Healthy Meal Prep Ideas For Work: Prepare for Your Work Week

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas For Work: Prepare for Your Work Week

Updated on 9/1/2021

Meal prepping is the act of cooking whole meals, dishes, or elements of a dish in advance. In recent years, meal prep has become a popular practice amongst busy people because it can save a lot of time and can make sticking to your nutrition goals a little bit easier.

By choosing what you'll eat in advance, meal prepping can also lead to healthier food choices over time, since you're more likely to reach for frozen or fast-food items on busy days if you don't have a plan.

Despite what many people may think, meal prepping doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your entire Sunday afternoon to prepare meals and snacks for the week ahead. There are a wide variety of ways to meal prep, and you can pick and choose the ways that work best for you.

In this article, learn how to put your best foot forward with tips to make your work week meal prepping easier and get healthy meal prep ideas from my own kitchen!

4 TIPS FOR EASY WORK WEEK MEAL PREPPING

You must find your own balance of what works for you when it comes to preparing meals in advance when you go back to work. I have a few handy tips to help make it easier on those who are newer to cooking meals in advance.

1. Stick to Simple & Healthy Ingredients

Your meals don't have to be complicated to be tasty. Choose your favorite whole ingredients like fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins to put together balanced meals - when you can look for pre-prepared ingredients at the store to make your life easier, like chopped veggies or rotisserie chicken!

2. Put Leftovers to Use

Roasted veggies, leftover shredded chicken, or pork from the instant pot are always great to add to salads, sandwiches, or bowls. Make a double batch of some of your favorites to make easy lunches or dinner the next day.

Soups and sauces also save greatly in the freezer - double these recipes and freeze half for simple meals you can heat up on busy workday nights!

3. Schedule a Prep Time in Advance

I've found that if I don't plan when to meal prep, it will never happen. You'll have to decide the best time for you to add meal prepping into your routine during working weekdays. Sundays are popular since it's when many people have free time.

Another option is prepping during your regular cooking time. For example, if you do have scheduled time, you'll be in the kitchen keeping an eye on dinner; put that time to good use by prepping breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the next day, without adding additional cooking time to your evening.

One idea is preparing in small bouts of time whenever you find a free moment. For example, chopping vegetables when you have a free 5 minutes and storing them in the fridge can save you cooking time later.

4. Find Your Favorites

Not all pre prepared food will taste great the next day. Don't let that scare you away from meal prepping and make your life easier. Leave room for trial and error and find what works for you. Over time you'll build a set of recipes you know and love that will make both grocery shopping and cooking so much easier!

HEALTHY WEEKLY MEAL PREP RECIPES THAT WORK

Below are a few of my favorite tried-and-true recipes I make consistently in my own workweek meal prep routine. Of course, feel free to taste and tweak each recipe to your own liking.

Healthy Meal Prep Breakfast Recipes

The easy breakfast recipes below would be easy to put together on a Sunday night or weeknight. Just throw the ingredients together, and place them in the fridge overnight; they'll be ready to enjoy for breakfast the next morning!

1. Make-Ahead Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

This creamy, decadent chocolate chia seed pudding is so smooth you'll never believe it has chia seeds in it! This healthy chocolate pudding is filled with protein and light on the added sugar for a nutritious breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Finish it off with a dollop of fluffy coconut whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and cherries or raspberries for a chocolate lover's dream come true!

Pudding Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (add more to desired richness)
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Almond Milk (or other plant-based milk of choice)
3 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Coconut Whipped Cream Ingredients:
13.5 Oz Full-Fat Coconut Milk, chilled for 1-2 days
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup (honey or powdered sugar works too)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Toppings:
Chocolate Shavings
Raspberries
Cherries
Chopped Hazelnuts

Pudding Instructions:

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into 2 single sized servings.
  3. Refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hours to set.
  4. Serve with your favorite toppings; our favorites include coconut whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and fresh fruit.

Coconut Whipped Cream Instructions:

  1. Put a can of coconut milk in the fridge to chill for 1-2 days.
  2. Open a can of coconut milk and scoop out the hardened coconut cream.
  3. Using a hand mixer, whip the coconut cream for one minute.
  4. Add vanilla and sweetener and whip for another minute until smooth and fluffy.
  5. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to one week.

2. Acai Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats Recipe

Want a nutritious and filling breakfast but don't have time to prep in the morning? This Acai Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats Recipe tastes like a lightly sweetened blueberry muffin without all the added sugar.

Once set, the overnight oats are ready to be enjoyed as is, or go all out - and top with an antioxidant packed blueberry acai smoothie and extra blueberries and bananas.

