10 Easy and Healthy Weekday Meal Prep Lunch Ideas
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10 Easy and Healthy Weekday Meal Prep Lunch Ideas

Fretting over what to have for lunch on a weekday? Trying to eat healthy but constantly lured by the cheap goodness of hawker food? (cue major food coma) Tired of spending $15 everyday on healthy meal options? 

Healthy(and cheap) meal prep is really so easy! Take an hour on a Sunday evening to prep your ingredients and then mix and match to create variety for the rest of the week. Voila! Guilt-free eating for your tummy and your wallet. 

Here are 10 easy ingredient ideas to get you started: 

1. Chilled Sesame Soba

Photo source: justonecookbook.com

An unbelievably easy and delicious staple that will leave you wondering why you never thought of this sooner. All you need to do is mix together some soy sauce, sugar/honey and sesame oil, and then pour it over the cooked soba and toss! That will set you up for the basic delicious flavours. To add some oomph, you could add some Japanese chili powder (i.e. shichimi – the little red bottle that you put into your ramen), chopped spring onions, toasted sesame seeds (untoasted if you’re lazy will work fine too, just not as fragrant) or shredded seaweed/furikake. 

So easy that any recipe is really uncalled for, but if you’d like a referenc epoint, here are some to check out. 

Sesame soba noodles: https://damndelicious.net/2013/06/17/sesame-soba-noodles/

Soba noodle salad:  https://www.justonecookbook.com/soba-salad/

2. Quinoa with Capsicum and Onion

Photo source: peanutbutterandpeppers.com

Quinoa – one of our favourite super foods. Soaks up all the goodness of the broth you cook it in and surprisingly satisfying to chew away on. And most importantly, a low-GI substitute for rice, which in other words means: no food coma! Don’t you just hate that after lunch struggle to stay awake at your desk? 

The thought of cooking quinoa might seem intimidating, but it can all be done in a rice cooker if you have one. If not, it can be cooked easily in a pan. Fry up the chopped up capsicum and onion till soft with a little olive oil in the pan, then add vegetable broth and pour in the Quinoa. Cover and cook on low heat till it’s fluffy when mixed through. 

Check out a recipe reference (if you need it) at:  http://www.peanutbutterandpeppers.com/2016/09/28/quinoa-with-peppers-and-onions

3. Paprika Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Photo source: twopeasandtheirpod.com

Sweet potatoes – another yummy super food. Sweet potatoes roasted are a winning combination across cultures and so easy to do. We’ve chosen the paprika sweet potato to add and extra kick to your meal. Simply peel and cube the potatoes, then toss them in some olive oil, salt and paprika, pop them in the oven and you’re done. 

If you need a recipe reference, check out: https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/smoked-paprika-roasted-sweet-potatoes/

4. Edamame

Photo source: foodnetwork.com

Edamame (aka. Fresh Japanese soy beans) are great-tasting just on their own, no need to add any sort of seasoning – they’re that good. Buy a bag of pods and throw them into boiling water. Add some salt into the water if you prefer a slightly saltier taste. Pop the little beans out of their pods after 5 minutes. Alternatively, simply buy a pack of shell-ed and ready to eat beans from the supermarket (they often have these frozen). Steam them or alternatively microwave them with a little water in a bowl and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. 

For more creative ways to prepare your edamame, check out this great food network article: https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2013/07/15-surprising-ways-to-enjoy-edamame

6. Oven-roasted Capsicum or Bell Peppers

Photo source: healthyrecipeblogs.com

One of the easiest and most delicious ways of preparing bell peppers is to roast it all. Bell peppers taste incredible once cooked through. They soften and develop a naturally sweet and full taste against signature bell flavour. 

Simply cut the peppers in half de-seed and de-stalk them, then place them across a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt and (you guessed it) pepper, then pop them into the oven for a food roast. 

