipe Numero 2:

THAI CHICKEN SUMMER ROLLS:

This recipe will utilize the other half of your rotisserie chicken (if you didn’t eat it already while prepping the other meal) as well as all those herbs you bought. It’s very simple and very easy. This is all about your ingredients. Super easy and super fresh herbs and vegetables. I got almost everything I needed at my local Asian Market. The owner actually grows a lot of this stuff in his back yard which is really awesome and everything is always so fresh…and 10 minutes from my place.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken

  • Spring Roll Rice Paper

  • Mint

  • Thai Basil

  • Cilantro

  • 1 Avocado, sliced

  • 1 carrot, julienned

  • 1 cucumber, julienned (or leftover slices from previous recipe)

This recipe is as simple as dipping each rice paper into a bowl of water for a second or two to soften before filling with your goodies. Place the wet rice paper sheet on a dry surface and assemble your rolls starting with the herbs first. Leave about an inch and a half on each side of the filling so that you can roll it up like a burrito. After assembling the herbs fill the top with a couple of slices each of the cucumber and carrot. Top with a sprinkling of chicken and finish with 2 slices of avocado. Roll up and pack 2 rolls per 3 containers.
I packed my meals with some fresh Fuji apples dipped in lemon water (or lime) and a side of peanut sauce for dipping.

Whadaya think? Is meal prepping for you? What’s been your experience? What are some of YOUR favorite combinations, or maybe one’s you wouldn’t try again? Holler at me below in the comment section:)



22 thoughts on “Easy Healthy Meal Prep: Quick Lunches (or Dinners) To Grab N’ Go For Work”

  • Ok, these sound like great recipes and very nutritious and wouldn’t mind trying the Chicken Rolls. Let me tell you of a simple recipe that I tried the other night for supper. Took some simple soft taco shells quartered them took some baked chicken put it in them. Chopped green peppers and a quarter of mozzarella stick wrapped made a flour batter to put around the edges. Folded them up and fried them in a skillet with oil until brown on both sides and they were delicious.

    • Oh Yum Fred! That sounds awesome! And see, you could do that with stuff you probably already had on hand! I love that! If I had some rotisserie chicken left I’d give your taquitos a try!:) Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Omg, the second recipe, thai chicken summer rolls look so yummy!

    It kinda reminds me of the Vietnamese rice paper rolls tho, they look quite similar.

    I love the meal prep for this and I will change the peanut sauce into thai chili sauce for the rice rolls dipping.

    I’m not a chef, and I’m just curious why do you dip apples in lemon water? Is there any reason for this?

    • Thanks so much frosteer! They actually are rice paper rolls. They are just not fried. It’s just a super quick, easy, and healthy option.
      Great idea on subbing in chili sauce for the pnut sauce. I usually do that too, but with my leftover peanut sauce…..it was incredible!
      To answer your question the acidulated water (lemon water) helps keep the apples from turning brown. That’s all. Mine stayed beautiful for the two days they were in the fridge without changing color! Thanks for your comments and questions!:)

  • I like the fact that you can manage and make sure that you packed the nutrients you need in your lunch box and you really make it seems easy and pretty!:) I know some Japanese parents would get up really early in the morning and prepare their kids’ a special lunch box. Some of them got up at six in the morning to prepare it, which I personally find kind of ridiculous. They should have a read on your post haha!

    • Thanks so much Crystal. 6 is quite early for lunch prep. lol. I’d much prefer doing mine at night..Send those parents my way!!!:) thanks for the comments!

  • Great article and recipes. I pack my own lunch everyday so these ideas are really useful. I didn’t know you could buy BPA-free containers. I’m definitely going to want a couple. Thanks for the tips!

    • Packing your lunch saves SOOO much money. And it makes you eat Soooo much better! Thanks Holly for leaving feedback!:)

  • This sounds delicious! I’m on a low carb diet so probably I’ll go for low carb version of noodles, and I’ll definitely try the sauce. Thank you for your ideas!

    • It would be awesome over zucchini noodles to meet your diet requirements:) Let me know what you think!

  • It all looks so good. We get free lunches at work but its all processed foods and the selection isn’t very good, sometimes there is not even a meat to pick. I’ve been thinking about taking my own lunch to work with me and I think I will try some of these recipes .

    • Processed food is no bueno. I’m sorry your lunch choices are limited. I hope you’ll give these a try. I’ll be posting more recipes like this soon with more variety to help break up the monotony of eating the same thing day after day. Hope to see you back here soon!

  • Wow! This a great recipe for someone on the go like me! I’ve always wanted to try the whole meal prep thing but never had an idea of what to try! LOL. With this new recipe added to my arsenal I think I’m ready! Thanks for the amazing recipe and information! PLEASE keep it up! Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

    • Thanks Nicholas! My fourth was full of family, friends, food, and awesome fireworks! I hope yours was awesome as well!:)

  • Oh my gosh I love this article. Mainly because I have been looking for some ideal ways to start preparing my food for the next day. All the stuff here looks great.! Thanks for sharing all these different recipes.

    Question: What are your thoughts on juicing. Do you think it’s a great way to start losing weight, or do you think preparing portion sized meals is better?

    I would love to hear from you.

    – Emonne

    • Hey Emonne! I’d say it’s really a personal choice. You can even do a combo of the two. Maybe have a juice for breakfast or midday as nourishment to push you through to lunch…or that afternoon slump. I love juicing and will actually get a natural buzz from certain combos of veggies and fruits (oranges, carrots, and beets anyone?). The only down side I’d say is the prep and clean-up (the clean up being more of the hassle). I do prefer “chewing” my food as well. I’d say give them both a go and see what works for you. As long as you feel good and are getting the proper nutrients, the sky’s the limit!

  • Hi Jennifer
    I want to come to your house- This all looks so yummy and so good for me
    Very informative and delicious
    Love being here except it is making me hungry for something really delicious- looking at your recipes to give 1 a go
    Thank you

  • wow this site is simply amazing. I love noodles and will be making these for my lunches. I also have 3 daughters that it gave me the thought to pre prep meals for them as well. I will keep returning to this site for more Ideas. Thank you so much. David

    • So cool! Glad you got some inspiration from my post. 🙂 I love noodles too. Please write me back and let me know what kinds of things you made for your girls. Talk to you soon!:)

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