Overnight Oats Ingredients:
2/3 Cup Oats
2/3 Cup Almond Milk (or plant-based milk of choice)
½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Chia Seed
½ Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tsp Honey
Blueberries

Blueberry Acai Smoothie Bowl Ingredients (Optional):
1 Acai Concentrate Packet
½ Frozen Banana
¼ Cup Frozen Blueberries
¼ Cup Frozen Strawberries
½ Cup Almond Milk (or plant-based milk of choice)

Toppings (Optional):
Banana
Blueberries

Overnight Oats Instructions:

  1. Combine oats, Greek yogurt, almond milk, vanilla extract, chia seed, cinnamon, honey, and blueberries.
  2. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 5 days.
  3. Top with blueberry acai smoothie bowl, blueberries, or bananas if desired, or enjoy as is!

Blueberry Acai Smoothie Bowl Instructions:

  1. Combine Acai, banana, blueberries, strawberries, and almond milk in a blender, and blend on high until smooth.
  2. If needed, pause to stir the mixture with a spoon and continue blending.
  3. Depending on your blender, add more almond milk as needed.

10-Minute Meal Prep Rotisserie Chicken Recipes

One of my all-time favorite meal prep hacks is using rotisserie chicken for a quick source of protein. The below dishes are a few of my favorite healthy go-to recipes that take 10 minutes or less to put together. Lunch or dinner made easy! Genius? I think so.

3. Easy Greek Rotisserie Chicken Bowls Recipe

These easy Greek-inspired rotisserie chicken bowls are light, fresh, and quick to throw together in a matter of minutes - making them perfect for easy lunches or dinners.

Each bowl is packed with tons of healthy nutrients like fresh veggies, romaine lettuce, brown rice, chicken, and homemade tzatziki. Get creative and add your favorite toppings to finish off this delicious bowl!

Yields: 4 Servings

Quick Pickled Red Onion Ingredients:
Red Onion, sliced thin
½ Cup Warm Water
½ Cup White Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste

Tzatziki Ingredients:
7 oz Plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Cucumber, finely diced
1 Tbsp Fresh Dill, rough chop
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Sea Salt, to taste
Cracked Pepper, to taste

Chicken Ingredients:
2 Cups Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Dash Cayenne (optional)
Sea Salt, to taste
Cracked Pepper, to taste

Bowls Ingredients:
Cooked Brown Rice
Kalamata Olives
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Bell Peppers, thinly sliced
Romaine Lettuce, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  1. Prepare quick pickled red onions by combining ingredients and setting them aside to sit while putting everything else together.
  2. Prepare tzatziki by combining ingredients.
  3. Prepare chicken by shredding chicken, sprinkling with seasonings, and mixing well.
  4. Create your bowl by adding brown rice, chicken, tzatziki, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and any other desired toppings, and enjoy!

4. Healthier Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipe

Need easy lunch options? Look no further than this healthier rotisserie chicken salad recipe! This chicken salad is lightened-up by using less mayo and adding Greek yogurt for more protein. Red pepper and celery add a fresh crunch to this chicken salad, and a blend of spices and herbs provides plenty of flavors!

Serve this chicken salad on whole grain bread or pita with some romaine lettuce or spinach for a full meal, or with crackers for a filling snack.

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients:
3 Cups Rotisserie Chicken
½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
¼ Cup Avocado Mayo
¼ Small White Onion, finely chopped
½ Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped
3 Stalks Celery, finely chopped
¼ Cup Green Onions, sliced
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Ground Mustard
1 Tbsp Fresh Dill, rough chop
Cracked Pepper and salt, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well and enjoy!
  2. Save in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

5. Easy Rotisserie Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

I love chicken lettuce wraps, but I don't always love prep time. This easy rotisserie chicken lettuce wraps recipe uses rotisserie chicken to put lettuce wraps on the table in a matter of minutes!

The simple peanut sauce is bright with flavor and gives a fresh twist to this classic recipe. If you can't find radicchio, feel free to use whatever lettuce you have on hand. Enjoy these flavorful chicken lettuce wraps as an appetizer, lunch, or dinner!

Yields: 2 Servings

Peanut Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp Sriracha
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Fish Sauce

Lettuce Wraps Ingredients:
2 Cups Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
½ small Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 large head Radicchio, torn into leaves and sliced in half if needed
1 Lime, cut into wedges
¼ Cup Roasted Peanuts, rough chop
Cilantro, rough chop

Instructions:

  1. Combine peanut sauce ingredients, mix well.
  2. Chop rotisserie chicken as desired and arrange on a leaf of radicchio or other lettuce of choice. Top with sliced bell pepper, green onions, peanuts, and sauce to your liking.

Easy Instant Pot Recipes That Make Great Leftovers

If you have not yet invested in a pressure cooker, I highly recommend it for the busy, working adult. They make meal prepping delicious meals so easy.