Check out a recipe reference at: https://healthyrecipesblogs.com/roasted-bell-peppers/ 

6.Pan-fried French Beans with Shallots

Photo source: onceuponachef.com

Another favourite of ours – sauteed french beans with shallots. The fragrance of shallors tossed together with tender french beans is always a winning combination. Simply add some vegetable oil to the pan and throw in the chopped shallots, cook till just soft. Then, throw in the french beans and sprinkle on some salt and black pepper. Mix everything together, then add in some water, just enough to cover the bottom half of the beans. Let the beans slowly cook and soak up the seasoning and water. The result is lusciously green, tasty and tender string beans. Looks and tastes great!

Get the recipe guide here: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/french-string-beans-with-shallots.html

7. Smoked Paprika Chicken

Photo source: toriavey.com

Such an easy tasty way to have chicken that’s reminiscent of Nando’s chicken mmm! Simply mix together some olive oil, salt, minced garlic and smoked paprika to form a nice paste, then smear all over your chicken breast. Place the chicken, top-shelf in the oven (right under the metal grille aka. broiler) and roast/broil away. The result will be a tender, smoky and slightly charred (if you prefer) piece of chicken that you can slice neatly for easy devouring during the week. Yes, you will be scoffing these down at work so best make it easier for you to do it civilised. 

Check out the recipe at:  https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/smoked-paprika-chicken/

8. Garlic Butter Prawns

Photo source: bbc.co.uk

Beautiful springy prawns bathed in garlic and butter – another match made in heaven. And another ingredient that is so simple to make. Heat up some olive oil and a knob of butter in a saucepan, add in sliced/minced garlic, then sprinkle some salt, pepper and parsley flakes (optional but looks great). 

If the thought of peeling fresh prawns puts you off, a quick and easy alternative is to get a pack of ready peeled frozen prawns. De-frost and proceed as you would fresh prawns. 

Check out a reference recipe at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/prawnswithgarlicbutt_86031 

9. Pesto Sauce

Photo source: cookieandkate.com

The nutty and earthy flavour of pesto is the perfect kick of flavour to add to any meal prep lunch. You could go lazy and buy a bottle from the supermarket, in which case you should thin out the pesto by adding in some extra-virgin olive oil so it becomes more of a saucy texture rather than a paste. 

Alternatively, you could make one from scratch, which really isn’t that complicated, but always works to wow all your co-workers and friends. Maybe because the word “pesto” gives away no hint of what’s inside and tastes so magical on its own. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to make. Just grab some fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, salt and extra-virgin olive oil, then throw them in the food processor to blend to a pulp. Done. This will store in your fridge for up to a week or 3 or 4 months frozen. 

Check out the recipe here: https://cookieandkate.com/how-to-make-basil-pesto/   

10. Honey and Soy Vinaigrette

Photo source: sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Last but not least, the beautifully tangy and savoury honey soy vinaigrette. This not only goes great as a meal prep sauce, but also as a dressing for salad. Put together some olive oil, sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, honey and rice vinegar (or normal white vinegar or lemon juice), mix and you’re good to go. Best part – this keeps in your fridge for up to two weeks. 

Check out a variation at: https://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/asian-salad-dressing/   

Start Prepping!

Choose a couple of ingredients to make on a Sunday evening, possibly just when the Sunday pre-blues are starting to kick in, so you have some cheery food items to look forward to for the rest of the week to beat those blues! Mix and match what you’ve prepped nicely into re-usable boxes and put them in the fridge, ready for you to grab and go every morning for a healthy, tasty and affordable lunch. Try it out this weekend!

Be sure to tag us on @theopenpansg if you try out this recipe. We love to see your creations. 

Want to get these recipes, shop for ingredients directly and get all ingredients needed delivered to your doorstep? Check out The Open Pan mobile app here.

“Remember to tag us on @theopenpansg if you try any of these recipes, we’d love to see your creations. Want to get these recipes, shop for ingredients directly and get all ingredients needed delivered to your doorstep? Check out The Open Pan mobile app here.”
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