All you have to do is throw the ingredients in, close the lid and step away. When you come back, you'll be presented with a beautiful and delicious meal ready to eat! The best part about it? The instant pot cooks some of the best foods to be enjoyed the next day.

Soups, stews, shredded meat, and sauces come out beautifully and are ready to be enjoyed for work days and nights to come! Below are a few of our tried-and-true instant pot recipes that are great for weeknights.

6. Easy Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Let's cozy up with some warm butternut squash soup. This recipe is super easy to make in your instant pot and full of flavors that will have you craving for more! You'll want to make extra and eat the leftovers all week with some crusty bread or a nutritious salad.

Yields: 2 Servings

Ingredients:
1 Butternut Squash, Cubed
½ Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic
1 Apple, Chopped
¼ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
¼ Tsp Ginger
⅛ Cayenne Pepper
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
¾ Canned Coconut Milk

Instructions:

  1. Add vegetable oil, garlic, onion, chopped butternut squash, chopped apple, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and vegetable broth to instant pot & stir. 
  2. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  3. Quick release pressure.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes. 
  5. Blend until smooth. 
  6. Add ½ cup of coconut milk.
  7. Mix, serve, and enjoy!

7. Healthy Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe

There's nothing like a soul-warming bowl of soup after a cold winter day, and this Healthy Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana is the soup of our dreams! This creamy soup combines crumbled Italian sausage, tender potatoes, crispy bacon, and nutrient-rich kale for a mouthwatering bowl of goodness.

Pro tip: if meal prepping this one, keep the kale on the side and add it to your individual portion once the soup is warm and ready to eat. This will help this soup save well to be enjoyed for your work within a few days.

Soup Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 slices turkey bacon, diced
1 white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 LB chicken Italian sausage
6 yellow potatoes, cubed
1 Gallon chicken stock
1 Cup heavy cream
1 bushel kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

For Serving (Optional):
Freshly grated parmesan

Instructions:

  1. Set Instant Pot to Sauté, allow a few minutes to heat, then add olive oil and turkey bacon, stirring constantly as the turkey bacon cooks so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until desired consistency is reached – we like ours nice and crispy.
  2. Remove bacon from the pot and reserve for topping.
  3. Add diced onion, minced garlic cloves, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper; and sauté until onion is translucent.
  4. Add Italian sausage, and continue to cook, breaking into small pieces until sausage is browned and cooked through.
  5. Add chicken stock and potatoes and stir. 
  6. Seal the instant pot, and select the manual, setting the time to 5 minutes.
  7. Once it's finished, allow the instant pot to vent before opening.
  8. Stir in the heavy cream and kale, letting it sit for a few minutes until kale is wilted.
  9. Serve by ladling the soup into a bowl, and top with turkey bacon, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese to taste.
  10. Enjoy!

8. Easy Loaded Mojo Chicken Street Tacos

This instant pot mojo chicken is healthy, fresh, delicious, and so easy on a work night to put together!

Use this mojo chicken in a taco like us, or pack it in a burrito, build a nutritious bowl or salad, or make a next-level mojo nacho platter with chips, melted cheese, black beans, mojo chicken, and of course, fresh guacamole.

This recipe is so hands off when it comes to prep but comes out so delicious and can be used to spice up lunches or dinners for a few days!

Chicken Ingredients:
3 LB chicken breasts
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Mojo Sauce Ingredients:
1 Cup chicken stock
6 cloves garlic, crushed
½ Cup orange juice
¼ Cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tsp dried oregano
1 Tsp Sea salt
½ Tsp slack pepper

For Serving (Optional):
Tortillas
Sour cream
Lettuce
Cilantro
Avocado
Cheese
Taco sauce

Instructions:

  1. Prepare mojo sauce by combining all ingredients and mixing well.
  2. Cut chicken into large cubes, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Set instant pot to sauté, once hot add olive oil, and sear chicken on each side. Chicken does not need to be cooked through; just sear until lightly brown, and it will cook more in the instant pot.
  4. Add mojo sauce to the instant pot, put the lid on the instant pot, and set it to sealing. Select the manual and cook on high for 30 minutes. 
  5. When done, set the instant pot to venting. Open the instant pot and shred chicken and return to the pot.
  6. Serve with all the toppings your heart desires!

I hope these healthy meal prep tips and recipes give you some fresh ideas to make your work week a little easier and healthier! If you're looking for more great recipes to make healthy eating easier throughout the week, be sure to check out some of our other favorites like 7 Healthy & Fresh Spinach Recipes or 5 Instant Pot Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals. Happy cooking!

How to Prepare Health Meals For the Week If You Are Working
How to Prepare Health Meals For the Week If You Are Working

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